What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Kidney Infections In Men And Women
The most important test in diagnosing kidney infection is a urinalysis . Urinalysis is a test to analyze urine sample and evaluate for an infection in the urine. Urinalysis is done by collecting a clean catch, midstream urine in a sterile collection cup. The urine may be analyzed by the doctor in the office using or by analysis in a laboratory.
Because urine is normally sterile, any finding suggesting an infection may be considered abnormal and supportive of a kidney infection.
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What Conditions Are Related To Recurrent Utis
Recurrent UTIs sometimes happen along with other conditions, such as:
- vesicoureteral reflux , which is found in 30%50% of kids diagnosed with a UTI. In this congenital condition, pee flows backward from the bladder to the ureters. Ureters are thin, tube-like structures that carry pee from the kidney to the bladder. Sometimes the pee backs up to the kidneys. If it’s infected with bacteria, it can lead to pyelonephritis.
- hydronephrosis, which is an enlargement of one or both kidneys due to backup or blockage of urine flow. It’s usually caused by severe VUR or a blocked ureter. Some kids with hydronephrosis might need to take daily low doses of antibiotics to prevent UTIs until the condition producing hydronephrosis gets better or is fixed through surgery.
But not all cases of recurrent UTIs can be traced back to these body structure-related problems. For example, dysfunctional voiding when a child doesn’t relax the muscles properly while peeing is a common cause of UTIs. Not peeing often enough also can also increase a child’s risk for recurrent infections. Both dysfunctional voiding and infrequent urination can be associated with constipation.
Rarely, unrelated conditions that harm the body’s natural defenses, such as diseases of the immune system, also can lead to recurrent UTIs. Use of a nonsterile urinary catheter can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract and also cause an infection.
Is There Any Other Way To Prevent A Uti
While theres no foolproof way to ensure you never have a UTI, there are strategies and behaviors that may lower your risk:
- Women should wipe from front to back to stop the spread of bacteria.
- Avoid using douches, powders, sprays or other materials in the genital area.
UTIs are commonplace so commonplace, in fact, that theyre one of the most frequently treated issues by telehealth professionals. If youre experiencing symptoms consistent with a UTI, dont wait until your schedule clears up to make an appointment with a physician. Dont wait for your doctors next in-office opening six weeks from now, either.
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Treatment For Uti Caused Due To Std
UTI due to Chlamydia treatment: Uncomplicated lower genital tract chlamydia infections can be cured by a single dose or short course of antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline.
UTI due to Gonorrhea treatment: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that uncomplicated gonorrhea be treated with the antibiotic ceftriaxone given as an injection with oral azithromycin
Lab Tests For Kidney Infection
The most common lab tests to help diagnose a kidney infection are two types of urine test:
Urinalysis For this test, youll urinate into a container at your doctors office or lab. A sample of your urine will be viewed under a microscope, to look for bacteria or white blood cells, which can indicate an infection.
Its possible for healthy people to have bacteria in their urine, so its important for urinalysis results to be viewed in the context of your symptoms, rather than as definitive evidence of an infection.
Urine Culture To help determine what kind of bacteria are causing your infection and guide your treatment, a sample of your urine may be placed in a container where the bacteria can grow for one to three days.
In some cases, your doctor may order a blood test to look for signs of an infection. This can involve two different tests:
Peripheral Blood Smear For this test, a thin layer of your blood is viewed under a microscope to look for an elevated white blood cell count and for neutrophils, the type of white blood cells that fight infection.
Blood Culture A sample of your blood is placed in a container to encourage bacterial growth, then examined over one to three days for bacteria that would indicate an infection.
While 20 to 30 percent of kidney infections show positive blood culture results, theres little evidence that this testing helps guide treatment or improve outcomes, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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When To See A Gp
See a GP if you feel feverish and have pain that will not go away in your tummy, lower back or genitals.
Contact a GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.
If you cannot get a GP appointment and need urgent medical attention, go to your nearest urgent care centre .
If you do not have a local UCC, go to your nearest A& E.
How Serious Is A Uti
Urinary tract infections can be painful and uncomfortable, but they ultimately donât pose a serious threat to your health as long as you seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Read on to learn more about when urinary tract infections turn into kidney infections, the differences between the two, and what you can do to properly treat and prevent them.
Read: Get UTI Treatment Online
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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.
What Are The Differences Between Utis And Kidney Infections
UTIs typically refer to bladder infections, and if the bacteria continue to spread up the urinary tract, they can infect the kidneys. Based on this, the difference between a UTI and a kidney infection is the body organ affected.
Yet another difference between these two infections is their severity, with kidney infections being a much more serious condition.
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What Is The Purpose Of A Urine Culture
Healthcare providers order urine cultures to check for urinary tract infections . A UTI can occur when bacteria enter your urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body. UTIs typically start in your bladder . They can spread to your kidneys or your prostate.
A urine culture test also:
- Identifies the bacteria or yeast causing the infection so your healthcare provider can select the most effective treatment and determine if the bacteria is resistant to any antibiotics.
Next Generation Sequencing For Utis
Next Generation Sequencing is an umbrella term that covers a few different types of DNA-based technologies. NGS testing available for UTI generally utilizes what is called 16s and 18s, which refers to a gene common to all bacteria and fungi .
NGS is more comprehensive than PCR in that detection is not limited to a panel of organisms. Instead, NGS looks for the 16s and 18s genes among all the genetic material contained within a sample and compares it to a database of thousands of organisms.
Those organisms identified are often reported in terms of load which signifies how much of the genetic material found was made up of DNA from a particular organism.
Weve provided more information about one NGS test available for UTI, if youd like to read more.
A Caveat Regarding DNA-based UTI Testing Methods
Although scientists have used DNA to identify microbes for many years, the technology has historically been expensive and time consuming, and therefore considered inappropriate for everyday testing of chronic illnesses.
This is changing, however, and technologies such as PCR and NGS are now being used to identify the unique DNA of microbes found in human test samples, including urine. DNA-based testing has already detected more than 1,200 different microbial species in urine samples a number far higher than any other UTI testing method.
The Pathogen/s Causing Your Symptoms May Not Be In Your Sample
Standard UTI test methods focus on free-floating pathogens .
With every recurrence of UTI, there is an increased risk of an embedded, difficult-to-treat bladder infection. An infection embedded in or attached to the bladder wall is called a biofilm.
Biofilms arent always bad many types of bacteria form these structures naturally and theyre an important part of the gut microbiome.
When bacteria form biofilms in the bladder, they are no longer free-floating. If the bacteria are not floating around in the urine, they will not be passed into your sample on urination.
If the bacteria are not in your sample, they will not be detected.
There are other reasons your sample may not contain detectable levels of bacteria, including over-hydration. If your bladder is frequently flushed and your urine is diluted, your sample may not contain enough of anything a urine culture can detect.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Kidney Infection
Most kidney infections actually start with a bladder infection which can include symptoms like:
- Pain when the bladder fills, and throughout the pelvic area
- The need to urinate frequently
- The overwhelming urge to urinate, even after youve just done so
- Cloudy, bloody or smelly urine
If the infection subsequently moves from the bladder to the kidneys, you may also experience infection symptoms like:
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Alternative Uti Test Methods You Could Try
We cannot reiterate enough No evidence of infection is not the same thing as evidence of no infection.
Or, to put it in a less mind-bending phrase just because your UTI test comes back negative, it does not mean you do not have an infection, particularly if the test used was a standard urine culture .
There ARE other testing options available, ranging from a modified urine culture test, right up to high tech genetic sequencing methods like those described below.
In addition to the information included here, weve also covered these testing alternatives in a resource and diagnostic directory you can download and share with your doctor. You can download this resource through our page about how to talk to your doctor about chronic and recurrent UTI or by completing the form below.
Check out our expert video series to learn more about how standard urine cultures are misleading and can lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.
|Theres an old expression, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. It’s gotta be a duck. And so to have somebody who has pain, urgency, frequency and burning, and yet they’re told they don’t have an infection because a urine culture was negative, who do you believe? Are you treating a lab result? Or are you treating a person?|
If you feel you have exhausted your current options and you are still experiencing symptoms that impact your life, it could be time to learn more about how to move forward.
What This Means For Your Treatment
Probiotics are often used alongside antibiotic treatment. When it comes to overseeing your own microbiome treatment, Dr. Thomas-White notes that the probiotics commonly sold as supplements are safe to try.
However, depending on the quality and your own microbiome, they may not help.
If you are looking to apply an idea from a study to your own treatment, your personal results may not be the same as those described in the literature.
Because probiotics are live organisms and prone to mutation, they are practically impossible to regulate by the Food and Drug Administration . Therefore, as with many natural supplements, whats in the product may not match whats on the label.
Its important to look into the companies producing probiotics and other supplements to determine whether or not the product they provide is high quality.
While probiotics are an unregulated product, there are third-party companies that test supplements and other natural products and post their findings online.
Dr. Thomas-White recommends selecting a probiotic that is refrigerated, as only Clostridia and Bacillus organisms are shelf-stable.
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If I Do Need Antibiotics Can I Get A Prescription Without Seeing A Provider
If you do need antibiotics, you will need to talk to a healthcare provider to get a prescription. Antibiotics are not available without a prescription in the U.S. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about your medical history and current symptoms. In some cases, they may collect a urine sample to test for bacteria or other infections especially if you havent had a UTI before.
If this is your first UTI, or youre at risk for a sexually transmitted infection , it could be helpful to see a provider in person for a physical exam. In the office, a provider can do tests for other conditions . These can help determine whether you have a UTI, or something else.
But in some cases, your provider may give you antibiotics after a phone call or video chat. If you are an established patient, they may be willing to call in a prescription for an antibiotic for you especially if youve had a UTI before. They might also be able to provide you with medical advice over the phone.
Another option is to see an online provider. There are many telehealth options for diagnosing and treating UTIs, including GoodRx Care. You can also shop around at the GoodRx Telehealth Marketplace, where you can compare telehealth providers based on:
Your health condition
Whether your insurance is accepted
Whether prescriptions are available through the mail
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Test Miss Bacteria That Cause Infections
- Culture tests are insensitive and miss many pathogens that cause infection it favours fast-growing bacteria, like e-coli, and is unable to culture slow-growing bacteria orpathogens that die on contact with oxygen. The culture test detects as little as 12% of other clinically significant species that can cause infections. 1
- The dipstick test only looks for the presence of gram-negative bacteria, as e-coli, ignoring other possible pathogens that cause infections.
- The dipstick detects the nitrites which are produced by gram-negative bacteria and white blood cells, produced when the body is fighting an infection. But even then the dipstick test misses infections Positive for nitrite in less than 18% of UTIs and positive for leucocytes in less than 40% of acute UTIs with a positive MSU culture. 2,3,4
- The dipstick and culture test do not detect bacteria that are dormant and embedded in the bladder wall, so they fail to detect embedded, chronic infections. Dipstick test fail to detect 40% of chronic infections. The MSU test fails to detect 90% of chronic infections. 2,3
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Infections Can Also Be Caused By:
- Kidney stones, enlarged prostates, and other conditions that obstruct the urinary tract, preventing proper emptying of urine from the body
- Spinal cord injury and other conditions that prevent you from properly emptying your bladder
- Menopause or medications that alter the hormones in your body, thus changing the bacterial environment in your urinary tract system
- Any condition that suppresses the immune system
- Certain sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma
In rare cases, a virus or fungus can cause UTIs.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infections And Kidney Infections
Urinary tract infections and kidney infections can generally be prevented through similar means.
If you suffer from any symptoms of a urinary tract or kidney infection, talk to your doctor immediately. The faster you act, the more effective the treatment.
If you experience any symptoms of urinary tract infection or kidney infection, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone or video appointment with a top U.S. doctor today.
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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.
Imaging Tests For Kidney Infection
Its usually unnecessary to order imaging tests to diagnose a kidney infection, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Cases in which an imaging test may be helpful include:
- Your symptoms dont improve with treatment
- Your infection recurs
- Your doctor suspects a structural abnormality in your urinary tract
If your doctor believes that imaging tests are necessary, the following options are available:
Computerized Tomography Scan This test takes a series of X-ray images from different angles, which a computer combines to create detailed images of tissues in your body.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging This test uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of organs and tissues.
Intravenous Pyelogram This test involves injecting a dye into your arm, then taking X-ray images of your urinary tract to look for signs of swelling or other abnormalities in your kidneys and bladder.
Voiding Cystourethrogram This test is similar to an intravenous pyelogram, and involves taking X-ray images of your bladder when its full and while youre urinating.