How To Prevent And Treat A Kidney Infection

December 19, 2023

Kidney infection is a term used to describe when a pathogen travels from an individual's bladder through their ureters and into their kidneys, producing an infection. Kidney infections may also be caused by the spread of an infection that initially manifests in an artificial joint, from surgery on the kidney or bladder, or due to an obstruction in the flow of urine. Kidney infections may also be referred to as pyelonephritis. Symptoms of a kidney infection include abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, chills, cloudy urine, nausea, back pain, urinary urgency, pus in the urine, groin pain, pain while urinating, side pain, blood in the urine, and burning pain while urinating. Diagnosis is made with the use of a urinalysis, CT scan, MRI, ultrasounds, urine culture, and physical examination.

There are several ways a kidney infection can be prevented and treated. Get familiar with these methods now.

Drink Plenty Of Fluids

The most common cause of a kidney infection is the movement of bacteria through the ureters to the kidneys that had originated from a bladder infection. Bladder infections develop when bacteria enter the urethra and then make their way to the bladder. Once the bacteria is in the bladder, it attaches to the walls of the bladder and begins to colonize. If the individual's immune system is unable to eliminate the bacteria quickly, a bladder infection develops. An individual who drinks plenty of fluids will have to urinate more frequently than someone who does not. The mechanical action of urinating allows for bacteria attempting to reach the bladder through the urethra to be washed away by the urine flow. Drinking plenty of fluids can help an individual decrease their chances of developing a bladder infection because urine is not stagnating in the organ. Fewer bladder infections help decrease an individual's chance of developing a kidney infection.

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Don't Delay Urination

An individual can help prevent developing a kidney infection if they avoid delaying urination when they feel the urge to urinate. The capacity of a healthy adult bladder is around two cups of liquid. For a healthy individual, holding their urine in once in a while will not usually cause harm. When an individual feels the urge to urinate, it is not as simple as a bladder full of urine. The mechanism that triggers this sensation is a complex operation involving the participation of numerous nerves, organs, and muscles. The nerves in the bladder tell the individual's brain it is time to urinate when their bladder is half full. The brain sends transmissions back to the bladder that tells it to hold the urine until the individual is ready to urinate. Holding the urine in the bladder alone does not cause an individual to develop a bladder or kidney infection. However, urine that stagnates in the bladder can provide a sufficient environment for bacteria to grow, multiply, and thrive. When bacteria multiply in the stagnated urine, they cause a bladder infection that can spread to the kidneys.

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Course Of Antibiotics

An individual affected by a kidney infection may need to take a course of antibiotics to treat their infection and prevent further complications. Most physicians prescribe a course of antibiotics or give an initial injection of antibiotic medication for treatment until the results of a urinalysis return from the laboratory. A urinalysis is a test performed on an individual's urine that can help a physician determine which strain is causing their kidney infection to ensure they are taking the proper antibiotic to eliminate it. If the results return and indicate the patient has started on antibiotics that will not be effective at eliminating the type of bacteria causing their infection, the physician will have them stop the antibiotics they are on and begin taking the correct one. Depending on a patient's personal medical history, they will take the antibiotics for between five and ten days at a specified dose. Patients affected by more severe kidney infections that have produced complications may need to be treated in a hospitalized setting with intravenous antibiotics.

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Intravenous Fluids

An individual affected by a particularly severe infection in their kidneys may need to be hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids as part of their treatment plan. They may become ill to the point where they are unable to drink fluids. An individual who has become toxic may be unable to tolerate oral fluids if they have become dehydrated. Current guidelines for the intravenous fluid treatment indicate the fluids given intravenously to patients who have severe kidney infections should be comprised of one liter of five percent dextrose dissolved in saline. This intravenous mixture helps ensure any existing ketosis that has developed as a result of the kidney infection is mediated. This mixture is recommended for all patients affected by a severe kidney infection regardless of ketone detection in their urine sample. Any additional intravenous hydration should be given as normal saline. The doctor should closely monitor the patient for complications that could occur from any imbalances in salt, fluids, and glucose in the body.

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Pain Medication

An individual affected by a kidney infection may need to take pain medication as part of their treatment plan. Kidney infections can cause disabling flank pain and urinary pain, which often disrupts a patient's daily tasks and activities. They may have to miss school or work due to the amount of pain they are experiencing from the infection. This is a common symptom that develops in patients affected by kidney infections and can be mediated with the use of several types of pain medication. One of the most prevalent medications to be used in the treatment of bladder and kidney infections is referred to as phenazopyridine. Phenazopyridine is a pain-relieving medication that performs its action on the lower part of the urinary tract to reduce the increased urge to urinate, urgency, pain when urinating, and burning. Flank pain can be treated with the use of narcotic pain medications when the patient is hospitalized as a result of their kidney infection.

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