When To See Your Gp
See your GP if you have a fever and persistent tummy, lower back or genital pain, or if you notice a change to your usual pattern of urination.
Most kidney infections need prompt treatment with antibiotics to stop the infection from damaging the kidneys or spreading to the bloodstream. You may also need painkillers.
If you’re especially vulnerable to the effects of an infection for example, if you have a pre-existing health condition or are pregnant, you may be admitted to hospital and treated with antibiotics through an intravenous drip.
After taking antibiotics, you should feel completely better after about two weeks.
In rare cases, a kidney infection can cause further problems. These include blood poisoning and a build-up of pus in the kidney called an abscess.
Read more about treating a kidney infection and the complications of a kidney infection
What Antibiotics Are Used For The Treatment And Cure Of Kidney Infections
The most important component of the treatment of kidney infection is the prompt administration of antibiotics. As soon as the diagnosis of UTI or kidney infection is made by an analysis of urine, antibiotics need to be started. Typically, a strong antibiotic is started first, one which would be effective in treating all typical bacteria suspected of causing the infection. Once the actual bacteria are recovered and their sensitivity is determined, then a different antibiotic may be selected if the bacteria show resistance to the antibiotic that was originally started.
Several types of antibiotics are available and used to treat kidney infection. The choice depends on specific situations, clinical setting, tolerance, allergies, and ability to take oral medications.
Some of the common antibiotics used include
The doctor diagnosing the kidney infection can determine what is the most appropriate in a given situation.
Similar to any infection, a routine follow-up with the physician treating the kidney infection is important to assure that therapy has been effective. More immediate follow up may be necessary if the symptoms of the infection do not improve after a few days of antibiotics and supportive care. In such cases, further investigation may be necessary to rule out a complicated kidney infection and to assure that the organism causing the infection is sensitive to the prescribed antibiotics.
What Are The Causes Of Kidney Infections
Normally, bacteria are flushed out by the flow of urine. However, several problems can increase the risk of a kidney infection. These problems can include:
- Structural abnormalities blocking urine flow.
- An enlarged prostate gland compressing the urethra.
- Backflow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys.
- If your immune system is affected .
- Pregnancy, during which time the enlarging uterus can squeeze the ureters and reduce the flow of urine, allowing the bacteria to migrate to the kidneys.
- Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.
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Appetite And Weight Changes
The collective effects of the physical and emotional strain of the disease, its related complications, and its treatments, can wreak havoc on your appetite, which can cause weight changes and further health issues.
- Nausea and vomiting: For those with CKD, nausea and vomiting may include uremic toxin buildup, medications, gastroparesis , peptic ulcers , gastroesophageal reflux disease , and gallbladder disease, among others.
- Loss of appetite: In the early to middle stages of kidney disease, compounds build in the blood that suppresses appetite and can affect your sense of taste. Foods you once enjoyed may start to taste metallic. Depression, anxiety, medications, and other treatments can contribute to appetite loss.
Kidney disease can cause appetite loss, which, in turn, can provoke weight loss.
How Are Kidney Infections Treated
A physician will treat the disease based on his or her examination. He or she may start the patient on the standard treatment of a course of antibiotics before the lab tests results are available. The medication may change once the exact strain of bacteria is revealed by the lab tests.
If the treatment is effective, the patient should feel better in two to three days. If not, your healthcare provider will start looking for additional problems. Most antibiotic treatments last for 14 days and it is essential that patients take the pills as recommended for the full 14 days even though symptoms may disappear after a few days. The disappearance of symptoms does not mean all bacteria are killed. Some may remain and the infection may reappear.
There is also a concern that those bacteria that remain may develop resistance to the medication. For some reason the disease is more difficult to treat in men and they may have to take medication for up to six weeks. Patients with severe illness, those that have significant nausea and vomiting, high fevers, significant pain and signs of dehydration may be hospitalized for a few days while the antibiotics are administered intravenously. Urine samples are taken after about six weeks of treatment and examined to insure the bacterial infection is eradicated.
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Bipoc Communities And Kidney Infection
While many diseases affect different populations in the United States at different rates, there isnt much information available on the relative risk of kidney infection among different racial and ethnic groups.
Its well known that Black Americans are at higher risk for kidney failure than any other group 4 times as likely as white Americans, according to the National Kidney Foundation. But kidney infection rarely leads to kidney failure, accounting for a tiny sliver of cases.
There is some evidence that the risk of getting a UTI during pregnancy which can develop into a kidney infection is different for different groups, according to earlier research published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.
Looking at records of 24,000 births, researchers found that rates of UTI during pregnancy were 28.7 percent for white and Asian women, 30.1 percent for Black women, and 41.1 percent for Hispanic women. However, once the researchers controlled for socioeconomic differences, there were no significant differences between the groups.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
E.coli bacteria account for about 80% of urinary tract infections, which eventually lead to chronic kidney infections.
Tea tree essential oil is considered a great remedy against the E.coli bacteria.
Although it is rich inanti-inflammatoryand antiseptic compounds, a 2006 study has confirmed the presence of antimicrobial properties as well.
A study was published in 2002. It shows tea tree oil has preventive effects against E.coli.
Another study was published in the Journal of Applied Bacteriology Banner. It states that tea trees can neutralize bacteria.
You can use this oil for both massage and bath to soothe infection.
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Wear Compression Socks Or Leggings
Compression socks are becoming more popular and easier to find. They are available at athletic clothing stores and many online sites.
Compression socks are made to fit tight. They may even feel a little uncomfortable at first. The purpose of compression apparel is to squeeze your legs and prevent fluid from accumulating.
How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose A Kidney Infection
Health care professionals use your medical history, a physical exam, and tests to diagnose a kidney infection.
A health care professional will ask if you have a history of health conditions that make you more likely to develop a kidney infection. During a physical exam, the health care professional will ask you about your symptoms.
If you are a man and the health care professional suspects you have a kidney infection, he or she may perform a digital rectal examination . During a DRE, the health care professional has you bend over a table or lie on your side while holding your knees close to your chest. After putting on a glove, the health care professional slides a lubricated finger into your to check for a swollen or enlarged prostate blocking the neck of your bladder.
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Complications Of A Kidney Infection
If it isnt treated promptly, a kidney infection can lead to a number of potentially serious complications.
Youre more likely to develop a complication from a kidney infection if you have:
- Prior kidney disease
- A history of kidney infections
- A structural abnormality in your urinary tract
The following complications can result from a kidney infection:
High Blood Pressure Your blood pressure can rise to unhealthy levels as your immune system tries to fight your infection.
Kidney Failure If its serious enough, an infection can stop your kidneys from effectively removing waste products from your blood.
Scarring If you develop scars in your kidneys from an infection, your kidneys may not be able to function properly, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease.
Blood Infection One of the main jobs of your kidneys is to filter waste products out of your blood. A kidney infection can spread to your entire bloodstream in this process.
A bloodstream infection can, in turn, lead to sepsis, which is a severe inflammatory reaction to bacteria. Sepsis can be life-threatening.
Renal or Perinephric Abscess If the infection in your kidney is not treated promptly, the bacteria may create an abscess, or pocket of pus, inside or next to your kidney.
Pregnancy Complications A kidney infection during pregnancy raises the risk of low birth weight in your baby.
What Is Kidney Infection
Infection in the urinary tract can involve the lower tract especially the bladder , prostate or the upper tract and kidney . It is usually a bacterial infection. The disease occurs in roughly three to seven of every 10,000 people in the United States. The occurrence in pregnant women is about 2 percent. It is readily treatable if diagnosed early.
A bacteria called Escherichia Coli causes about 90 percent of kidney infections. The bacteria migrate from the genitals through the urethra into the bladder and up the tubes that connect the bladder to the kidneys.
Some bacteria, such as staphylococcus infections, can enter the kidneys from the bloodstream.
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What Is A Kidney Infection Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
A kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, occurs when harmful bacteria reach your kidneys as part of a urinary tract infection .
Most UTIs dont involve the kidneys. They affect only your lower urinary tract, meaning your urethra and bladder. But sometimes an infection that begins there moves into your upper urinary tract, affecting one or both kidneys.
Its also possible to get a kidney infection following surgery, if bacteria enter your body during the procedure and travel through your bloodstream to your kidneys. In this case, your lower urinary tract may not be affected.
If you have symptoms of a UTI or bladder infection such as pain with urination, smelly urine, low back pain, or discolored urine its important to seek medical treatment to prevent the infection from spreading to your kidneys.
Kidney infections can be quite painful and require prompt evaluation and treatment. If your infection isnt treated soon enough, it may permanently damage your kidneys or spread to your bloodstream, possibly leading to and the impairment of other vital organs.
Shortness Of Breath After Very Little Effort
Why this happens:
Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
What patients said:
At the times when I get the shortness of breath, its alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.
I couldnt sleep at night. I couldnt catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, cant breathe, cant walk anywhere. It was bad.
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When Should You Go To The Hospital For A Kidney Infection
Kidney infection is a potentially hazardous illness. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent potentially permanent loss of kidney function. If you notice kidney infection symptoms such as pain in your side, fever, or nausea, see a doctor immediately. If you canât make an appointment with your regular doctor, do not hesitate to visit urgent care or an emergency room.
Can You Prevent Kidney Infections
Prevention of urinary tract and kidney infection primarily focuses on reducing the associated risk factors. As mentioned earlier, the majority of urinary tract infections are caused by the bacteria gaining entry into the urinary system through the urethra. Therefore, personal hygiene plays an important role in preventing kidney infection.
Examples of preventative measures include:
- Emptying the bladder after sexual intercourse or wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom may significantly reduce the chance of developing kidney infection in women.
- Drinking plenty of fluids has been shown to be the single most effective measure for preventing urinary tract infections.
- In individuals with long-standing urinary catheters, routinely scheduled changing of the catheter as well as regular cleaning around the catheter’s entry into the urethra are important steps in prevention of urinary tract infections.
- If kidney stones are the predisposing factor to repeated kidney infections, the removal of the stone and preventing future stones from forming may be necessary. These individuals may be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and removal of kidney stones.
- Cranberries and cranberry juice can be beneficial in preventing kidney infections. It is important to note that cranberries may not treat an existing kidney infection, but have been found to be a simple preventive measure in addition to the other measures listed above.
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How To Prevent A Kidney Infection
Preventing a kidney infection is really all about preventing a urinary tract infection and getting prompt treatment if you ever get one. While youve probably heard that guzzling cranberry juice or taking certain supplements can keep UTIs away, the science is far too mixed to consider either of these a definitive way to prevent UTIs, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Heres a more science-backed tip to take note of: Whenever you feel a potential bladder infection coming on, make it a habit to drink enough water every day to stay hydrated. That will ensure youre peeing often enough to help flush out bacteria that could possibly lead to a urinary tract infection. The NIDDK recommends peeing as often as you get the urge, but definitely at least every three to four hours, since urine hanging out in your bladder for too long may help bacteria to grow.
Dr. Kaufman also says peeing after you have sex, if you can, might be helpful if you tend to develop UTIs after sex. Theres not a ton of evidence to back this up as a prevention strategy, but it doesnt do any harm to make a habit of it. For people with vaginas that get recurrent infections that only happen after sex, your doctor may recommend a single dose of a prophylactic antibiotic that you can take each time you have sex to help prevent infection.4
How To Get Rid Of A Kidney Infection: Can Natural Remedies Help
This article was co-authored by Zora Degrandpre, ND. Dr. Degrandpre is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician in Vancouver, Washington. She is also a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She received her ND from the National College of Natural Medicine in 2007. This article has been viewed 46,736 times.
A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection that settles in one or both kidneys. It usually starts in the urethra or bladder and works its way up into the kidneys. This sounds scary, but fortunately, these infections are easy to treat with antibiotics and should clear up without any lasting problems. However, they definitely require medical treatment. Some natural remedies can prevent the infection from getting worse and complement the treatment youre receiving, but they wont cure the infection on their own. Together, medication and lifestyle treatments can heal your infection in no time.
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How Much Can You Drink
Most people who have chronic kidney disease can drink as much as they like at first. If the performance of the kidneys keeps getting worse, many people release less and less fluids. If you then also drink too much liquid, it cant leave your body fast enough. This results in edema and rising blood pressure levels. Dialysis can only compensate for this to a certain extent, because the amount of water it can remove from the body is limited.
Depending on the type of dialysis and whether the kidneys are still excreting urine , the following recommendations apply: Ideally, you should only drink as much fluids as the kidneys excrete in the form of urine plus 0.5 liters per day in hemodialysis or 0.8 liters per day in peritoneal dialysis. This amount includes both drinks and liquid foods such as soups, yogurt and stewed fruit.
To make sure you dont drink too much, it can help to use smaller glasses and cups, and to take medication with a meal instead of with an extra glass of water, if possible. You can help suppress your thirst by chewing on a sour candy, a slice of lemon or sugar-free gum. Drinking slowly and avoiding dry indoor air can also help.
Can I Go To Work With A Kidney Infection
Most kidney infections are treated on an outpatient basis with oral antibiotics. Symptom relief typically occurs after a few days of treatment, so it may be possible to go to work at that point. Many patients, however, require a week or two before they feel well enough to work. As always, never go to work with a fever.
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