What is a Kidney Infection?
A kidney infection is also known as pyelonephritis. It is a UTI (urinary tract infection). It occurs due to bacteria or viruses, most commonly E. coli.
UTIs include cystitis and pyelonephritis. Pyelonephritis is an upper urinary tract infection, specifically of the renal parenchyma and renal pelvis region.
Pyelonephritis gets complicated in a patient with some structural or functional abnormality of the genitourinary tract. There it leads to an increase in the failure of kidney infection treatment.
Our urine excretory system is composed of:
We all know that the main job of our kidneys is to remove waste and extra water from our blood. It makes urine and removes it from your body.
Kidney infection is not restricted to infection by microorganisms in the kidney only. But when the infection travels up your ureters, one can get a kidney infection too. Most often, it has been observed that your bladder catches infection first. UTI infection gives pain but can be treated easily. A kidney infection can cause life-threatening problems if we leave the condition untreated.
Symptoms of Kidney Infection
Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- Blood or pus in the urine
- Fever or chills
- Loss of appetite,
- Pain in the lower back region, sides, or groin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness or fatigue
You may also show the following symptoms of a bladder infection:
- Burning sensation or pain during urination
- Micturition or Cloudy or a constant urge to pee
- Foul-smelling urine
- Pain in your lower abdomen
- Change in urine quantity and frequency
Kidney Infection Causes
Kidney infections mostly start as bladder infection and spread to the kidneys. Bacteria, namely E. coli, are found as the most common causative organism. Other bacteria or viruses can also cause these kidney infections. Any infection, if carried in the blood, can also travel to your kidneys. One can get an infection after kidney surgery too.
Kidney Infection Risk Factors
Anyone can have a kidney infection. But it has been seen that women are more susceptible to bladder and kidney infections than men. This occurs due to the reason that a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, and it’s closer to their vagina and anus. It appears as if it is easier for the microorganism to travel to a woman’s urethra. It then gets transferred to the kidneys.
Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from bladder infections. It occurs because hormonal changes and pressure on the mother’s bladder and ureters slow down the urine flow.
In short, we can say that any problem that creates any condition that holds the urine in for a longer duration of time can raise the chances of kidney infections, such as:
- Blockage in the urinary tract due to kidney stones or prostate enlargement
- Conditions that keep your bladder from complete emptying
- A problem like pinched urethra, where the structure of the urinary tract causes Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) i.e., reverse flow of urine towards kidneys
The chance of kidney infection also increases in the following cases:
- Neural damage to your bladder
- Prostate infection/prostatitis
- Any bedridden condition where a urinary catheter, is used to remove urine
- Immuno-compromised conditions
Kidney Infection Diagnosis
Your symptoms are majorly used as an identification criteria but it is only confirmed with the tests including:
- Urine analysis to check the presence of blood, pus, or bacteria in your urine
- Urine culture to find the type of bacteria.
- Blood test to check for the presence of infection in the blood
In certain conditions, your doctor may also use these tests along with blood or urine tests:
- Ultrasound or CT.
- Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG).
- Digital rectal exam (for men).
- Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) scintigraphy.
Kidney Infection Complications
It has been observed in many cases that when the problem of kidney infection is not treated on time, it may lead to cause serious issues like:
- Kidney damage: It can occur when pus might collect and create an abscess in the kidney tissues. The causative microorganism may spread to other parts of the body. Kidneys can also become scarred, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure and cause chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.
- Blood poisoning or septicemia: Septicemia is the clinical name for blood poisoning. This condition is considered under medical emergency and needs treatment right away.
- Severe infection is like emphysematous pyelonephritis (EPN), which may destroy kidney tissue and build up toxic gas. It is usually seen in diabetes patients.
- Problems in pregnancy. Women with kidney infections are more likely to deliver low birth weight babies. These babies have the probability of carrying kidney complications.
Kidney Infection Treatment
Kidney infections are treated by identifying the causative microorganism. The treatment includes the antibiotics course depending upon the severity of the infection. These antibiotics should help you start recovering from your symptoms within a few days.
If one carries a severe infection, one might need hospital support and get intravenous antibiotics (IV). In cases with structural defects of the urinary tract, one might have recurring kidney infections. These cases often need surgery.
Pyelonephritis is an infection in kidneys as per modern medical science. In case of kidney infection treatment with ayurveda, the problem has been treated as taking to decrease the infection as the first hand approach. Post this the other treatments according to the predominance of doshas are adopted. These treatments can also be done alongside. It depends upon your health status and the decision of your physician.
Virechana and Basti are the best therapies to treat this condition and can be administered as and when needed. Upakarmas (external therapies), medicines and diet inclusions can also be helpful.
Ayurvedic treatment for Kidney Infection includes herbs that help in clearing of the pathogens from kidneys. It also works by enhancing the glomerular filtration rate and alongside boosts the renal function. These drugs also work by enhancing the immune system and improve the defence mechanism of the body.
Home Remedies for Kidney Infections
A few home remedies that can be used to treat kidney infections:
- Use a heating pad on your belly, back, or side to relieve pain.
- Intake of plenty of fluids to flush the germs out.
- Ensure complete emptying of the bladder. Do not forcefully hold the urine in the urinary bladder for a longer time.
- Follow proper hygiene and sanitation instructions.
- Do not take medicines with proper medical guidance, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. can increase the risk of kidney problems.
Disclaimer: Kidney infection is a progressive condition that needs to be controlled in time. We recommend opting for Ayurveda for the genuine revival of the capabilities. If you are already pursuing a treatment, we strictly advise you not to make any changes in your schedule or diet without consulting your doctor or dietitian. For appointments, call at our 24×7 helpline: +91-9871712050 or visit www.karmaayurvedahospital.com