Kidney Infection Treatment in Opelika, AL
What Is a Kidney Infection?
A kidney infection, also referred to as pyelonephritis, is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). It is caused by bacteria or a virus that initially infects the urethra or bladder and then spreads to one or both of your kidneys.
While easily treated when diagnosed early, a kidney infection can cause serious damage and lead to a deadly systemic infection if left untreated. If you believe you are experiencing a UTI, schedule an appointment with a healthcare practitioner in Opelika who specializes in kidney infection treatment. Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Kidney Infection Causes
Kidney disease causes are rooted in infection. The urinary tract is designed to flush out bacteria, preventing pathogens from affecting the bladder and kidneys. However, there are occasions where your body is unable to fend off foreign invaders, allowing bacteria to enter through the urethra, into the bladder, and eventually up the urinary tract into the kidneys.
Women are more vulnerable to kidney infections because their urethra is shorter than it is in men, allowing bacteria to move through your system more quickly. Your risk of developing a kidney infection also increases under the following circumstances:
- Having a urinary catheter
- Urinary tract blockage
- Vesicoureteral reflux
- Weakened immune system
- Enlarged prostate
- Nerve damage in your bladder
- Bladder stones
- Kidney stones
Kidney Infection Symptoms & Diagnosis
Kidney infection symptoms vary; some people may feel no symptoms at all, while others experience discomfort within a few hours or a day of developing the infection. The most common symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination (dysuria)
- Bloody, cloudy, or unpleasant-smelling urine
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal, back, side, or groin pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weakness or fatigue
If you experience any of the above symptoms, your healthcare practitioner will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. To make a kidney infection diagnosis, a urinalysis—in which a urine sample is obtained and tested for bacteria and white blood cells—will be necessary. A urine culture can help to pinpoint the bacteria driving an infection to help determine the best course of treatment.
Additional tests may include:
- Computed tomography (CT scan) to help detect problems in the urinary tract or kidneys
- Ultrasound to check for kidney stones or other things blocking the urinary tract
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) to check for an enlarged prostate blocking the bladder in men
- Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) to check the size and function of the bladder and identify abnormalities in the urinary tract contributing to chronic kidney infections
Your treatment will focus on the underlying condition causing the infection. Since a kidney infection most commonly involves bacteria, antibiotics are typically prescribed. If your kidney infection is severe, hospitalization may be required to administer IV fluids or antibiotics. If a structural abnormality—such as a kidney stone, enlarged prostate, or birth defect—is found which blocks the urinary tract, surgery may be necessary.
Your healthcare provider may make additional recommendations for your treatment which can help to alleviate your discomfort, including:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking fluids to flush out bacteria
- Using a heating pad on your belly, back, or side
- Using pain medications with acetaminophen; avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
Once an infection has cleared, your healthcare provider is likely to suggest steps to prevent future bladder and kidney infections. Although you cannot completely prevent a bladder infection, you can reduce its likelihood of occurring by:
- Wiping front to back after urinating to prevent bacteria from entering the urethra
- Using lubricated condoms to prevent urethra irritation
- Avoiding condoms or diaphragms with spermicide, as it can trigger bacteria growth
- Going to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge and after having sex
If you believe you have a kidney infection, it is essential that you seek the guidance of an experienced healthcare provider. To request more information about pyelonephritis treatment options, call (334) 781-7319 or contact Dr. Ryan McWhorter online.
Alabama Functional Medicine
Address7040 Sydney Curve
Montgomery, AL 36117
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