What you need to know about kidney infection

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Kidney infection, medically known as pyelonephritis, is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that travels from the bladder to one or both kidneys.

This condition is not only painful but can also have serious health implications if not treated promptly.

Understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments for kidney infection is crucial for anyone who wants to keep their urinary system healthy.

Symptoms: Recognizing the Signs

The symptoms of a kidney infection can vary from mild to severe and may develop rapidly over a few hours or gradually over a few days.

Common signs include a high fever, chills, back or side pain, nausea, vomiting, and frequent, painful urination. Some people might also notice a change in the color of their urine, which could become cloudy, dark, or bloody.

Unlike a lower urinary tract infection, which affects just the bladder, a kidney infection involves the kidneys and can cause more severe symptoms, including a fever and flank pain.

Causes: How Do Kidney Infections Happen?

Kidney infections typically start as a bladder infection or a UTI. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), commonly found in the intestines, can enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply.

If the infection isn’t treated promptly, it can spread upwards to the kidneys and become more serious.

Factors that increase the risk of developing a kidney infection include being female, having a weakened immune system, using a urinary catheter for a long time, and having a condition that blocks or changes the flow of urine in the kidneys.

Treatment: Finding Relief and Healing

The primary treatment for a kidney infection is antibiotics. The choice of antibiotic and the length of treatment depend on the severity of the infection and the patient’s overall health.

For mild to moderate infections, oral antibiotics are typically effective. However, severe infections may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.

It’s crucial to complete the entire course of antibiotics even if symptoms improve before the medication is finished to ensure the infection is fully eradicated.

In addition to antibiotics, it’s important to stay well hydrated to help flush bacteria from the urinary tract. Over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce fever and alleviate pain, but they should be used cautiously and under the advice of a healthcare provider.

Preventing Kidney Infections

Prevention is key when it comes to kidney infections. Simple steps can significantly reduce the risk, such as drinking plenty of fluids, urinating frequently, and practicing good hygiene.

Women, in particular, should wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from spreading to the urethra.

Those prone to recurrent UTIs may need to take additional precautions, such as taking prescribed antibiotics as a preventive measure or making lifestyle adjustments.

The Bottom Line

Kidney infections are a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. Recognizing the symptoms early and seeking treatment can prevent complications and ensure a quick recovery.

With the right approach to treatment and prevention, most people fully recover without any long-term problems. As research continues, we hope to find even more effective ways to treat and prevent this painful and potentially dangerous condition.

Understanding the basics of kidney infection—its symptoms, causes, and treatment—is a crucial step in maintaining not only kidney health but overall well-being.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about drug that prevents kidney failure in diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce risk of kidney injury.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about foods that may prevent recurrence of kidney stones, and common painkillers may harm heart, kidneys and more.

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