Kidney Infection

woman lying with hands over face | Healthier Me TodayKidney infection, which is also known as pyelonephritis, is a serious health condition that occurs when the bacteria in the urinary tract move up the urethra and damage the kidneys. The bacteria responsible for the infection may also come from the bladder or the ureters.

While kidney infection can affect anyone, experts have pointed out that it is common in women and individuals with a bladder infection.

People who experience the symptoms associated with the condition should seek prompt medical attention, as it can deteriorate and cause permanent kidney damage.

Category of kidney infection

Health experts categorize kidney infections based on the severity of the symptoms experienced by patients. The condition is categorized as mild when the patient experiences symptoms like fever, chills, and nausea. If the condition is severe, one may experience symptoms like abdominal pains, vomiting, difficulty urinating, and a strong urge to urinate frequently. Regardless of the severity of the condition, you must seek medical attention.

Symptoms and diagnosis of kidney infection

Below are some symptoms associated with kidney infections.

  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Presence of blood or pus in the urine   
  • Confusion
  • Cloudy urine
  • Smelling urine
  • Severe pain in the side, abdomen, and groin
  • Frequent urination

Diagnosis of kidney infection

To determine if a patient has a kidney infection, a doctor will check the medical history of the patient and carry out the following tests.

Imaging test

Ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans can help provide a clear image of the kidney. After examining the images, your doctor may be able to determine if you have a kidney infection.

Physical exam

During a physical exam, your doctor will check everything from your heart rate and temperature to your blood pressure and respiration rate. They may also assess your abdomen and lower back for tenderness and pain.  

Pelvic examination

Doctors may recommend a pelvic exam if the patient is a female. The test is done to help doctors determine if a patient has pelvic inflammatory disease along with the condition. Female patients are often required to carry out a pregnancy test before a pelvic exam.

Rectal examination

Rectal examination is exclusively for male patients. During the exam, a health care expert will check if an enlarged prostate is blocking the bladder.

Urine sample

Here a sample of a patient’s urine is collected and tested in a lab. The presence of white blood cells and bacteria may be an indication of an infection.

How to treat kidney infection

Health care practitioners may recommend the following if a patient has a kidney infection.

Antibiotics

The antibiotics a health expert will prescribe depend on factors like the medical history, sensitivity to certain antibiotics, and so on. Below are some common antibiotics that can help address the condition.

  • Cefuroxime
  • Trimethoprim
  • Amoxicillin
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Fosfomycin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • High fluids intake

Doctors may ask patients to consume more fluids to help quell some of the symptoms (fever) associated with the condition.

Surgery

A surgical procedure will only be recommended if the patient has an enlarged prostate or a kidney stone blocking the urinary tract.

How to manage kidney infection

Here are some home remedies that can help reduce some of the symptoms of kidney infection.

Drink lots of water

Drinking plenty of water can help flush out the bacteria causing the infection. As pointed out by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one should aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses (8 ounces/glass) of water daily.

Heating pad

To reduce the pain associated with the condition, you should apply a heating pad on the tender area in your back and abdomen.

Get enough rest

If you are diagnosed with a kidney infection, you should avoid stressful activities and get lots of rest. This will help your body heal faster.

Drink green tea

A recent study found that green tea has antibacterial properties and is effective against the strain of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. After carrying out multiple tests, the researchers that conducted the study found that green tea extract can stop the growth of bacteria.


FAQs

  1. When should I see a doctor? You should consult a doctor if you have the following symptoms.
  • Fever (above 103 degrees F)
  • Severe pain in the lower back, side, and abdomen
  • Presence of pus or blood in the urine

2. How can I prevent kidney infection? Here are a few things you could do to reduce the odds of having a kidney infection.

  • Drink lots of water
  • Don’t delay urination
  • Empty your bladder after having sex

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!

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