Main causes, symptoms and treatment of kidney infection

Kidneys – The heart of your excretory system

Kidneys are a sort of a single control tower point through which the waste management or excretion system of the human body is carried out. They have the primary function of eliminating the waste from the bloodstream by creating urine. Along with this, human kidneys also carry about other important functions like blood pressure management, maintaining volume of extracellular fluids and excretion of toxic, metabolic by-products like uric acid, ammonia and urea.

The kidneys facilitate the work of other excretory organs like the

  • Ureter
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Urethra

Basically speaking, the proper functioning of the kidneys ensures proper excretion process for a human body, thus keeping it healthy and most importantly, clean from the inside.

Kidney Infection – The Basics


With all its importance, the kidneys are still a human organ and are equally susceptible to infections as others. A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection, beginning in the bladder or urethra and travels way up to the kidneys. Kidney infections may be:

  • Acute: Ones which happen suddenly yet go away soon after treatment.
  • Chronic: Ones which are serious in nature and occur mostly because of a long time medical condition.

Kidney infection symptoms

Depending on whether the infection is acute or chronic, symptoms of kidney infection differ. It should also be noted that symptoms for adults and children are different in nature. The symptoms may occur immediately or over a longer duration.

Common symptoms in adults include:

  • Pain in the sides
  • Pain in the lower back and genitals
  • High temperature fever
  • Shivering
  • Chills
  • Weakness or Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Repeated sickness
  • Diarrhoea

Children with kidney infections have other symptoms such as:

  • General lack of energy
  • Irritation
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal or slow growth rate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Occurrence of Jaundice
  • Occurrence of blood in their urine
  • Fowl smelling urine
  • Habitual Bedwetting

Causes of kidney infection

Kidney infection is mostly said to have occurred or caused when there is bacterial presence and multiplication occurring in the urinary tract or Urethra. These bacteria can then spread to your bloodstream and eventually to your kidneys. Though such kind of infection is rare, its occurrence cannot be written off completely. Also, it is a very rare case that kidney infection is caused due to any previous kidney surgery.

As is always advised by doctors, it is best to keep doing regular medical tests to ensure whether your kidneys are in good condition or not.

Treatment options available for kidney infection

In most cases, a kidney infection is treated at home with a course of antibiotics and painkillers. Antibiotics are prescribed for a period of 7-14 days. Commonly prescribed antibiotics are ciprofloxacin and cefalexin. Painkillers like ibuprofen and some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines are also suggested by doctors.

If the kidney infection is acute and in early stages, certain basic self-care tips can help to cure it:

  • Drink plenty of water and fluids to avoid dehydration
  • Make sure you carry your excretion habits properly and completely
  • Take sufficient rest, more so if infected

However, if the infection is of serious nature, one should consult specialist doctors and take proper treatment. Hospital treatment becomes essential when the person is:

  • Severely dehydrated
  • Unable to swallow fluids or medications
  • Additional symptoms of blood poisoning
  • Pregnant and high temperature
  • Symptoms fail to improve after 24 hours of antibiotic treatment
  • living with a Weakened immune system
  •  has kidney stone or urinary catheter
  • has diabetes
  • is over 65 years old
  • has a long-term chronic disease

Kidney infection, even after hospitalization, does not require any surgeries as such. Mostly the patient is put on a drip through which fluids are supplied to keep the body hydrated. A combination of antibiotics and painkillers is also given. Generally the patient responds well to the treatment and recovers over a period of time. Yet again, regular medical tests have to be done after a particular age. Even if it is rare, one should take kidney infections seriously if they become chronic.

Print Friendly