The 11 Signs Of A Kidney Infection – What Are They?

signs of a kidney infection

The 11 Signs Of A Kidney Infection

What Are They?

Your kidneys play a vital role in many functions in your body, so any infectious issue could not only be problematic, the signs of a kidney infection could mean a potentially dangerous health hazard.

This article will look at the symptoms of a kidney infection, the causes and explain just how much of a danger having an infected kidney could be.

To discover more, please read on below.

 

 

what is a kidney infection
What Is A Kidney Infection?

Is It Really That Bad?

Kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis or renal infection, is an unpleasant and painful, yet relatively common condition caused by bacteria spreading from the bladder into the kidneys.
It belongs to a family of infections which affect the urinary system called UTIs (urinary tract infections).

The infections affecting the prostate, urethra, and bladder are called lower urinary tract infections while the ones ascending further up that they involve the kidneys are known as upper urinary tract infections, for example, the pyelonephritis.

Left unattended, an infected kidney (though rarely) could lead to renal failure and subsequently, death.

What’s The Bottom Line Here?

Kidney infections are pretty common and could lead to death (though unlikely) if not treated.

 

 

types of kidney infections
What Are The Types of Kidney Infections

The Main Culprits

There are two main types of dangerous kidney infections and they can lead to serious health issues if left unchecked.

They include:

Acute Kidney Infection
(Acute Pyelonephritis)

This type of infection is dangerous and requires immediate professional health care. (1)

Please refer to the symptoms further down below

Chronic Kidney Infection
(Chronic Pyelonephritis)

This type of infection is persistent and can even permanently damage the kidneys if untreated.

This condition can occur when an underlying problem actually causes urine or it’s particles to flow in an opposite direction to the norm, that is, from the bladder back into the kidneys.

Glomerulonephritis

There is a kidney issue called glomerulonephritis. Some people mistakenly cite this as an infection, but it’s actual a result of a possible infection, high potassium,  or in many cases a mystery cause of inflammation. (2)  Glomerulonephritis can also affect blood pressure and cause related complications.

 

 

causes of kidney infections

What Are The Causes of Kidney Infections

The Origins Of The Issues

Pyelonephritis is caused by bacteria spreading into the kidneys from the bladder.

The bacteria first enter the body using the urinary opening or anus then passes through the urethra into the bladder where they can multiply and possibly become infectious.

Spreading The Problem

The bacteria then ascend further, infecting the kidneys and causing the urinary infections. According to the NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), Escherichia coli (E.coli) is the main bacteria causing the infection. (3)

When Good Bacteria Go Bad

The bacteria that are naturally present in the colon and are actually friendly. However, they can lead to infections if they become too large in number.

Other bacteria that can cause the infection include Mycoplasma and Chlamydia. The two are, however, only transmitted sexually, unlike Escherichia coli.

As a result, the two can also infect the reproductive organs.

Other Origins

The bacteria causing the urinary infections can also originate elsewhere in the body and be spread to the kidneys through blood.

What’s The Takeaway From This?

Bacteria is the problem here, in particular, the Escherichia coli, though there are rarer types.

 

 

risk factors for kidney infection
Risk Factors for Kidney Infections

What Are They?

 

1. Females Physiology

Females are more vulnerable and more frequently affected by the infection than men. This is because they have a shorter urethra, therefore, the infections reach the parts of the urinary tract system quicker.
Sexually active females are more likely to get the infections if the urethra is irritated.

Risk Reduction Technique

It is recommended that washing immediately after sexual activity can reduce the risk of a potential infection.

2. Pregnancy

A pregnant woman is at a higher risk of getting kidney infections since the baby pressurizes the woman’s ureter thereby slowing down the flow of urine.
This provides more time for the spread of the bacteria into the kidneys.

Risk Reduction Technique

Little can be done to reverse this problem until the baby and the concomitant pressure is relieved.

3. Urinary Catheters

Urinary catheters are inserted into the bladder passing through the urethra to help in draining urine out of the body.
People using catheters are easily prone to UTIs including pyelonephritis.

Risk Reduction Technique

Extreme cleanliness and levels of hygiene are important in maintaining catheters because of the risk of a bacterial infection.

4. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, resulting from the accumulation of minerals on the inside kidney linings, can damage the kidneys making them more vulnerable to urinary infections.

Risk Reduction Technique

The risk of kidney stones can be reduced by drinking adequate water, consuming natural calcium, getting enough magnesium and keeping active.

5. Outlier Risk Factors

There are some rarer outlier determinants of a possible septicity of the kidneys.
Other causes may also include:

Narrowed urethra
Bowel incontinence
Weak immune system for example in type 2 diabetes
Immobility
Aging
Insufficient intake of fluids
Urinary tract surgery

In some cases, there be more than one cause as a few factors may create multiple chances of infection.

What Does This All Mean

Hygiene can play a role in preventing kidney disease, but there are a lot of factors that can cause an issue.

 

 

sign
The 11 Signs Of A Kidney Infection

How can you know that you are suffering from pyelonephritis?

There are a lot of potential symptoms to look out for if you are worried about the possibility of a kidney infection.

The 11 signs of a kidney infection to look out for include:

1. Abdominal Pain

This can be a radiating pain, throbbing similar to the warning signs of an appendicitis, but is frequently described as being unusual in nature.

2. Fever

A fever in medical terms is considered to be an orally taken temperature of 100 F (37.8 C) or above. A fever can be hard at times to distinguish from the symptoms of a common cold or flu, but must be considered when diagnosing the possibility of a kidney infection.

3. Diarrhea

This unfortunate symptom may not appear to be synonymous with a kidney infection and may be attributed to cases of bad food or gastroenteritis.

4. Chills Or Shivering Uncontrollably

This is easier to notice of course, if this occurs when an individual is not present in a cold room at all.

5. Nausea and Vomiting

Like Diarrhea, this is easy to dismiss as a stomach virus or a poor food choice.

6. Frequent Urination

This could be especially noticeable if the person is not drinking a particularly large amount of water but is still needing to urinate.

7. Groin Pain

This is a rarer symptom but is also an easier one to recognize as being a little more specific and unusual.

8. An Urge To Urinate

What separates this from symptom number 6 is rather than being about excessive urination, this is related to the need to urinate. So the uncomfortable feeling in the bladder may be accompanied by no actual urine at all, but the urge remains.

9. Pain Or Burning Sensation While Urinating

This is definitely the sort of issue that would be for concern no matter what the issue.

10. Hematuria (Blood and/or Pus In The Urine)

If this happens, seek medical attention immediately, without delay. (4)

11. Cloudy Foul Smelling Urine

Of course, some foods can make this happen but is you’re aware of what you’ve eaten and know this is an aberrant occurrence, then it’s easier to recognize as out of place.

What Can We Learn From This?

Some of these signs are much easier to cause concern than others. Vigilance is necessary.

 

 

diagnosis

Diagnosis of Kidney Infections

How Is It Done?

A diagnosis confirms whether or not you are suffering from pyelonephritis.

In the diagnosis, the doctor assesses your symptoms and medical history. The doctor also looks at the general health of your body (measuring your temperature and blood pressure) before asking you to carry out the following:

1. Urine Analysis

Checks for the presence of pus, blood, and bacteria in the urine

2. Urine Culture

Determines the type of bacteria present

3. CT Or Ultrasound

Checks for the presence of any blockage in the urinary tract

4. VCUG (Voiding Cystourethrogram)

X-ray to check for the presence of bladder or urethra problems

5. Digital Rectal Exam

For men to check if the prostate is swollen

6. DMSA (Dimercaptosuccinic Acid Scintigraphy)

An imaging type which uses radioactive materials to check for the presence of kidney infections or damages better

What Does This Mean?

Fortunately, there are several ways with which to make an accurate diagnosis.

 

Treatment of Kidney Infections

Treatment of Kidney Infections

How Can They Help?

Early treatment of the kidney infections is necessary in order to prevent further complications. A patient can either be hospitalized or home treated depending on their general state of health and the severity of the kidney infection signs and symptoms.

Home treatment options include:

Antibiotics

Taking prescribed antibiotic medications for example Co-amoxiclav.

Rehydration

Drinking plenty fluids to prevent dehydration and fever but also to flush out bacteria

Pain Relief

Taking painkillers, for example, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen to relieve pain

Treatment options used in the hospital include:

Fluids and antibiotics given through drip and regular urine and blood tests to monitor your progression.

You only require hospitalization if you have:

Severe dehydration
Problems swallowing
Retaining  fluids
Additional blood poisoning symptoms
Poor general health
Kidney stones
Using urinary catheters
Diabetes
Polycystic kidney disease
HIV

If you’re lucky enough to avoid general admission, the treatments from home may not only be more comfortable but are also in a familiar environment.

What’s The Take Home Message Here?

Being in better health may improve the chances of home treatment and avoiding the hospital.

 

 

prevention of kidney infections

Prevention of Kidney Infections

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

It may be impossible to completely prevent these infections but you are less likely to suffer from them if you:

Avoid Douches Or Deodorant Sprays On Your Genitals

These can cause an unwanted infection stemming from particles creating a blockage.

Use Lubricated Condoms

Lubricated condoms have lube that helps to reduce friction thereby preventing irritation of the urethra. However, do not use diaphragms or condoms which have spermicides since they can trigger the growth of bacteria

Stay Hydrated

Drink a lot of water and be sure to consume the daily minimum.

Maintain Bathroom Hygiene

Wipe front to back after visiting the bathroom

Keep Private Areas Clean

Thorough cleanliness of the body’s private parts reduces the chance of infection.

What Does This All Mean?

Maximum hygiene = Reduced risk of infection.

 

 

heart rate - complications

Complications Of Kidney Infections

What Are They?

Complications can arise which can cause serious problems.
These may include:

1. Emphysematous Pyelonephritis(EPN)

This is a rare but potentially fatal complication. (6)

In this condition, kidney tissues are rapidly destroyed and the bacteria release a toxic gas which collects inside the kidney causing nausea, vomiting, pain and confusion.

2. Sepsis/Blood Poisoning

Also rare and life-threatening. The bacteria enter the bloodstream and infect other body parts including major organs.
Its symptoms include hypotension, confusion, and disorientation.

3. Kidney Abscesses

This is the accumulation of pus in small abscesses (pockets) inside the kidney tissues. Symptoms include abdominal pain and weight loss.

The condition sometimes requires surgery to drain the pus out. The key to preventing these complications is early diagnosis and treatment.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Make sure to see a doctor at the first sign of any of the above-mentioned symptoms

 

 

conclusion

The 11 Signs Of A Kidney Infection

Conclusion

Any issues with the body’s kidneys can be concerning and infection is no different.

Knowing that an infection could lead to a number of health issues, complications, and possibly a fatality, it’s worth investing the time to learn the signs in order to prevent a very real problem.

Good hygiene counts for a lot and as discussed in the prevention of kidney stones, adequate hydration is important for good general health as well.

 

We hope you found the information in this article “The 11 Signs Of A Kidney Infection” to be interesting, informative and thorough. If you have any comments, please leave them below.
Please remember that the information on the page and the website Healthy Preview is not offered for the purposes of diagnosing, treating or curing any illnesses and is informational only.

If your suspect a health issue, please contact the appropriate medical professional.

About the author

S James

2 comments
kittypillar - October 19, 2017

Having lost someone to kidney (renal) failure, it’s so important to be aware of the potential dangers. Hygiene is very necessary and can help as well as lots of fli=uid. i guess like any illness getting to a doctor earlier is best. very informative artice, thank you.

Reply
Bullant - November 29, 2017

I had a couple of signs of a kidney infection and went to the doctor and it was kidney stones. You never forget that day.

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