Kidney Infection Risk Factors
Anyone can get a kidney infection. But just as women get more bladder infections than men, they also get more kidney infections.
A womanÃ¢s urethra is shorter than a manÃ¢s, and itÃ¢s closer to their and . That means itÃ¢s easier for bacteria or viruses to get into a womanÃ¢s urethra, and once they do, itÃ¢s a shorter trip to the bladder. From there, they can spread to the kidneys.
Pregnant women are even more likely to get bladder infections. This is because of hormone changes and because a baby puts pressure on the motherÃ¢s bladder and ureters and slows the flow of urine.
Any problem in your urinary tract that keeps pee from flowing as it should can raise your chances of a kidney infection, such as:
- A blockage in your urinary tract, like a kidney stone or enlarged prostate
- Conditions that keep your bladder from completely emptying
- A problem in the structure of your urinary tract, like a pinched urethra
- Vesicoureteral reflux , which is when pee flows backward from your bladder toward your kidneys
YouÃ¢re also more likely to get an infection if you have:
Who’s Most Likely To Get A Kidney Infection
Women and children are most at risk of developing a kidney infection, as well as other urinary tract infections such as cystitis.
Other factors can also put you more at risk of developing a kidney infection, including:
- having a condition that blocks, or obstructs, your urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate children with constipation can also be at an increased risk
- being born with an abnormality in your urinary tract
- having a condition that prevents you emptying your bladder fully, such as an injury to your spinal cord this can allow bacteria in your bladder to multiply and spread
- having a weakened immune system for example, due to type 2 diabetes or as a side effect of chemotherapy
- having an infection of the prostate gland called prostatitis the infection can spread from the prostate gland into the kidneys
- having a urinary catheter
- being female and sexually active sexual intercourse can irritate the urethra and allow bacteria to travel into your bladder
- being pregnant this can cause physical changes that slow the flow of urine out of your body and make it easier for bacteria to spread to the kidneys
- having undergone female genital mutilation an illegal practice where a woman’s genitals are deliberately cut or changed for cultural, religious and social reasons
How Is A Uti Diagnosed
To find out whether you have a UTI, your doctor or nurse will test a clean sample of your urine. This means you will first wipe your genital area with a special wipe. Then you will collect your urine in midstream in a cup. Your doctor or nurse may then test your urine for bacteria to see whether you have a UTI, which can take a few days.
If you have had a UTI before, your doctor may order more tests to rule out other problems. These tests may include:
- A cystogram. This is a special type of x-ray of your urinary tract. These x-rays can show any problems, including swelling or kidney stones.
- A cystoscopic exam. The cystoscope is a small tube the doctor puts into the urethra to see inside of the urethra and bladder for any problems.
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Treatment From A Gp For Utis That Keep Coming Back
If your UTI comes back after treatment, or you have 2 UTIs in 6 months, a GP may:
- prescribe a different antibiotic or prescribe a low-dose antibiotic to take for up to 6 months
- prescribe a vaginal cream containing oestrogen, if you have gone through the menopause
- refer you to a specialist for further tests and treatments
In some people, antibiotics do not work or urine tests do not pick up an infection, even though you have UTI symptoms.
This may mean you have a long-term UTI that is not picked up by current urine tests. Ask the GP for a referral to a specialist for further tests and treatments.
Long-term UTIs are linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer in people aged 60 and over.
How Are Kidney Infections Diagnosed
Two common laboratory tests are performed to diagnose kidney infections . A urine sample is examined under a microscope to determine if white and/or red blood cells are present. The urine is also sent to the lab to see if bacteria grow in a urine culture. If a person is very sick, blood cultures may also be sent. The strain of bacteria that are cultured will determine the type of therapy used in your treatment.
Pyelonephritis can often be treated without X-ray studies, unless your doctor suspects there may be an addition problem. CT scans produce images of structures and organs and these scans are usually done without contrast . A renal ultrasound may sometimes suffice for evaluation.
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Seek Treatment Right Away
It is very important to get medical treatment for a kidney infection as soon as possibledo not wait for it to go away on its own. Kidney infections that are not treated soon enough can cause permanent kidney damage or can spread to other parts of your body and cause an even more serious infection, such as an infection in your blood , which can be fatal.
If you have pain, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter pain medicines. You can also use a heating pad to help with pain. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
These bacteria are responsible for about 90% of all uncomplicated urinary tract infections. E. coli are found in the colons of humans and animals and in their fecal waste. When E. coli or other bacteria end up in the urethra, they cause a urinary tract infection.
There are other types of bacteria also known to cause UTIs. According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information the most common bacteria to cause UTIs are:
- Escherichia coli
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Streptococcus spp. , Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococci were each found to be the third pathogens in different periods during the two-year study.
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Treatment For More Severe Utis
Kids with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .
This might happen if:
- the child has high fever or looks very ill, or a kidney infection is likely
- the child is younger than 6 months old
- bacteria from the infected urinary tract may have spread to the blood
- the child is dehydrated or is vomiting and cannot take any fluids or medicine by mouth
Kids with VUR will be watched closely by the doctor. VUR might be treated with medicines or, less commonly, surgery. Most kids outgrow mild forms of VUR, but some can develop kidney damage or kidney failure later in life.
Will A Uti Go Away On Its Own
Some UTIs can go away on their own. A 2022 article states that some uncomplicated UTIs can resolve spontaneously without treatment, but that some people need to see a doctor to relieve their symptoms.
A person should always see a doctor if they develop symptoms of a UTI as they can progress into a kidney infection.
Can Utis Be Prevented
A few things can help prevent UTIs. After peeing, girls should wipe from front to back with toilet paper. After BMs, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.
Also, go to the bathroom when needed and don’t hold the pee in. Pee that stays in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.
Keep the genital area clean and dry. Girls should change their tampons and pads regularly during their periods. Bubble baths can irritate the vaginal area, so girls should take showers or plain baths. Avoid long exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits. Wearing underwear with cotton crotches is also helpful. Skip using feminine hygiene sprays or douches, as these can irritate the urethra.
If you are sexually active, go to the bathroom both before and within 15 minutes after sex. After sex, gently wash the genital area to remove any bacteria. Avoid sexual positions that irritate or hurt the urethra or bladder. Couples who use lubrication during sex should use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.
Finally, drinking lots of water each day keeps the bladder active and bacteria-free.
UTIs are uncomfortable and often painful, but they’re common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner you’ll be able to get rid of the problem.
Who We Cant Help
If any of the following apply, itâs in your best interest to see a doctor or nurse practitioner in person rather than use our UTI service.
- Your assigned birth sex is male
- Symptoms lasting longer than two weeks
- New pain in your back or sides
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
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Tips To Reduce Your Risk For Utis With Adpkd
If you have kidney disease, a UTI can cause a bladder or kidney infection. Find out how to prevent UTIs from occurring.
Theres nothing that unusual about a urinary tract infection : Theyre responsible for more than 8 million doctor visits per year, according to the Urology Care Foundation. But for people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease , UTIs carry some potentially elevated risks.
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The bacteria usually travel from the skin or rectum into the urethra, the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body so you can urinate. Symptoms can include needing to urinate a lot, a feeling of urgency, pain when urinating, or feeling the need to urinate even when your bladder is empty.
While UTIs are often easily treated with antibiotics, people with ADPKD may need to avoid taking certain medications since they can potentially damage the kidneys. Left untreated, though, a UTI can cause a kidney infection, the CDC says.
Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is called a silent disease as there are often no warning signs. People may lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before getting any symptoms. The first signs of kidney disease may be general and can include:
- high blood pressure
- changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed
- changes in the appearance of urine
- blood in the urine
- puffiness of the legs and ankles
- pain in the kidney area
- have a family history of kidney failure
- have a history of acute kidney injury
- are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.
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Diagnosis Of Urinary Incontinence
The first step in treating incontinence is to see a doctor. He or she will give you a physical exam and take your medical history. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and the medicines you use. He or she will want to know if you have been sick recently or had surgery. Your doctor also may do a number of tests. These might include:
- Urine and blood tests
- Tests that measure how well you empty your bladder
In addition, your doctor may ask you to keep a daily diary of when you urinate and when you leak urine. Your family doctor may also send you to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in urinary tract problems.
Types Of Kidney Infection
Kidney infections can be acute or chronic.
An acute kidney infection is one that goes away after treatment.
A chronic infection comes and goes, or may never go away properly. This type of infection can damage the kidneys. It usually occurs if there is a problem that causes urine to flow backwards from the bladder and up into the kidneys.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Utis
UTIs can cause such signs as:
- pain, burning, or a stinging sensation when peeing
- an increased urge or more frequent need to pee
- waking up at night a lot to go to the bathroom
- belly pain in the area of the bladder
- foul-smelling pee that may look cloudy or contain blood
If you have any symptoms of a UTI, you’ll need to go to a doctor right away. The sooner you begin treatment, the less uncomfortable you’ll be. Call your doctor’s office or clinic. If you can’t reach your doctor, you can visit an urgent care center or hospital emergency room. The most important thing is to take action as soon as possible.
There Are A Lot Of Variables To Consider When Diagnosing A Uti
Women who have had UTIs before most likely recognize their symptoms. However, something that causes you to urinate more frequently and causes discomfort isnt necessarily a UTI.
My first goal when speaking with a patient is to get as much information as I can, so I can determine the best diagnosis and treatment plan, says Dr. Talbott. Urinary tract infections can be confused with sexually transmitted diseases, or they can be more complicated if you have diabetes or other diseases that contribute to a suppressed immune system. It is also challenging when addressing a pediatric patient, or in the elderly with multiple complex health issues.
If youre experiencing fever, nausea, or pain, you most likely have a kidney infection. However, if you have thick white discharge, you might have a yeast infection. Blood in the urine may also suggest a bladder infection, while a discharge with a fishy odor may indicate bacterial vaginosis.
Giving your doctor as much information as you can helps him or her determine the most likely way to get you feeling better fast, says Dr. Talbott.
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Are There Risk Factors For Pyelonephritis
There are several developmental conditions that increase the risk for pyelonephritis.
- Ectopic ureters describe a condition in which the ureters do not attach to the bladder properly or may attach to reproductive organs instead of the bladder.
- Vesicoureteral reflux describes backflow of urine from the bladder back into the ureters.
- Renal dysplasia describes abnormal development of the kidneys from birth.
There are several medical and procedural conditions that increase the likelihood of urinary tract infection including:
- Diabetes mellitus, causing glucose in the urine, making the urine very attractive to bacteria.
- Cushingâs disease , or overactive adrenal glands, causing increased levels of steroids in the body and decreasing the bodyâs resistance to infection.
- Administration of medications containing steroids.
- Kidney failure.
Complications Of Kidney Infections
Most kidney infections are treated successfully without complications, although some people may develop further problems.
Complications of a kidney infection are rare, but you’re more likely to develop them if you:
- rapid heartbeat
Blood poisoning is a medical emergency that usually requires admission to a hospital intensive care unit while antibiotics are used to fight the infection.
If you’re taking certain medications for diabetes, such as metformin or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, they may be temporarily withdrawn until you recover. This is because they can cause kidney damage during an episode of blood poisoning.
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Whats The Difference Between A Urinary Tract Infection And Bladder Infection
A urinary tract infection is a more general type of infection. There are many parts of your urinary tract. A UTI is a term for an infection that takes place throughout the urinary tract. A bladder infection, also called cystitis, is a specific infection. In this infection, bacteria makes its way into the bladder and causes inflammation.
Not all urinary tract infections become bladder infections. Preventing the spread of the infection is one of the most important reasons to treat a UTI quickly when you have symptoms. The infection can spread not only to the bladder, but also into your kidneys, which is a more complicated type of infection than a UTI.
Is Screening Recommended For Uti Or Kidney Infection
In general, screening is not recommended for urinary tract infections and kidney infections in men and nonpregnant women.
While pregnant, screening may be recommended for women because bacteria in the urine without symptoms of infection are associated with a higher rate of progression to an overt urinary tract infection and pyelonephritis. These infections can potentially compromise fetal growth and health.
Screening for bacteria in the urine without any symptoms is also recommended for any individual prior to undergoing instrumentation of the urinary tract or in men undergoing prostate procedures. The presence of bacteria in the urine with or without infection can possibly lead to an increased chance of developing a urinary tract infection. Treating these bacteria can substantially reduce the infectious complications of such procedures.
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