How To Reduce Your Risk
You can help prevent UTIs or kidney stones by following some simple steps:
- Empty the bladder when you feel the urge and ensure that you frequently urinate, thus, flushing bacteria out.
- Improving hygiene: Women should wipe from front to back after using the bathroom, avoid feminine hygiene sprays, and clean the genitals before and after intercourse.
- Drink plenty of water to help dilute urine.
- Urinate after intercourse to flush out any germs that would have entered the urinary tract.
- Lifestyle modifications such as improving diet and losing weight can help keep a healthy urinary tract. In addition, foods such as apples, basil, celery, grapes, and pomegranates reduce the risk and impact of kidney stones.
- Being obese can put stress on the kidneys. Therefore, managing weight and diet are critical to a healthy urinary tract.
Antibiotic Overuse Leads To Antibiotic Resistance
At some point, most people have taken a course of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or ciprofloxacin , two common antibiotics used for UTIs. However, in the last few years it has become clear that the likelihood these antibiotics will kill most UTIs is dropping rapidly. You may have read the recent, frightening New York Timesarticle reporting one in three uncomplicated UTIs in young healthy women are Bactrim-resistant and one in five are resistant to five other common antibiotics. Pretty scary, since we used to feel confident that writing a prescription for Bactrim was a sure recipe for cure.
How is it that we are losing the antibiotic war with bacteria? Though many things drive bacterial resistance, giving antibiotics to animals and antibiotic overuse in humans top the list.
We use a lot of antibiotics in humans too much, and not always for the right reasons. When we prescribe antibiotics for viral illnesses like a cold, the flu, or common sinusitis, we create a massive shift in the bodys bacteria for no good reason .
You may have an infection if you have any of these symptoms:
- You feel pain or burning when you urinate.
- You feel like you have to urinate often, but not much urine comes out when you do.
- You have pain in your lower belly.
- Your urine is cloudy, looks pink or red, or smells bad.
- You have pain on one side of your back under your ribs. This is where your kidneys are.
- You have fever and chills.
- You have nausea and vomiting.
What About Cranberry Juice For Uti
Its a long-held belief that consuming cranberry juice may help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. While its true that cranberries contain an active ingredient that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract, there is still no evidence that cranberry products can treat a UTI.
One of the reasons: Products like cranberry juice or cranberry capsules are not explicitly formulated with the same amount of PACs that have shown potential in lab studies. Moreover, a 2019 report in the Journal of Urology noted that the availability of such products to the public is a severe limitation to the use of cranberries for UTI prophylaxis outside the research setting.
In all, theres actually very little high-quality research on the topic of prevention. For instance, a 2016 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that among female nursing home residents, daily consumption of cranberry capsules resulted in no significant prevention of UTIs.
While consuming cranberry juice or supplements is not considered a first-line treatment of urinary tract infections, in most cases, it cant hurt. After all, drinking plenty of liquids does dilute your urine and help spur more frequent urination, which flushes bacteria from the urinary tract. The exception: Those who are taking blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin, should not consume cranberry juice. And those with diabetes should be mindful of the high-sugar content of fruit juices.
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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.
What Are Different Types Of Kidney Infection
Kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, may be classified as uncomplicated, complicated, or chronic kidney infection .
A complicated kidney infection refers to a kidney infection in which there is an accompanying condition that increases the risk of severe infection and ineffective treatment, such as abnormalities of the urinary tract, urinary obstruction, or diabetes. It can also mean there is severe involvement of the kidney, for example, abscess formation, obstruction, enlarged kidney, or gas is seen in the kidney by an imaging study, such as a CT scan. In these situations, the symptoms may be more severe and less responsive to usual treatments.
A chronic kidney infection may refer to a recurring kidney infection that could be a result of a kidney stone obstructing the ureter or other structural abnormalities in the ureters . These conditions are usually associated with milder symptoms, but they may last longer.
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Causes Of Utis And Bladder Infections In Men
Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections and bladder infections than men because they have a shorter urethra located closer to their rectum.
For them, sexual activity or even wearing a pair of underwear for too long can cause bacteria like E. coli to come in contact with the urinary tract.
Men can get UTIs too, but in their case, its usually due to genetics, prostate changes with age, or an abnormal immune response. STDs such as chlamydia are another frequent cause of UTIs in men.
Related Conditions Of Kidney Infection
Kidney infection can develop from, or lead to, certain other health conditions, including the following:
Urinary Tract Infection Most UTIs affect the lower urinary tract the urethra and bladder. But bacteria can migrate from the bladder to the kidneys, causing infection there.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Having an enlarged prostate can reduce the flow of urine, making it more likely that youll develop a UTI or kidney infection.
One of the most serious potential complications of a kidney infection, sepsis is an extreme immune system response to infection, resulting in widespread inflammation and sometimes vital organ failure and death.
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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.
How Do Doctors Treat A Kidney Infection
Doctors treat most kidney infections with antibiotics . Doctors will often first prescribe an antibiotic that fights the most common types of kidney infection because it is very important to treat a kidney infection right away. Then, they may change the type of antibiotic after they get the results of your blood or urine tests.
Doctors will prescribe an antibiotic medicine based on:
- What type of bacteria is causing the infection
- How severe the infection is
- If you are you are pregnant
- If you are older than 65
- If you had problems from certain antibiotics in the past, such as allergic reactions
If you have a very serious infection, you may need to stay in the hospital to get antibiotics through an IV . You may also get medicine for pain.
If your kidney infection was caused by a problem with the shape of your urinary tract, you may need to have surgery to correct the problem and prevent future kidney infections.
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Medication Options For Kidney Infection
Your doctor will decide what antibiotic to prescribe, and for how long, based on your symptoms and the results of your urine tests. Your doctor may start you on one medication right away, but change it later if your urine test results indicate that a different antibiotic will be more effective.
Drugs taken by mouth for kidney infection include:
All of these drugs and others may be considered for IV treatment if you need to be hospitalized for a severe kidney infection.
How Do You Treat A Swollen Kidney
Treatment depends on the cause of the kidney swelling. Treatment may include: Placing a stent through the bladder and ureter to allow urine to flow from the kidney into the bladder. Placing a tube into the kidney through the skin, to allow the blocked urine to drain out of the body into a drainage bag.
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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
Bladder Infection Vs Kidney Infection
The main difference between a bladder infection and a kidney infection is when bacteria have built up and infected the urinary tract system. Although most kidney infections result from untreated bladder infections that migrate to the kidneys, a kidney infection can occur in other ways.
Overall, bladder infections are more common than kidney infections and considered less complicated, especially since kidney infections can lead to serious illness if infections spread through the bloodstream.
A critical difference between bladder infection and kidney infection symptoms is the increased likelihood of illness associated with the infection migrating to the kidneys. The signs and symptoms of a bladder infection that can remain the same even after the infection spreads to the kidneys include:
- A fever remaining under 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pain and pressure in the pelvis
- Painful or burning urination
- Dark and cloudy urine that may appear red from blood
- Bad-smelling urine
- Pain in the abdomen
Additional signs and symptoms that indicate an infection has spread to the kidneys include nausea, vomiting, chills, shaking, a fever exceeding 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and, particularly in the elderly, confusion.
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How Do You Get Urinary Tract Infections
The design of the human body makes it so it isnt hard to get a bacterial UTI, because the infection comes from outside, through the urethra. Bacteria in the genital area can enter the urethra and the urinary tract, either because wiping after going to the bathroom, sexual activity, or unsanitary conditions. Once the bacteria have entered the urethra, the body tries fight them off, but sometimes the bacteria multiply and cause an infection.
In the case of a fungal infection, usually the fungus gets to the urinary tract through the blood stream. Those who develop this type of infection are usually ill with a disease that has compromised their immune system, such as AIDS.
When Does A Uti Turn Into A Kidney Infection
What happens if a UTI goes untreated? If left untreated, the E. coli or other bacteria that caused your urinary tract infection can move farther up your urinary system.
When they reach your upper urinary system , you may experience a kidney infection, medically known as pyelonephritis.
Most people seek medical help and receive treatment before they get to this point.
Most often, the bacteria involved in a kidney infection are the same that caused the initial bladder or urethral infection. In rare instances, bacteria from your skin or the environment can cause a kidney infection.
Any condition that reduces or obstructs urine flow increases your risk of contracting a kidney infection as it allows bacteria to more easily flow from the bladder, up the ureters, to the kidneys. These conditions include:
- Kidney, bladder, or ureter stones
- Masses in the abdomen or pelvis caused by cancer or other disorders
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Treatment Uti Vs Kidney Stones
Antibiotics are the first line of treatment. The type of antibiotic, its dosage, and duration depend on the type of organism and severity of infection. Also, optimal therapy depends on disease severity, local resistance patterns, and patient characteristics.
In most cases, patients need to take oral antibiotics to fight the bacteria. They also must complete the prescribed course of antibiotics and drink plenty of water to flush out the germs. They can also use heating pads to get relief from back pain.
How are kidney stones treated? The approach to management depends if the kidney stones are causing symptoms or whether there are large kidney stones. If tiny stones are not the reason for blockage or infection, then no treatment is required as these stones pass on their own.
Although, pain medication might be needed. However, larger stones dont pass on their own, requiring either conservative or Interventional treatment.
Conservative treatment involves the use of an alpha-blocker like tamsulosin. This medication relieves ureter muscle spasms, promotes the passing of ureteral stones smaller than 10 mm, and reduces painkillers for kidney stone pain.
Interventional treatment includes:
The scope may be passed through the urethra or kidney. Once in, the stone can be pulled out by the scope. It can also be broken with a laser or alternatives such as shock wave lithotripsy. Once the stones are in smaller pieces, they can pass easily and be collected for lab tests.
What Is The Difference Between A Bladder Infection And A Kidney Infection
Kidney and bladder infections are both considered urinary tract infections. Although they share similar symptoms, there are differences between the two. A kidney infectionâs signs and symptoms vary significantly from person to person and normally develop within a day or as fast as a few hours.
Understanding the difference between a bladder and kidney infection can ensure you take the proper steps towards healing and speeding up doctor consultation sessions.
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What Is A Kidney Infection Is It The Same As A Urinary Tract Infection
The main components of the urinary tract system are the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Any part of the urinary system may become infected and this is generally referred to as a urinary tract infection . When a kidney becomes infected, the condition is medically referred to as pyelonephritis. Thus, kidney infection is only one of several types of infections encompassed by the term UTI. The spectrum of UTIs includes:
Utis In People With Immune System Problems
If your immune system doesnt function properly, youre more likely to develop a UTI than other individuals because your body cant effectively fight the bacteria that end up in your urinary tract. Some potential causes of immune system dysfunction include:
- Some types of cancer treatment
- Medications that suppress your immune system to treat other conditions
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