A kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, is a serious medical illness caused by harmful bacteria or other microbes entering the kidneys and infecting them. This illness usually begins as a urinary tract infection (UTI) in the lower urinary system, such as the bladder or urethra, and subsequently progresses to one or both kidneys. If left untreated, kidney infections can be excruciatingly painful and lead to possibly fatal health consequences.
How does one get Kidney infection?
Let’s see how anyone can get this infection. Kidney infections arise when harmful bacteria enter and grow in the kidneys, causing an infection. This can happen for a variety of reasons like:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): A UTI is a frequent way for germs to enter the kidneys. UTIs originate when germs enter the urinary tract from the rectal or vaginal area and move up to the bladder. If the infection is not treated as soon as possible, it might progress to the kidneys and cause a kidney infection.
- Urinary system Blockages: A urinary system blockage, such as a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate in men, can collect urine and create a breeding environment for bacteria. Bacteria can proliferate in sluggish urine and eventually reach the kidneys, causing an illness.
- Infections in the bloodstream: Bacteria from infections elsewhere in the body can enter the bloodstream in some situations. If these bacteria enter the bloodstream and go to the kidneys, they can cause an infection. Bacteria, for example, can migrate through the circulation to the kidneys if a person has a serious skin infection or an infected cut.
- Structural Abnormalities: Some persons are born with structural abnormalities in their urinary tract that allow bacteria to reach the kidneys more easily. These anomalies can include irregularly shaped kidneys or urinary reflux, a condition in which urine runs backward from the bladder to the kidneys.
In all of these conditions, bacteria that enter the kidneys can cause an immunological reaction, resulting in kidney infection symptoms such as fever, pain in the lower back or side, and difficulty while peeing. Kidney infections can be dangerous and necessitate immediate medical treatment, usually with antibiotics, to avoid complications and kidney damage. If you feel you have a kidney infection, you must seek medical assistance immediately.
How can one know if they have a kidney infection?
Knowing the signs of this infection is just as crucial as knowing why someone gets this infection.
A kidney infection can cause the following symptoms:
- Fever and chills
- Spitting up
- You’re feeling ill to your stomach.
- Lower back pain, one or both sides, or groin pain
- Urinating (peeing) more frequently than usual
- Feeling the need to urinate despite having just gone
- Urinary discomfort or burning
- Urine containing blood or pus (a thick, white or yellow liquid).
- Urine that is murky or stinks
Kidney infections must be treated as soon as possible since they can develop to major problems such as kidney damage or even systemic infection (sepsis) if not treated properly. Antibiotics are normally used to treat the illness, and in severe situations, hospitalization may be required.
When to see a doctor?
Let’s look at some of the early warning signs of kidney infection that indicate you should consult a doctor right away.
- You’re always fatigued.
- You don’t get enough sleep.
- You have itchy skin.
- Your face and feet are swollen.
- Muscle cramping
- Inability to breathe
- Foggy head
Hence if you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
How to prevent ourselves from Kidney infection?
Maintaining good urinary tract health and adopting proper cleanliness are the most important aspects of preventing kidney infections. Kidney infections, commonly known as pyelonephritis, are frequently caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI). Here are some precautions you may take to lower your chances of getting a kidney infection:
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your urine diluted and to wash bacteria out of your urinary system. Aim for 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water per day.
- Urinate on a regular basis: Holding urine in for an extended amount of time can allow bacteria to proliferate in the urinary system. When you feel the need to urinate, empty your bladder.
- Wipe Cleanly: Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid bacteria from spreading from the anal area to the urethra.
- Urinate prior to and after Intercourse: Urinating before and after sexual activity can aid in the removal of bacteria that may have entered the urethra during the course of the intercourse.
- Irritants should be avoided: Caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods are examples of things that might irritate the urinary system.
- Wear Breathable Undergarments: Cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants allow for improved airflow and help minimize moisture buildup in the genital area.
- Chronic Disease Management: Work with your healthcare physician to manage any illnesses that raise your risk of UTIs, such as diabetes or kidney stones.
- Practice Safe Sex: To limit the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can lead to kidney infections, use barrier techniques such as condoms.
- Maintain Good Hygiene: Maintain a clean and dry genital area. Avoid using strong soaps or douches that can upset the urinary tract’s natural bacterial balance.
- Promptly Treat UTIs: If you feel you have a UTI (for example, urinating with pain or burning, frequent urination, or murky urine), seek medical assistance right once. If left untreated, UTIs can develop to kidney infections.
How can we treat the kidney infection?
Treatment typically involves a combination of antibiotics and supportive care. Here are the steps typically taken in the treatment of a kidney infection:
- Antibiotics: The primary treatment for kidney infections is antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe medications to combat the bacteria that are causing the infection. Antibiotics that are frequently prescribed include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Even if you start feeling better before finishing the antibiotics, it’s critical to finish the course to ensure that all of the bacteria are gone.
- Pain Control: Kidney infections can be excruciatingly painful. Over-the-counter pain medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may be prescribed by your doctor to assist control discomfort and fever.
- Hydration: It is critical to stay hydrated during a kidney illness. Drinking enough of water can aid in the removal of bacteria from the urinary tract and improve recovery. If your symptoms are severe, you may require intravenous (IV) fluids to stay hydrated.
- Hospitalization: In severe cases or if complications arise, you may need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics and strict monitoring. This is more likely if the infection has spread or if you have other medical conditions that raise your risk of consequences.
- Identifying and Treating Underlying Causes: If you have recurring kidney infections or an underlying urinary tract disease that is contributing to the infections, your doctor may examine and treat those issues. Imaging techniques (such as a CT scan or ultrasound) may be used to detect urinary tract problems.
- Follow-up: Following the completion of your antibiotic course, your doctor may require follow-up testing to check that the infection has been completely cleared. Even if you feel better, it’s critical to finish the entire course of antibiotics to avoid recurrence or the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs.
- Changes in Lifestyle: You can take actions to maintain healthy urinary tract health to avoid recurring kidney infections. Staying hydrated, peeing frequently, and exercising proper hygiene, especially after sexual activity, are all part of this. Delaying urinating when you feel the need is not a good idea because it might lead to urinary tract infections.
If you suspect you have a kidney infection, seek medical assistance right away since untreated kidney infections can lead to significant problems such as kidney damage or the infection spreading to the bloodstream (sepsis), which can be fatal. To ensure a thorough recovery, always follow your doctor’s recommendations and take prescription drugs as indicated.