Kidney Infection

Kidney Infection

Overview

Kidney infection (also known as pyelonephritis) is a type of urinary tract infection that begins in the urethra and bladder and spreads to the ureters and the kidneys. Kidney infections require prompt attention as they can spread to the blood stream. A kidney infection could be life-threatening if left untreated.

Signs and symptoms

A patient with a kidney infection may experience fever, blood or pus in their urine, loss of appetite, upset stomach, vomiting, fatigue and lower back or groin pain. In addition to this, the patient may also be experiencing a bladder infection, with symptoms such as lower stomach pain, a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination and great difficulty emptying the bladder.

Causes and Risk Factors

Kidney infections usually begin as bladder infections that spread. Blockages in the urinary tract, pregnancy, type 2 diabetes, a weakened immune system, repeated use of a urinary catheter and nerve damage in the bladder will increase a patient’s risk of developing a kidney infection. The shorter length of the ureter in women results in them being more likely to develop bladder infections and kidney infections compared to men.

Complications

Kidney infections can cause serious complications including kidney failure - chronic kidney disease. In pregnant women, a kidney infection increases the chances of an early birth or a low birth weight.

Diagnosis

The doctor will start with patient medical history and a physical exam. Diagnostic tests including a urinalysis, urine culture, ultrasound scans and CT scans may be required. The doctor may also require a voiding cystourethrogram, to check for disease in the urethra and bladder. Male patients may also require a digital rectal exam to check for a swollen prostate.

Treatment

Kidney infections are treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics. The patient will also be advised to rest and consume plenty of fluids. If the patient is in pain, they may also be prescribed a painkiller and advised to apply a heating pad to the painful area.

Prevention

To prevent kidney infections, drink plenty of water and don’t hold it in when you need to urinate. Avoid using perfumed personal-hygiene products around the genitals.

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A consultation with our panel of doctors, specialists and surgeons will help you determine what kind of services you may need to help diagnose and treat your condition. If you or someone in your family or friend’s circle are facing any health issues, please get in touch with us, we are here for you.

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