Symptoms of Kidney Infection

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Dr Cocja

Symptoms of Kidney Infection

Do you have symptoms of kidney infectionThe Symptoms of Kidney Infection are subtle because the primary function of the kidneys is to remove waste matter and toxins from the body. The blood circulates through the kidney and it is through the filtering action of the kidneys that the blood is cleansed of waste products and toxins. The kidneys can, however, become infected and this can compromise kidney function.
We are all at risk of developing a kidney infection from time to time. There are however some groups of persons who are at higher risk including children, persons who have to use indwelling catheters and pregnant women.

Symptoms of kidney infection?
•    Poor hygiene
•    Sexual intercourse
•    Pregnancy
•    Catheters
•    Kidney stones
A kidney infection generally starts at the opening to the bladder called the urethra. The bacteria then travels up into the bladder and then into one or both kidneys. It can take only a few hours or days for a kidney infection to develop.
Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
o    High Fever
o    Chills
o    Lower back pain
o    Loss of appetite
o    Malaise
If there is infection of the lower urinary tract (urethra and/or bladder) other symptoms that can present are:
o    Burning or pain on passing the urine
o    Passing urine frequently, urgency to urinate
o    Difficulty passing the urine
o    Foul smelling urine which may be cloudy in appearance
o    Blood in the urine
Note that kids tend to exhibit symptoms of bedwetting and failure to grow at a normal rate.

Seek medical advice without delay
A kidney infection that is not treated appropriately can lead to complications including kidney failure. The doctor will take a history about the symptoms and do a physical examination. Diagnostic tests: blood, urine analysis, urine culture and sonogram are done to confirm the diagnosis as well as to detect whether there are causes or complications.
The common bacteria which cause urinary tract infections are E. coli and Klebsiella.  E. coli is normally found in the stool as it lives in our gut. For this reason it is important to practice good personal hygiene to avoid the accidental introduction of the bacteria in the urinary tract.
Treatment invariably involves a course of antibiotics and medication for relief or pain and fever. It is important for the doctor to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic that will completely resolve the infection.

Tips to prevent Urinary Tract Infection
o    Drink adequate amounts of water daily to flush the kidneys. Limit the consumption of sugary drink.
o    Pay attention to personal hygiene especially of the genital area and anus.
o    Unwashed  or inadequately washed genitals can introduce germs in the urethra during sexual intercourse.
o    Teach children to wipe away from the front to the back after a bowel action.
o    Avoid long delays when there is the urge to urinate.

It is important to recognize the early symptoms of a urinary tract infection and have it appropriately treated before it spreads to the kidneys.  A chronic kidney infection can lead to serious complications and so protect your kidneys from irreparable damage.