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Kidney Infections by Mandi Magruder

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A kidney infection, or Pyelonephritis, is an infection that travels up into the kidney(s) and can be caused by bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, which travel up through the ureters, or objects obstructed in the kidneys, ureters, or bladder. A urinary tract infection that goes untreated could also result in an infection of the kidney.

The signs and symptoms of a kidney infection include, but are not limited to fever, chills, clamminess, the area around the kidneys are painful or tender to the touch, and abdominal pain or soreness. There is sometimes a feeling of nausea or just feeling sick. The urine could also appear to be cloudy or foul-smelling. Blood could also be present in urine as well.

A few risk factors include the female anatomy in general due to the fact that a woman’s urethra is much shorter than a man’s, which equates to a shorter distance traveled by the bacteria. A weakened immune system could also create kidney infections due to the conditions that impair the immune system, which makes filtration by the kidneys less effective. Using a catheter for a long period of time may also cause a kidney infection from bacteria escaping the bladder and urethra and heading up through the ureters to the kidney. The last way or condition that could cause a kidney infection is a condition known as vesicoureteral reflux, or simply put, urine that flows from the bladder back up through the ureters into the kidneys again.

To aid in the prevention of kidney infections, we should keep ourselves hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and, more importantly, water. Avoid substances that dehydrate the body like alcohol, and caffeine. We should urinate frequently, or urinate when we have the urge to pee, not wait. And because women tend to get urinary tract infections more than men, women should urinate after sexual relations. It is also important that women wipe very carefully, in front-to-back motion.

Antibiotic prescriptions are usually given for less severe infections. A hospital stay and/or surgical procedures are required for the more severe kidney infections. Antibiotics administered intravenously are the most effective way to have the medicine reach the kidneys. These are the most common ways to treat a kidney infection.

Although, if not caught in time, there could be some serious complications from kidney infections such as permanent kidney damage…that could ultimately lead to kidney failure. Septicemia is another complication resulting in the non-filtration of the blood which circulates bacteria and wastes back in blood circulation.

If a person thinks that they might have a kidney infection or even a urinary tract infection, they should immediately seek medical help to eliminate the infection. If medical help is sought out early on, the recovery time will be much shorter than a more severe infection. If a person waits to get medical help, the bacteria will spread and spread causing symptoms to grow worse and worse, until that person will have to undergo surgical procedures or hospital stays to clear up the infection. Get medical help if you think you may have any type of infection of the kidneys, or bladder!



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Kidney Infection (August 9, 2011). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kidney-infection/DS00593

Kidney Infections: Symptoms and Treatments (Reviewed May 12, 2012). Retrieved              from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/kidney-infections-symptoms-and-treatments


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