Description: Kidney infection, commonly known as pyelonephritis is actually a kind of urinary tract infection(UTI) that starts at the urethra or bladder and travels to the kidneys (one or both). There has to be a proper diagnosis and treatment for kidney infection, without which the kidney can be totally damaged as the bacteria can spread to the bloodstream and finally cause life threatening infection. The treatment needed for kidney infection may need hospitalization as it includes high doses of antibiotics.
Let us discuss some of the serious signs and symptoms of kidney infection :
- Chills followed by fever
- Back, side or groin pain
- Frequent urination
- Abdominal pain
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Nausea and vomiting sensation
- Pus or blood in urine
- Cloudy and bad odour urine
When to meet a doctor – Ensure that you take an appointment with a nephrologist in Bangalore if your symptoms worry you. Also, if you are being treated for a urinary tract infection and your symptoms are not getting better, then it is time to take an appointment with a doctor.
Do note that severe kidney infection can lead to life threatening complications that cannot be reversed. You need to seek immediate medical attention if your kidney infection symptoms are combined with nausea, vomiting and bloody urine.
Causes of Acute Kidney Infection: The bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the tubes carrying urine from the urethra can multiply and travel to the kidneys, thus infecting them. This situation is more prevalent if you have an artificial joint or heart valve that becomes infected.
Common Risk Factors: Certain factors that can increase the risk of a kidney infection could be as follows:
- Female — In females the urethra is shorter than that in males, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel from outside to the bladder. Since the urethra is closer to the vagina or anus, the chances of bacteria entering the body is more. Once an infection in the bladder, it can spread to the kidneys. Pregnant women are at a higher risk of kidney infection.
- Urinary Tract Blockage — When there is a slow flow of urine which in turn reduces the ability to empty your bladder, or kidney stone, any abnormality in the structure of the urinary tract, or enlarged prostate gland in men, there is a high risk of urinary infection.
- Weak Immune System — This includes medical conditions that impair your immune system, like diabetes and HIV are major causes of acute kidney disease. Some medications or drugs used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs have a similar effect.
- Damaged Nerves around the Bladder — Nerve damage or any damage to the spinal cord can block the sensations of a bladder infection, hence one would be unaware of any advancing kidney infection.
- Using a Catheter — Urinary catheters could be used during or after a surgical procedure, or diagnostic tests or you may be using catheters continuously being confined to bed. These catheters could cause acute urinary infections.
- Having a condition when urine flows the wrong way — A condition known as vesicoureteral reflux, a small quantity of urine flows from the bladder, back to the ureter and kidney, thus creating an infection.
Complications: When kidney infections are left untreated, they could lead to potentially serious complications, such as —
- Kidney Scarring – The scarring of the kidney could lead to chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure.
- Septicemia – Since the kidneys are involved in filtering waste from the bloodstream and returning filtered blood back to the rest of the body, an acute infection in the kidneys can cause the bacteria to spread through the bloodstream.
- Complications during Pregnancy – If a kidney infection is developed in a woman during her pregnancy, there is a high risk of delivering babies with low birth rate.
Prevent Acute Kidney Infection
- Drink Fluids – Fluids including water can help remove bacteria from the body during urination.
- Urinate when you feel the need – Do not delay urinating as it can have a bad effect on your kidneys.
- Empty Bladder after Intercourse – After bowel movement, ensure that you wipe from front to back to avoid any infections or spread of bacteria to the urethra.
- Avoid Sprays in the Genital Area – Deodorant sprays should not be used in the genital area, nor should douches as they can be irritating.
Doctors who can treat this condition – A nephrologist in Bangalore can treat acute kidney disease and help you free the symptoms or reduce them considerably.