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Urinary Tract Infections: Kidney Infection Symptoms and Treatment

Urinary Tract Infections: Kidney Infection Symptoms and Treatment

While a bladder infection is the most common type of urinary tract infection, the infection could even spread to the kidneys. In this article, we would be looking into kidney infection symptoms and treatment options.
Kevin Mathias
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Women are more likely to suffer from urinary tract infections due to the shorter size of urethra and the proximity of the urethral opening to the vagina and the anus. If a bladder infection is not treated at an early stage, bacteria can move further up into the kidneys through the ureters, thereby causing a kidney infection. Such an infection is medically referred to as pyelonephritis.
How Do You Know If You Have Kidney Infection
People suffering from a kidney infection are most likely to experience certain symptoms.
  • Pain and burning sensation during urination
  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Smelly urine
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stinging pain in the lower back
  • Sudden unexplained fever
  • Sudden unexplained fatigue
  • Blood or pus in urine
  • Malaise
If there is a burning sensation accompanied by pain during urination, it may be a sign of a kidney infection. This symptom should not be confused with the burning and itching sensation that is felt by those suffering from a yeast infection.
A constant or recurring dull to throbbing pain in the lower back (around the waist) or the flank region another common symptom of kidney infection. These symptoms may also be accompanied by a mild fever. If you feel lethargic for no apparent reason, even though you have been well rested, it is time to visit your physician immediately.
How is Kidney Infection Treatment
A timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent life-threatening complications from arising. If a person is diagnosed with pyelonephritis, doctors may prescribe a sulfa drug for clearing off the infection. If you know that you are allergic to sulfa drugs, or get to know after beginning the course of medication, let your doctor know immediately. Since bacteria are the causal agents, kidney infection treatment would involve the use of antibiotics. A broad-spectrum antibiotic would be prescribed initially until doctors are able to identify the causal bacteria through urine culture and blood culture. This would help them in determining what are the most effective antibiotics for kidney infection in each case. Quinolones, Beta-lactam antibiotics, Trimethoprim and Co-Trimoxazole are some of the antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for treating a kidney infection.
In severe cases where the patient is unable to take drugs orally, hospitalization would be required. The patient would have to be administered antibiotics and fluids intravenously. If a structural abnormality in the kidneys or urinary tract is causing recurring infections, it would have to be surgically repaired. It is also essential to take precautionary measures to prevent kidney infections in future. Doctors usually tell the patients to drink plenty of water. This not only helps in flushing out the toxins, but will also gradually help in flushing out the infection-causing bacteria. Many believe that drinking pure cranberry juice can help in preventing urinary tract infections or a kidney infection. Here are some self-care measures that could help in preventing a kidney infection.
  • Always clean the genital area before and after sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate before and after indulging in sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate as soon as you feel the urge to. Do not hold back the urge to urinate for long periods of time.
  • Wear cotton undergarments which allow for air circulation. This will help in discouraging the growth of bacteria.
  • Women must always wipe from front to back after urinating or defecating.
A kidney infection should never be taken lightly. If left untreated, the condition of the kidneys could deteriorate quickly, leading to other bodily complications. Visit your physician on experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms and go through the entire course of medication that is prescribed. Even a trace of the infection that may be left behind could trigger another major infection.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.