Kidney Infections

About Kidney Infections

Kidney infections can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening if not treated properly.  Known also as pyelonephritis, a kidney infection usually begins as a urinary tract infection that works its way up from the bladder into the kidneys, where bacteria are able to multiply. Left untreated, it could damage the kidneys, and eventually lead to kidney failure and chronic kidney disease.  In rare cases, the bacteria can even spread to the bloodstream and cause sepsis, which can be deadly.

Kidney Infection Symptoms

Symptoms of kidney infection can be painful, and include sharp pains in the side and back of the abdomen, as well as the groin.  Individuals may also experience an urgent need for frequent urination or an inability to urinate, as well as intense burning during urination.  These symptoms may be accompanied by weakness, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills.  Urine may have an usual tint and may contain blood or pus.  The onset of these signs may appear suddenly and it's important to contact a physician immediately so that the necessary diagnostic tests can be performed.

Kidney Infection Treatment

The standard treatment for a kidney infection is antibiotics. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include amoxicillin, cephalosporins, and quinolones.  Severe infections may require the use of intravenous antibiotics. 

Luckily, kidney infections can largely be prevented by monitoring one's habits and lifestyle.  Drinking large amounts of fluids such as cranberry juice can help cleanse certain bacteria from the bladder.  For women, urinating after sexual intercourse can help flush out any bacteria from the urethra.  Urinating when necessary, rather than holding urine can also prevent bacteria from building up inside the bladder.  Maintenance of personal hygiene is critical as well: women should take care to wipe carefully from front to back after bowel movements to ensure that bacteria from the anal region doesn’t get into the vagina.  With the necessary precautions, the incidence of kidney infections can be greatly reduced.

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