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.
A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). Symptoms can include:
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:
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:
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.
Simple changes to your routine can help prevent kidney infections from forming, including:
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 9 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.