How Can You Prevent Kidney Infections In The First Place
Adams is right: Drinking water is important. Drinking more water has been shown to reduce the risk of infection, Dr. Nelson says. This makes sense because the increase rate of bladder emptying reduces the chance for the urine and bladder to become infected. Not only can be well hydrated help flush out your urinary tract, it can also help keep your immune system functioning well enough to fight off infections, Dr. Ramin says.
Other tips that can help, per Dr. Rovin, including peeing after you have sex , peeing as soon as you need to go, and wiping from front to back.
It’s also important to keep tabs on your urinary symptoms and taking action if anything seems off, says David Kaufman, M.D., director of Central Park Urology, a division of Maiden Lane Medical. “Do not try to self-manage by tolerating symptoms and over-hydrating to mitigate symptoms,” he says. Dr. Ramin agrees. Any burning, increased frequency, or blood in the urine should prompt a call to your doctor, he says. Its really important that these symptoms are taken seriously and treated right away.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
Common symptoms of a UTI include:
- Pain while urinating
- Passing only a minimal amount while urinating
- Foul-smelling urine
- Urine may be pinkish or light red
- Women likely to experience pelvic pain
- Men likely to experience rectal pain
If the UTI spreads to the upper tract, then more severe symptoms may be experienced, including:
- Back or side pain
Remember when we said upper tract infections are more severe and have more critical symptoms? This is when it gets confusing to tell the difference between a UTI and a kidney stone, because the symptoms between a UTI in the upper tract are very similar to kidney stones symptoms.
Use Your Health Insurance Just Like You Normally Would To See Your Doctor
During your UTI treatment, you can take steps to ensure that you get the maximum effect out of your antibiotics while promoting your own comfort.
- Use a heating pad on your abdomen to soothe any pain and discomfort and relieve pressure.
- Drink plenty of water to help flush out the bacteria in your urinary tract.
- Avoid any food and drink that may irritate your urinary system. This includes coffee, alcohol, and sugary sodas that contain citrus juice or caffeine.
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Symptoms Kidney Stones Vs Utis
Kidney stone symptoms are in common with other types of UTIs, such as cystitis and urethritis. Symptoms include, a painful or burning sensation when urinating, an urgent feeling like to urinate often but passing a very small amount, bad-smelling urine with blood, and abdominal discomfort
In addition to the symptoms above, some more specific symptoms can indicate that your infection has moved into your kidneys. These symptoms could be fever, chills, pain in the lower back, or nausea along with the above-mentioned symptoms.
How Do You Get A Bladder Infection Or Uti
UTIs happen when bacteria enters the urethra and spreads. Urinary tract infections are fairly common and can happen to anyone, but the following risk factors can increase your chances of getting one:
- The sex youre assigned at birthpeople assigned female at birth have shorter urethras than those assigned male at birth, making it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder and kidneys.
- Hormone changesmenopause, pregnancy, or just that time of the month can increase your risk of infection.
- Diaphragms and spermicidesthese forms of contraception can kill off good bacteria, increasing the bad bacteria which can find its way to the urethra.
- Genetic predispositionThats right! It could just be a genetic thing. Genetics play a role in the shape and size of your urinary tract making some individuals more prone to infections.
- Sexual activityPee as soon as possible after sex to prevent UTIs.
- Hygiene habitsBubble baths and scented feminine products might feel like self-care, but they can cause irritation that leads to UTIs. Also, always make sure youre wiping front to back!
- Chronic illnessIllness that causes changes to your immune system, like diabetes, can make you more prone to UTIs.
- Holding itNo need to be a hero. When you have to go to the bathroom, you should go.
- Not drinking enough waterAdd it to the list of reasons you should drink more water! Staying hydrated can help stave off infections.
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When Should I Worry
An unchecked UTI can turn into a very serious kidney infection. In can also become a blood infection if you do not treat it right away, or turn into a life-threatening problem. A UTI may happen anywhere along the urinary tract, though some parts are more problematic than others. For example, the urethra is easier to deal with than the opposite end your kidneys.
The best time to worry and do something about it? The second you realize you have a UTI. If treated properly and early on, a UTI is barely a problem and is more of an annoyance, as it may itch or burn. Unchecked, however, it can lead to serious consequences.
Types Of Urinary Tract Conditions
A urinary tract infection refers to an infection in any area of the urinary tract. Conditions that can occur in the urinary tract or with the potential to lead to complicated infections include:
- Urethritis: An inflammation of the urethra, usually caused by an infection for example, a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia
- Cystitis: An infection in the bladder that has often moved up from the urethra, also one of the most common UTIs
- Nephritis: Any type of kidney inflammation
- Pyelonephritis: An infection in one or both kidneys
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Kidney Infection Versus Uti: Whats The Difference
Kidney infections are a type of UTI, but its often more aggressive because the bladder infection has spread further up the urinary tract. So, if you hold off on seeking treatment, things can maybe start to get dicey. This is a serious organ infection and people need to take care of it, David Kaufman, MD, a urologist at New Yorks Central Park Urology, tells SELF. Bladder infections are uncomfortable, but kidney infections can be deadly.
As for how long it takes for a bladder infection to turn into a kidney infection? Theres no one-size-fits-all answer, but once infection-causing bacteria make their way from the bladder up into the kidneys, a persons symptoms can start to intensify very suddenly.
Differentiating Kidney Stones From A Urinary Tract Infection
It can be concerning to experience pain down there. Many questions of what could be causing the pain and discomfort run circles in your mind. Your first move might be calling your primary care doctor and declaring you have a UTI. Stop right there the symptoms of UTIs and kidney stones can be similar, but treatment is very different. In this article, we will be discussing the similarities and differences between the two and when you should go see a doctor.
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Treatment For Utis Vs Kidney Infection Treatment
UTIs, including kidney infections, can be treated with a course of antibiotics. The type of antibiotic can depend on the type of bacteria thats causing your infection as well as how severe your infection is.
The doctor will often start you on an antibiotic that works against a wide variety of UTI-causing bacteria. If a urine culture is performed, the doctor may switch your antibiotic to one thats most effective at treating the specific bacterium thats causing your infection.
Simple UTIs can be treated with short 3- to 5-day courses of antibiotics. Treatment for kidney infections generally lasts 7 to 14 days, depending on which class of antibiotic is prescribed.
You may begin to feel better after only a few days on antibiotics. However, you should still make sure that you complete your entire treatment course as prescribed. If you do not take all of your antibiotics, the stronger bacteria may not be killed, causing your infection to persist and flare up again.
If youre pregnant, your doctor may also request a repeat urine sample following a kidney infection, even if your symptoms have resolved. This allows them to check to see whether your infection has completely cleared.
If there are still bacteria present in the sample, you may need another course of antibiotics. Persistence of bacteria can potentially harm an unborn baby.
People with severe kidney infections may need to be hospitalized. In this case, you may receive antibiotics and fluids intravenously.
What Is The Outlook For Kidney Infections
With treatment, the outlook for kidney infections is very positive. It is vital that you take all of any prescribed medications for the infection. You may begin feeling better shortly after beginning a treatment, but still need to take the entire prescribed treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/22/2019.
- National Kidney Foundation. Urinary Tract Infections Accessed 5/23/19.
- National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases . Pyelonephritis: Kidney Infection Accessed 5/23/19.
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What Is A Uti Anyway
A UTI, or urinary tract infection, happens when bacteria enters into any part of your urinary system, which includes the urethra, the bladder, the kidneys or the uterus. If not flushed out of the system, the bacteria can lead to an infection, or a UTI.
If youve ever had a UTI , you probably havent forgotten the symptoms. UTIs are very unpleasant, to say the least, and are often accompanied with one or more of the following:
A burning sensation when urinating
A strong urge to urinate often, usually passing only small amounts of urine at a time.
Cloudy and/or strong smelling urine
What Are The Risk Factors For Getting Bladder Infections And Other Uti Infections
A person is more likely to get a bladder infection if they dont urinate frequently enough. If they hold their urine in, the bacteria can collect in the bladder and lead to infection. Try to go to the bathroom at least every two to three hours to keep this from happening.
Not drinking enough water is another risk factor for bladder infections because your body doesnt move as much urine through the bladder as quickly.
Risk factors for urethritis include having a sexually transmitted infection or from trauma to the urethra, such as due to the insertion of a urinary catheter.
In addition to these specific risk factors for bladder infections, there are general risk factors for all UTI types. These include:
risk factors for uti
- having diabetes, as a person experiences changes to their immune system that make them more prone to UTIs
- having an enlarged prostate
- having low levels of estrogen, such as when a woman is post-menopausal
- having a history of kidney stones, which can block the flow of urine through the urinary tract
Women are also more likely than men to get UTIs because their urethra is shorter. The bacteria have less distance to go to reach the bladder and can cause infections.
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Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics Long
While there are some common side effects and risk for creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it is safe to take antibiotics preventively under the guidance of your physician.
If you have recurring UTIs , you may benefit from a low-dose prophylactic antibiotic, Dr. Sussman said. Some may require intermittent treatment at the sign of symptoms, while others may require a single dose after sexual intercourse or when symptoms occur. However, its important you discuss the underlying causes with your doctor before being prescribed antibiotics prophylactically.
Causes Of Kidney Infection
A kidney infection usually happens when bacteria, often a type called E. coli, get into the tube that carries urine out of your body .
The bacteria travel up to your bladder, causing cystitis, and then up into your kidneys.
E. coli bacteria normally live in your bowel, where they cause no harm.
They can be transferred from your bottom to your genitals during sex or if you’re not careful when wiping your bottom after going to the loo.
A kidney infection can sometimes develop without a bladder infection. For example, if you have a problem with your kidney, such as kidney stones, or if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system.
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How To Feel Better
If your healthcare professional prescribes you antibiotics:
- Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
- Do not share your antibiotics with others.
- Do not save antibiotics for later. Talk to your healthcare professional about safely discarding leftover antibiotics.
Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your healthcare professional might also recommend medicine to help lessen the pain or discomfort. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
How Is A Kidney Infection Diagnosis Confirmed
If youre feeling signs of a kidney infection, you should seek medical attention as soon as you can, if possible. A kidney infection can be serious because it can sometimes lead to a dangerous, life-threatening health condition called .
Even if your infection doesnt progress to that, a kidney infection can become chronic, i.e., long-lasting, and can cause permanent damage to your kidneys. Dr. Kaufman recommends heading to your local urgent care facility or emergency room if you have signs of a kidney infection.
For your doctor, diagnosing a kidney infection is pretty straightforward. They should start with lab tests like a urinalysis, which just involves peeing in a cup on your end. After you hand over your sample, the urine is examined under a microscope to check for the presence of bacteria and infection-fighting white blood cells. To see what kind of bacteria youre dealing with, the urine should also be cultured over the course of one to three days, according to the NIDDK. In some cases, your doc might also order imaging tests like a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound to take a closer look at your kidneys.
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What To Expect From Kidney Infection Treatment
A kidney infection is easy to treat if its caught in its earliest stage, especially if youre young and generally healthy. In this case, a course of antibiotics lasting a week to two weeks is usually enough, Dr. Movassaghi says. However, taking the full course of antibiotics is key for fully fighting off the infection, even if youre feeling totally fine halfway through, so be sure to take every dose, says the NIDDK.
If you have a severe kidney infection or are immunocompromised, youll likely need to be treated in the hospital with intravenous antibiotics. After a few days, you should be able to move on to taking antibiotics by mouth.
In rare cases, a person might need surgery for a kidney infection. Usually, this is only considered if your doctor determines theres something blocking your urinary tract like a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate.
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.
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Im Pregnant How Will A Uti Affect My Baby
If you have a UTI and it isnt treated, it may lead to a kidney infection. Kidney infections may cause early labor. Fortunately, asymptomatic bacteriuria and bladder infections are usually found and treated before the kidneys become infected. If your doctor treats a urinary tract infection early and properly, it wont hurt your baby.
How Long Does A Uti Last
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If you have a UTI, its best to get it treated right away before any complications develop . Its possible for a UTI to get better on its own, but most of the time, it wont. While home remedies can help ease some of the discomfort, a doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic that is a much quicker and more effective treatment. An antibiotic will start working immediately and, depending on how complicated your UTI is, may clear it up in a matter of days. Be sure to always take your medication how your doctor prescribes.
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What Are The Common Causes Of Urinary Tract Infection
Treatment for kidney infections can vary depending on the cause and severity of an infection. Infections in the urinary tract most commonly occur when bacteria travel through the urethra to the bladder to use urine as food for growth and multiplication. Excess levels of bacteria can lead to infections that, when they migrate to the kidneys, are known as kidney infections.
The most common cause of an infection in the urinary tract is from the bacteria Escherichia coli, also commonly referred to as E.coli. They are found in our colon and feces.
Certain sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma, can also lead to an infection that spreads to the kidneys. Holding your urine for six hours or more can give time for bacteria that enter the bladder to overgrow without being flushed out, increasing the risk of infection.
Dehydration can also increase the risk of infection. Without the proper fluids, your body can not properly flush out bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections . Constipation, a possible result of dehydration, can make it difficult to empty your bladder and allow trapped bacteria to grow as well.
Infections can also be caused by any condition in the urinary tract that prevents urine from flowing naturally. For instance, pregnant women are likely to get bladder infections when the baby puts pressure on the ureters, slowing urine flow.