A kidney infection, which is also referred to as pyelonephritis, is an issue that can be incredibly painful. This issue is caused by bacteria that travels from the bladder into either one or both of the kidneys. This is a great deal more serious than cystitis, which is a more common bladder infection that can make it painful to urinate. As long as a kidney infection is treated properly, it won’t cause any harm; however, it can still make you feel sick. On the other hand, if they infection isn’t treated, it can cause things to get worse and can lead to permanent kidney damage.
Many of the symptoms of this issue can make themselves known within the span of just a few hours, causing you to shiver, feel feverish, and have pain in both your back and side.
When Should You See Your Doctor?
In the event that you develop a fever or upset stomach, genital pain, or a change in your normal urination pattern, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Many kidney infections require antibiotics in order to properly treat them and prevent the kidneys from getting damaged and stopping the infection from spreading to the bloodstream. Additionally, you may also need to take some form of painkillers as well.
If you are someone who is especially vulnerable to the effects that come with an infection, chances are you may be admitted to the hospital and treated with an IV drip. This may especially be the case if you are pregnant or have a pre-existing condition.
Once you begin taking antibiotics, you should start feeling well again within approximately two weeks. On the other hand, there are some rare cases in which kidney infections can cause further issues, including the following:
What Can Cause a Kidney Infection?
Typically, a kidney infection is caused whenever bacteria, such as E. coli, enters the urethra and goes up the bladder into the kidneys.
Who is More at Risk?
Generally, kidney infections are relatively rare in nature. In fact, approximately one in every 830 people throughout the country can develop this kind of an issue. While they can occur at any age, they appear to be much more common in women, who are around six times more likely to develop a kidney infection than men. This is due to the fact that the urethra of a woman is shorter, which makes it easier for bacteria to get to the kidneys.
Younger women appear to be more at risk for kidney infections due to the fact that they are more sexually active. As a result, frequent sexual activity can end up in them contracting this type of an infection.
Younger children can also develop this kind of an issue due to the likelihood of being born with an abnormal urinary tract, as well as a condition known as vesico-ureteric reflux, which can cause a backflow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys.
Can a Kidney Infection Be Prevented?
The best way to prevent a kidney infection is to do your best to keep both your urethra and bladder free from any and all bacteria. This can be achieved by drinking plenty of fluids, treating any cases of constipation, and always keeping your genital area clean.