Kidney Infection: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Complications and Prevention

Also known as pyelonephritis, it is a common type of urinary tract infection. Bacteria often infect the bladder or urethra and spread to one of the kidneys.

Women are the most affected by kidney infection, such as pregnant mothers, children under 2 years of age and people over 60 years of age. Renal infections affect an estimated 3 to 4 men in 10,000 and 15 to 17 in 10,000 women.

A kidney infection is a painful and unpleasant disease usually caused by cystitis , a common bladder infection.

Most people with cystitis will not get a kidney infection, but occasionally, the bacteria can travel from the bladder to one or both kidneys.

If treated with antibiotics immediately, a kidney infection does not cause serious damage, although it will feel very bad. If a kidney infection is not treated, it can get worse and can sometimes cause permanent kidney damage.

Data on Kidney Infections

These are some key points about kidney infections.

  • One of the main roles of the kidney is to eliminate toxins from the body.
  • The symptoms of kidney infections include diarrhea, nausea and back pain.
  • Sometimes, a bladder infection can occur at the same time as a kidney infection.
  • In most cases, oral antibiotics can successfully treat kidney infections.

What is the Urinary Tract?

The urinary tract consists of:

The kidneys : most humans have two kidneys, one on each side of the abdomen. The kidneys remove poisonous substances from the blood.

The ureters : the urine passes from the kidneys to the bladder through the tubes called ureters. Each kidney has a ureter that connects it to the bladder.

The bladder : a hollow organ in the lower part of the abdomen that stores urine.

The urethra : a tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In men, the urethra travels through the middle of the penis to an opening at the end. In women, the urethra extends from the bladder to just above the vaginal opening.

The urethra in women is shorter than in men.

Symptoms of Kidney Infection

The symptoms of a kidney infection often appear in a few hours. You may feel feverish, shaken, sick, and have pain in your back or side.

In addition to feeling bad like this, you may also have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) such as cystitis. These include:

  • Need to urinate suddenly, or more than usual.
  • Pain or a burning sensation when urinating.
  • Pestilent or malodorous urine.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Cloudy urine.
  • Pain or difficulty urinating, often described as a burning or stinging sensation.
  • Inability to urinate completely.
  • Pain in the lower abdomen.

When someone has a kidney infection, it usually develops quite quickly, in a day or a few hours:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Sickness.
  • Uncontrollable tremors.
  • Vomiting
  • Back pain.
  • Groin pain
  • Pain in the side.
  • Symptoms often get worse when the patient urinates.

When to see your Doctor

A kidney infection can develop quickly and cause serious complications. Medical help is needed if there is:

  • Persistent pain
  • A high temperature.
  • A change in urination patterns.
  • Blood in the urine.

Consult your GP if you have a fever and pain that does not go away in your belly, lower back or genitals.

You should also see a doctor if you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection that have not improved after a few days, or if you have blood in your urine. Contact your doctor immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.

If you can not get an appointment with a doctor and need urgent medical attention, go to your nearest urgent care center, if you do not have one, go to the nearest accident and emergency department.

Diagnose a Kidney Infection

To find out if you have a kidney infection, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your recent medical history. Usually, a doctor will check the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate to verify their general health.

The doctor will also look for signs of dehydration. A physical examination will be performed, with particular emphasis on the middle and lower back to see if there is sensitivity, pain or sensitivity.

A urine test can determine the presence of a UTI, but not its location. However, a urine test that detects an infection will help the doctor reach the diagnosis.

If you are a man with a confirmed UTI, your GP will refer you directly to a specialist (a urologist) for further investigation.

If the patient is a young woman, the doctor can perform a pelvic exam to check for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If the woman is of childbearing age, a pregnancy test may be recommended.

Treatment of Renal Infection

Most kidney infections need rapid treatment with antibiotics to prevent the infection from damaging the kidneys or spreading to the bloodstream. You may also need pain killers.

If you are especially vulnerable to the effects of an infection, for example, if you have a long-term health problem or are pregnant, you may be admitted to the hospital and receive treatment with antibiotics by drip.

Kidney infection can be treated at home or in a hospital; This will depend on several factors, including the severity of the symptoms and the general state of health of the patient. Home treatment involves taking prescription oral antibiotics.

After taking antibiotics, you should feel completely better after about 2 weeks. It is essential that the individual finish the treatment and comply with the instructions of their doctor.

Drinking lots of fluids will help prevent fever and dehydration. The recommendations for fluid intake may vary, depending on the type of infection. The doctor may also prescribe an analgesic if there is pain.

If the person is treated in the hospital and suffers from dehydration, fluids can be given with a drip. Most cases of hospitalization do not last more than 3-7 days.

Subsequent urine and blood tests will tell the doctor how effective the treatment has been. The following factors are more likely to be treated in the hospital because of kidney infection:

  • Diabetes.
  • Serious difficulties to urinate.
  • Cancer and chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • A history of kidney infection.
  • VIH.
  • A blockage in the kidneys.
  • Be pregnant.
  • Severe pain
  • Severe vomiting
  • Be 60 years old or older

Causes of Kidney Infection

A kidney infection is caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and reproduce in the bladder, triggering an infection. The infection spreads to the kidneys.

A kidney infection usually occurs when bacteria, often a type called E. coli , enter the tube that carries urine out of the body (urethra). Bacteria travel to the bladder, causing cystitis, and then to the kidneys.

The E. coli bacterium normally lives in the intestine, where it does not cause any harm. They can be transferred from the bottom to the genitals during sexual intercourse or if you are not careful when cleaning your butt after going to the toilet.

Sometimes, a kidney infection can develop without a bladder infection, for example, if you have a problem with the kidney, such as kidney stones, or if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system. There are several ways in which bacteria can achieve this:

Toilet hygiene : after going to the bathroom and using toilet paper to clean the anus, there may be contact with the genitals, which causes the infection to reach and reach the kidneys.

The infection could also enter the anus. The bacteria occupy the colon and eventually cause a kidney infection.

Female physiology : women are more vulnerable to bladder infections and, ultimately, to kidney infections than men, because their urethra is shorter, which makes it easier for infections to reach parts of the urinary tract more quickly.

Urinary catheter : A urinary catheter is a tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine. Having a urinary catheter increases the risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI). This includes a kidney infection.

Kidney stones : people with kidney stones have a higher risk of developing a kidney infection. Kidney stones are the result of an accumulation of dissolved minerals in the inner lining of the kidneys.

Enlarged prostate : men with enlarged prostate have an increased risk of developing kidney infections.

Sexually active women : If sexual intercourse irritates the urethra, there may be a greater risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract and eventually reaching the kidneys.

Weakened immune system : Some patients with weakened immune systems may have a bacterial or fungal infection on their skin, which eventually enters the bloodstream and attacks the kidneys.

Who is at Risk?

Kidney infections can occur at any age and are much more common in women. This is because a woman’s urethra is shorter, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the kidneys.

Younger women are more at risk because they tend to be more sexually active, and having frequent sex increases the chances of getting a kidney infection.

Complications

There are two types of kidney infection:

Uncomplicated renal infection : the patient is healthy and serious complications are very unlikely.

Complicated kidney infection : the patient is more likely to suffer complications, perhaps due to a pre-existing disease or condition.

If a kidney infection is not treated promptly, there is a risk of serious complications, including:

Emphysematous pyelonephritis : this is a very rare and potentially fatal complication. It is a severe infection in which the tissues of the kidney are rapidly destroyed.

The bacteria that cause the infection release a toxic gas that builds up inside the kidney, causing fever, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and confusion.

Renal abscesses : pus accumulates in the tissues of the kidney in abscesses. Symptoms include blood in the urine, weight loss and abdominal pain. Sometimes surgery is needed to drain the pus.

Blood poisoning, or sepsis : It is also a rare but possibly fatal complication, sepsis leads to the spread of bacteria from the kidneys to the bloodstream, resulting in infections in any part of the body, including the major organs.

It is a medical emergency and patients are usually placed in an intensive care unit (ICU).

Preventing Kidney Infection

Often, a kidney infection is the result of a pre-existing infection in the urinary tract. The best way to prevent the development of a kidney infection is to keep the bladder and urethra free of bacteria by:

  • Drink plenty of fluids (running water is the best).
  • Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to do it, instead of holding it.
  • Go to the bathroom after sex
  • Clean from front to back after going to the bathroom.
  • Wash your genitals every day, and before having sex.
  • Treating any constipation, being constipated can increase your chances of developing an ITU.
  • Do not use a diaphragm or spermicide-coated condoms if you are prone to UTI, it is believed that spermicide may increase the risk of getting a UTI.
  • Eat plenty of fiber so that faeces come out easily and do not irritate or cause skin lesions. Constipation increases the risk of developing a kidney infection.

If you continue to have urine infections, your doctor may prescribe a low dose of antibiotics to take regularly. This can help prevent the infection from coming back or prevent any infection from spreading to the kidneys.