Kidney infections (pyelonephritis) are bacterial infections that can either be acute or chronic. Acute kidney infection is classified as one of the most common renal diseases. It is characterized by sudden inflammation caused by bacteria, affecting the intestinal or renal area. Chronic kidney infections are caused by ongoing kidney inflammation, which can lead to scarring in the kidney and renal failure. Symptoms of kidney infection include fever, pain, and chills.
The most common cause of getting a kidney infection is from bacteria from outside the body that has travelled up the urinary tract, into the bladder, and to the kidneys, causing infection. This can be an explanation for why women are reported to have kidney infections four times more than men. In women, the urethras are in close proximity to the anus, where bacteria can be found.
Kidney infections may start with urinary tract infections. Symptoms of this can include pain, frequent, and urgent urination. When the infection spreads to the kidney, more severe symptoms occur. Symptoms of kidney infections can include: back pain, fever accompanied with the chills, nausea and vomiting. The elderly may also experience confusion.
Early symptoms usual include shaking chills and a high fever. Additionally, there maybe pain in the joints and muscle. Many individuals note pain in the flank. These early symptoms may be mistaken for a cold or flu.
Those with an acute kidney infection will find that their symptoms develop quickly. It usually starts off with a fever, then cloudy urine, and then tenderness in the flank. When the kidney progressively becomes more inflamed, a headache, pain, loss of appetite are symptoms that may occur. The pain is continuous and ongoing, which helps people differentiate it from kidney stones or renal colic pain that comes in waves. Pain associated with kidney infections stay in one spot and can worsen with movement.
Those with a chronic kidney infection might not have any symptoms at all. In other cases, they are so mild that they are ignored or mistaken for something else. This is a problem, because it increases the risk of the infection slowly progressing. This can go on for several years until there is enough damage to result in kidney failure. The first symptoms or sign of kidney infection may actually be of anemia, high blood pressure, or other renal issues. It is unfortunate that at this state, the damage is usually permanent.
It is also important to focus on changes in the urine. Kidney infections may cause blood in the urine (known as hematuria), painful urination, cloudy urine, foul smelling urine, or increase frequency of urination.
In uncommon cases, the kidney infection can lead to a pocket of infection, known as abscess. These pockets of infection are hard to treat by antibiotics and usually require to be drained using a tube.
Typically, kidney infections require antibiotics for a minimum of a week as part of its treatment and home treatments are usually not effective alone. Kidney infections don’t usually require hospitalization unless the infection is severe.
The majority of kidney infections are acute. Acute kidney infections are self-limited and sudden. They are cured by antibiotics and usually do not leave any damage to the kidneys. People who have the infection once generally do not have it again. On the other hand, chronic kidney infections are rare and usually develop during one’s childhood.
If you discover that you are experiencing the above symptoms of kidney infection, it is a good idea to visit your local physician. Only your doctor will be able to properly diagnose you and prescribe you antibiotics if needed.
Medical Conditions & Treatments : Kidney Infection Symptoms & Treatment