How Is A Kidney Infection Diagnosis Confirmed
If youre feeling signs of a kidney infection, you should seek medical attention as soon as you can, if possible. A kidney infection can be serious because it can sometimes lead to a dangerous, life-threatening health condition called .
Even if your infection doesnt progress to that, a kidney infection can become chronic, i.e., long-lasting, and can cause permanent damage to your kidneys. Dr. Kaufman recommends heading to your local urgent care facility or emergency room if you have signs of a kidney infection.
For your doctor, diagnosing a kidney infection is pretty straightforward. They should start with lab tests like a urinalysis, which just involves peeing in a cup on your end. After you hand over your sample, the urine is examined under a microscope to check for the presence of bacteria and infection-fighting white blood cells. To see what kind of bacteria youre dealing with, the urine should also be cultured over the course of one to three days, according to the NIDDK. In some cases, your doc might also order imaging tests like a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound to take a closer look at your kidneys.
Theres Blood In Your Urine
Pink, red or cola-coloured urine can seem scary, but its usually not a sign of anything life-threatening. Its often present when you are suffering from a UTI, but there are other reasons it can happen, ranging from something as simple as having just eaten beets to kidney stones and certain cancers. Bottom line: It should be checked out.
Complications Of A Kidney Infection
If it isnt treated promptly, a kidney infection can lead to a number of potentially serious complications.
Youre more likely to develop a complication from a kidney infection if you have:
- Prior kidney disease
- A history of kidney infections
- A structural abnormality in your urinary tract
The following complications can result from a kidney infection:
High Blood Pressure Your blood pressure can rise to unhealthy levels as your immune system tries to fight your infection.
Kidney Failure If its serious enough, an infection can stop your kidneys from effectively removing waste products from your blood.
Scarring If you develop scars in your kidneys from an infection, your kidneys may not be able to function properly, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease.
Blood Infection One of the main jobs of your kidneys is to filter waste products out of your blood. A kidney infection can spread to your entire bloodstream in this process.
A bloodstream infection can, in turn, lead to sepsis, which is a severe inflammatory reaction to bacteria. Sepsis can be life-threatening.
Renal or Perinephric Abscess If the infection in your kidney is not treated promptly, the bacteria may create an abscess, or pocket of pus, inside or next to your kidney.
Pregnancy Complications A kidney infection during pregnancy raises the risk of low birth weight in your baby.
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Are There Any Complications From A Kidney Infection
Most people who develop a kidney infection make a full recovery if treatment is given promptly. Possible complications which occur in a small number of cases include:
- Sometimes germs from a kidney infection get into the bloodstream, particularly if treatment is delayed. This may cause blood poisoning . This can be serious or even life-threatening.
- In pregnant women who develop pyelonephritis occasionally, it may result in the baby being born early or with a lower birth weight.
- A kidney abscess can develop. This is a collection of pus that forms within the kidney.
- The infection can sometimes cause some permanent damage to kidney tissues.
These complications are uncommon but may be more likely if:
- You become severely ill with the kidney infection.
- You have kidney stones.
- Your immune system is suppressed – for example, if you have cancer, if you are taking medication such as steroids or chemotherapy, or if you have AIDS.
- You have poorly controlled diabetes.
- You are an older person .
- You are pregnant.
Emphysematous pyelonephritis is also a rare complication. In this condition the kidney tissues are rapidly destroyed by the infection and the bacteria can release toxic gases which can build up in the kidneys. You become very unwell if you develop this complication. This complication seems mostly to affect people who have poorly controlled diabetes.
Patient Groups With Asb Who Should Be Routinely Be Treated
Current guidelines recommend ASB screening and treatment in pregnant women and patients undergoing selected urologic procedures., A recent meta-analysis comparing antibiotics versus no treatment for pregnant women with ASB found that the treatment substantially reduced the risk of pyelonephritis. The relationship between ASB, low birth weight and preterm delivery is less well established. In a Cochrane review, antibiotic treatment was associated with a reduction in the incidence of low birth weight but not with preterm delivery. However, poor methodological quality of studies included limits the strength of conclusions from this meta-analysis. Moreover, the definition of prematurity has changed since the 1960s, when the majority of these studies were conducted. Three more recent observational studies reported an increased risk of preterm birth with ASB in pregnancy.- An ongoing Dutch trial is evaluating whether nitrofurantoin treatment of low-risk, pregnant women with ASB is effective in reducing the risk of preterm delivery and/or pyelonephritis and adverse neonatal outcome.
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When Should I Go To The Doctor
A kidney infection can develop quite quickly over a few hours or days, so dont wait to see the doctor. Any of the above symptoms of a UTI or kidney infection should trigger a visit to your doctor for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.
A doctor will analyze a sample of your urine. If you test positive for a kidney infection, youll be prescribed oral antibiotics and, in some cases, a medication that helps relieve pain with urination. If treated promptly, a kidney infection shouldnt cause serious harm.
If you experience a fever over 101°F, pain, are unable to drink or take oral medication along with some of the other symptoms, get to the nearest urgent care or ER. For more serious infections, your doctor may keep you in the hospital for observation with IV antibiotics followed by outpatient oral antibiotics.
After completing the full course of prescribed antibiotics, you should feel better. If you dont, talk to your doctor, as you may need another course of antibiotics.
How Do I Know If The Treatment Isnt Working
If the treatment isnt working, your symptoms will stay the same, get worse, or you will develop new symptoms. Call your doctor if you have a fever , chills, lower stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. You should also call your doctor if, after taking medicine for 3 days, you still have a burning feeling when you urinate. If you are pregnant, you should also call your doctor if you have any contractions.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Infections
The symptoms of kidney infections depend on age, but in general, it starts with symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection, such as discomfort when urinating and frequent urination. Then, once the infection reaches the kidneys, there will be more serious symptoms, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Painful and frequent urination: The infection can cause irritation and swelling in the urinary tract which makes urination painful and makes you think you need to urinate more.
- Blood in urine: Red blood cells in your urine might only be seen when checked under a microscope, but in some cases, the urine is visibly pink, red, or brown. This means that the filters in the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract are allowing blood to leak into the urine.
Young children under two may only have a high fever without any other symptoms. People above the age of 65 may not have typical symptoms but may seem confused, have muddled speech, or hallucinate.
If left untreated, kidney infections can result in serious complications. Kidney failure can result from the infection. A kidney infection can also cause , an adverse reaction to infection in your bloodstream, which can lead to organ failure and death.
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Can A Bladder Infection Turn Into A Kidney Infection
They can also happen if people try to cure their bladder infections with home remedies, like drinking cranberry juice. Cranberry juice is not a treatment for a urinary tract infection, Dr. Kaufman says. In either case, not treating a bladder infection quickly enough gives it a chance to turn into a kidney infection.
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How Long Does A Uti Last
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If you have a UTI, its best to get it treated right away before any complications develop . Its possible for a UTI to get better on its own, but most of the time, it wont. While home remedies can help ease some of the discomfort, a doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic that is a much quicker and more effective treatment. An antibiotic will start working immediately and, depending on how complicated your UTI is, may clear it up in a matter of days. Be sure to always take your medication how your doctor prescribes.
Kidney Infection Versus Uti: Whats The Difference
Kidney infections are a type of UTI, but its often more aggressive because the bladder infection has spread further up the urinary tract. So, if you hold off on seeking treatment, things can maybe start to get dicey. This is a serious organ infection and people need to take care of it, David Kaufman, MD, a urologist at New Yorks Central Park Urology, tells SELF. Bladder infections are uncomfortable, but kidney infections can be deadly.
As for how long it takes for a bladder infection to turn into a kidney infection? Theres no one-size-fits-all answer, but once infection-causing bacteria make their way from the bladder up into the kidneys, a persons symptoms can start to intensify very suddenly.
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Urinary Tract Infections In Men
Men can get UTIs, particularly if they have trouble with urine flow. Older men who experience prostatitis are at a higher risk. If the bladder is not emptying properly, the build up ofurine makes it more difficult to cure the infection.
A small number of young men may get a UTI. In males, this is usually the result of a sexually transmitted disease.
When Should I Call The Doctor
As soon as you think that your child has a UTI, call your doctor. The doctor may recommend another urine test after treatment to be sure that the infection has cleared.
If your child has from recurrent UTIs, consult a pediatric urologist, who can do a thorough evaluation and order tests for urinary system abnormalities. In the meantime, follow your doctor’s instructions for treating a UTI.
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When Symptoms Become More Severe
If symptoms gradually worsen, this may be a sign of a kidney infection. Along with the traditional UTI symptoms of frequent and painful urination, these additional symptoms will occur.
- Fever and Chills
- Pain In the Lower Back
- You will experience mild to severe pain on one of both sides of the lower back depending on where the infection has spread.
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Further Investigation If Simple Treatments Dont Help
Depending on your particular symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
- Less common medications for bladder pain
- Cystoscopy and hydrodistension under anaesthesia with diathermy of any ulcers found
- Pelvic Physiotherapy. This is particularly useful where there is spasm or tensing of the muscles around the bladder, making the bladder pain worse. This can happen without you realising the muscles are tight. There is information on the management of pelvic muscle pain on other pages on this site.
- A bladder installation . Soothing medicine is inserted into the inflamed painful bladder through a small catheter inserted through the urethra into the bladder. This can be done in the doctors office or treatment centre. If you find it helpful, you doctor may teach you how to do this at home. A common plan for installation might include installation once a week for 6 weeks, with top-up treatments when your problems return.
- Other treatments depending on your personal situation
Over time, your bladder pain may change and need different treatments. You can expect that there will be times when the pain is easier to manage than others. It may even go away altogether for months or years at a time then come back at a time when you are stressed or run-down. Treatments are always improving and evolving. Even if a particular treatment hasnt worked for you in the past, there may be newer treatments that suit you well.
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Bladder Infection Vs Kidney Infection
The main difference between a bladder infection and a kidney infection is when bacteria have built up and infected the urinary tract system. Although most kidney infections result from untreated bladder infections that migrate to the kidneys, a kidney infection can occur in other ways.
Overall, bladder infections are more common than kidney infections and considered less complicated, especially since kidney infections can lead to serious illness if infections spread through the bloodstream.
A critical difference between bladder infection and kidney infection symptoms is the increased likelihood of illness associated with the infection migrating to the kidneys. The signs and symptoms of a bladder infection that can remain the same even after the infection spreads to the kidneys include:
- A fever remaining under 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pain and pressure in the pelvis
- Painful or burning urination
- Dark and cloudy urine that may appear red from blood
- Bad-smelling urine
- Pain in the abdomen
Additional signs and symptoms that indicate an infection has spread to the kidneys include nausea, vomiting, chills, shaking, a fever exceeding 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and, particularly in the elderly, confusion.
It Turns Out Urine Is Not Sterile
It has become common knowledge that urine is sterile its even become ingrained in first aid advice, like urinating on a wound is better than using non-sterile water. But it turns out its not.
The bladder has its own unique microbiome, and an ideal balance of microbes that your body does its best to maintain.
Studies have found hundreds of different bacteria in healthy bladders. And in patients with UTIs, they have found even more. Thats a lot of different bacteria that were assumed not to exist in the bladder!
Because UTI test techniques have always assumed urine is sterile, they have always been flawed.
This contamination may actually be bacteria from inside the bladder that should be considered as part of the puzzle. Results may also show insignificant levels of growth that are then often dismissed.
Its important to acknowledge here that actual sample contamination is also a real possibility, so minimizing this is also important. Weve discussed this more below.
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Can Trimethoprim Cause Problems
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with trimethoprim. You will find a full list in the manufacturer’s information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Very common trimethoprim side-effects :||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sick or being sick||Stick to simple foods – avoid fatty or spicy meals. If you are not already doing so, try taking trimethoprim after food|
|Common trimethoprim side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. Stick to simple foods|
|Headache||Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, let your doctor know|
|Itchy skin rash||Try applying a gentle, fragrance-free skin moisturiser. If the rash becomes troublesome or severe, speak with your doctor|
Important: if trimethoprim is taken over a long period of time , it can occasionally cause problems. If you develop a high temperature , sore throat, skin rash, mouth ulcers or any bruising or bleeding which you can’t explain, you should let your doctor know about this straightaway. These may be signs of a blood disorder.
How Are Acute Kidney Infections Treated
Children are typically given oral antibiotics to take at home. However, if the infection is advanced, a child may receive intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Staying well hydrated is an extremely important part of treatment, and children should drink plenty of fluids during and after treatment. There is evidence that good hydration during recovery may help reduce long-term kidney damage.
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Utis And Hospital Stays
A hospital stay can put you at risk for a UTI, particularly if you need to use a catheter. This is a thin tube thats inserted through the urethra to carry urine out of the body. Bacteria can enter through the catheter and reach the bladder. This is more often a problem for older adults who require prolonged hospital stays or who live in long-term care facilities.