The kidneys are the organs that conduct the filtration of waste products from the bloodstream, they regulate the levels of an entire range of ionic and compound substances and, depending on the body’s needs at any given time, they save up water or transmitted it via tubes (ureters) leading directly into the bladder. This rejected water is then stored in the bladder until it leaves the body through the urethra as urine.
As the urethra is more exposed to external bacteria than any other part of the urinary tract, this is where a Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis) which is one of a number of urinary tract infections (UTI) usually begins and then travels up to the kidneys. Kidney Infections have also been known to begin in the bladder, but regardless of their origin, they must be treated with antibiotics before permanent damage is done to the kidneys and before the infection spreads into the bloodstream and leads to fatal results.
Kidney Inecftion Risk Factors
Healthy kidneys have properties that discourage the growth of bacteria but certain factors may overpower them:
- Because the female urethra is much shorter than the male and because its opening is closer to the bladder, the anus and the reproductive organs; females have a higher risk of developing a Kidney Infection.
- Urinary obstructions such as those caused by stones in the kidneys, any abnormalities in the urinary tract or enlarged prostates in males lead to the inability to wholly empty the bladder which in turn may lead to a Kidney Infection.
- Any clinical conditions that weaken the immune systems such as cancer, diabetes, HIV or certain drugs increase the risk of a Kidney Infection.
- Bladder infections that are not treated due to unawareness or neglect often move up into the kidneys.
- Extended use of a urinary catheter (a tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to drain it of urine) may cultivate bacteria that ends up in the kidney and leads to its infection.
- Vesicoureteral reflux is an abnormal condition that causes some urine to flow back up from the bladder into the ureters and the kidneys, and cause frequent and recurring Kidney Infections.
Possible Kidney Infection Symptoms
The following symptoms may occur one at a time or in clusters:
- Frequent, recurring and strong urges to urinate.
- Painful and burning sensations while urinating.
- The need to recurrently urinate at night (a.k.a. nocturia).
- Difficulty or inability to release urine (a.k.a. urine retention).
- Murky or cloudy urine with an abnormally pungent odor.
- Pain, cramping or pressure in the abdominal area.
- Pain in the middle and lower back, in one or flanks or in the groin area.
- The appearance of pus or blood or both in the urine (a.k.a. hematuria).
- The presence of abnormally high body temperature, fever.
When the Kidney Infections reach higher levels of severity, the following added symptoms may occur:
- Sweating during the night.
- Body temperatures may surpass 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.89 degrees Centigrade).
- Shivering and shaking chills.
- Extreme weakness and fatigue.
- Nausea or vomiting or alternately both.
- Mental confusion.
The symptoms among young children and infants are usually as follows:
- Very loose bowel movements or diarrhea.
- Loss of appetite.
- Renewed episodes of bed-wetting among children who have already been toilet trained.
- Irritability, moodiness and bad temper.
In the very elderly, mental changes such as confusion and disorientation often are the only apparent symptoms of Kidney Infections.
Preventive Techniques For Kidney Infection
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Urinating when the urge comes on and avoiding holding back.
- Drinking a full glass of water after intercourse and emptying the bladder as soon as possible.
- Practicing effective personal hygiene, especially for woman.