Pyelonephritis or kidney infection
What is Pyelonephritis or Kidney Infection?
A kidney infection caused by bacteria or viruses is called pyelonephritis. It can affect either one or both the kidneys and is considered as a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). There are 2 types of pyelonephritis.
- Acute Pyelonephritis – It occurs suddenly and is a severe kidney infection that leads to inflammation which could be life-threatening.
- Chronic Pyelonephritis – It is a rare condition. When there is repeated and persistent attack of kidney infection that can be chronic. It is commonly seen in children and people with a urinary problem.
Pyelonephritis symptoms include the following:
- Chill and fever
- Loss of appetite
- Lower back pain or pain the sides or groin
- Fatigue or weakness
- Stomach upset
- Pus or blood in the urine
- Kidney infection stones
Kidney infection in men shows the following symptoms that can be shown by others too:
- Frequent urination
- Burning sensation/ pain while passing urine
- Cloudy or bad-smelling urine
- Lower abdominal pain
- Feeling of a strong urge to urinate immediately after the bladder is emptied.
Who is at Risk?
Certain factors that may predispose you to the risk of kidney infection are underlying medical conditions and age. But the others at risk are:
- Low immunity
- History of UTI
- Kidney infection symptoms in men who are older
- Sexual intercourse
- Spermicide usage
- Use of urinary catheters
- Surgery of the urinary tract
- Vesicoureteral reflux
- Enlarged prostate
People with all the above-mentioned conditions are predisposed to pyelonephritis risk. All these will serve as a reason for kidney infection.
Urine is like any other fluid in our body that is normally sterile. The presence of bacteria such as E. coli are reasons for kidney infection. If E. coli in the urine is an abnormal condition that can lead to urinary tract infection. The urethra is the entry point of these bacteria into the urinary system. It may then move on to kidneys and cause infection to the kidney. This is a more serious condition than urinary tract infections as these bacteria may enter the bloodstream causing infection in the blood which can be fatal. Therefore, a bacterial infection is found to be the main pyelonephritis cause.
How is Pyelonephritis Diagnosed?
The doctor diagnosing pyelonephritis will do a physical examination to check various symptoms. In the next step, the doctor will recommend some blood test for kidney infection apart from urine analysis and urine culture to check the presence of pus and blood in urine and what type of bacteria which will help diagnosing kidney infection. The other tests usually doctor recommends are:
- An ultrasound scan or CT – To detect any blockage in your urinary tract.
- Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) – A kind of X-ray to detect problems with urethra and bladder.
- Digital rectal exam (for men) – To check swollen prostrate.
- Dimercaptosuccinicacid (DMSA) Scintigraphy –To find out kidney damage and infection.
How do doctors treat kidney infections will be completely depending on the above-mentioned test results.
How is Pyelonephritis Treated?
Pyelonephritis treatment will start with a course of best antibiotics for kidney infection. The drug type will depend on the type of bacteria present and usually, in 2-3 days antibiotic course kidney infection treatment will be effective. However, the tablet for kidney infection has to be continued for 10-14 days even if you feel better. Hospital admission is recommended if the antibiotic course is ineffective. This will include intravenous hydration along with antibiotics for 24-48 hours. After discharging from the hospital, you may be recommended to continue the antibiotic course at home. Surgery will be the last option for doctors if there are obstructions or any structural problems in the kidney.
Your kidney infection cure can start with the search for an experienced and well-qualified nephrologist at Cure.fit, one of the leading healthcare providers in India. We are known for multi-specialty doctors on board and multi-city presence. You can book an appointment online, offline, or through a Whatsapp message also. You can be ready with all your medical reports until you hear from us confirming your appointment.
How can Pyelonephritis be Prevented?
By reducing the risk of urinary tract infection, pyelonephritis can be prevented to a large extend. Here are some steps to be followed on how to prevent kidney infection:
- Drink plenty of water that can flush out bacteria from your body through urine.
- Avoid delaying urination when you get the urge to urinate.
- Emptying the bladder soon after intercourse will help to clear the bacteria from the urethra and reduce the risk of kidney infection.
- Avoid using any cosmetics such as deodorant spray in the genitals that can irritate.