Kidney Infection

Kidney Infection

Kidneys play a very important role in the functioning of the human body. Though relatively small organs (about the size of your fist), kidneys filter waste from the bloodstream, balance electrolytes and help regulate blood pressure.

However, if bacteria enter the urinary tract, it can cause a kidney infection called pyelonephritis, a severe condition affecting one or both kidneys. These infections can be very painful and, when left untreated, can lead to serious health problems such as permanent kidney damage and life-threatening complications.

That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of a kidney infection and seek medical care as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Kidney Infection

A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). Symptoms can include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Burning pain while urinating
  • Feeling like your bladder is still full even after urinating
  • Fever with chills
  • Having the urge to urinate, but once you do, only a small amount comes out
  • Nausea
  • No appetite
  • Pain, pressure, or discomfort around the abdomen, lower back, or groin area
  • Urinating more than usual
  • Vomiting

Cause of Kidney Infection

There are several ways to contract a kidney infection. The most common is when bacteria enter the urinary tract, they can multiply as they travel toward the kidneys.

However, if there is an existing infection elsewhere in the body, that bacteria can also affect the kidneys.

While anyone can be at risk for this type of infection, some individuals are more prone to kidney infections, such as:

  • People who have a urinary tract blockage
  • People who have weak immune systems
  • People with nerve damage around the bladder
  • Women, due to having shorter urethras than men

Diagnosing Kidney Infections

Before a kidney infection exam, diagnosis and treatment, a doctor will ask about your medical history to identify potential risk factors.

Diagnostic tests, specifically a urine culture, are then conducted if kidney infections are suspected. Additional tests can include:

  • Basic metabolic panel
  • Complete blood count
  • Pregnancy tests for women

Treatment for Kidney Infections

The treatment for kidney infections is based on the patient’s diagnosis. Though the immune system can fight off mild kidney infections, generally, treatment involves a series of antibiotics.

How to Prevent Kidney Infections

Simple changes to your routine can help prevent kidney infections from forming, including:

  • After urinating or bowel movements, wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from getting to the urethra.
  • Avoid personal care products that can irritate the urethra, such as scented toilet paper, spermicide and deodorant sprays or powders.
  • Drink more water to help remove bacteria.
  • Try to urinate after sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate as soon as you feel the urge.

When to Visit ShorePoint Health Emergency & Urgent Care-Cape Coral for Treatment of Kidney Infections

As one of the only health systems in Cape Coral with ER and urgent care services under one roof, ShorePoint Health Emergency & Urgent Care offers affordable pricing, quality care, and trained staff. Patients are only billed based on the level of care received, and no appointments are needed for in-person visits. The ER is available 24 hours a day, and the urgent care walk-in clinic hours of operation are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

ShorePoint Health Emergency & Urgent Care-Cape Coral, a department of ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte, is located at 2521 Del Prado Blvd. N. in Cape Coral and may be reached at 239-356-0740.