You must know how the kidney infection symptoms are humiliating if you have ever had an infection in your urinary tract. Talk of a burning sensation when urinating and the constant urge to urinate all the time. These are just some indicators of a serious underlying medical condition: a kidney infection.
Although kidney infections are not common to healthy people, most start as a UTI. Staci Leisman, an Internist and Nephrologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, says that most people recognize they have a kidney problem when they experience other symptoms apart from frequent urination and burning sensation. She terms it as an ascending infection since it moves upward from the bladder to the kidneys.
What Causes Kidney Infection
Kidney infection is mostly caused by a bacterium called E. coli although it can also be triggered by other bacteria. The bacteria enter through the skin into bloodstream and then travel to your kidney. Though uncommon, the infection can also occur after a kidney surgery.
Anyone can become infected although women are more vulnerable than men. This is mainly because women have a shorter urethra. Expectant women are at a higher risk of bladder and kidney infection due to baby’s pressure on ureter. In other words, anything that prevents urine from flowing can increase your chances of getting a kidney infection. These include:
Urinary tract blockage, such as kidney stones.
Conditions that prevents the bladder from emptying completely.
Weakened immune system.
Structural issues in the urinary tract, such as a pinched urethra.
Vesicoureteral reflux. This is a condition where urine flows backward from the urethra to the kidneys.
Is Kidney infection Treatable?
A kidney infection is easily treatable through oral antibiotics and normally takes a week to recover completely. However, in rare cases, it can advance to septic shock. This can be deadly. In worst scenarios, high blood pressure or kidney failure can occur.
If you experience any uncomfortable symptoms of a UTI, contact your ob-gyn as soon as possible. You may be at a risk of developing a kidney infection if you notice any of the following symptoms.
Burning pain when urinating
This is a condition that medical experts refer to as dysuria. It is common in women with health problems like vaginal infections or yeast infections. Leisman notes that the burning sensation experienced when you visit the restroom can be triggered by an inflammation of the lining of the urethra.
Apart from visiting the washroom more than 20 times in a day, you will notice that only a small amount comes out. Leisman says the bladder is well-designed to hold more urine. However, an irritation due to an infection can make you think it is full all the time.
An urgent need to urinate
This happens when you feel like you have to empty your bladder right away. That irritation in your bladder that creates the need to pee all the time is the one that makes you feel like finding a restroom immediately.
Cloudy or smelly urine
Unlike other vaginal problems, kidney infections don’t come with a discharge. This means you can rule out a kidney infection as a cause if you notice some discharge. However, cloudy or stinky urine can indicate you have a bacterial infection in your kidneys or bladder.
The kidneys are located against the back muscles in the upper part of the abdomen. Pain in your abdomen, groin, or at the back can signal a kidney infection.
Fever and chills
People with kidney infections normally experience high fevers with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Some also experience night sweats, chills, and other symptoms due to systemic infection.
Pus in urine
Your doctor will use a dipstick urine test to find out if there is pus. Its presence is an indication that your urethra is inflamed and could be shedding some blood. You may also notice some blood when you visit the bathroom. But for pus, it may actually be a sign of a major kidney infection.
Nausea and vomiting
Just like the way a kidney infection triggers systemic symptoms like chills and fever, it can cause nausea and vomiting. Some patients with this infection may lose appetite.