An infection or inflammation of one or both the kidneys is kidney infection.
Pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis are the two major kidney disorders caused due to kidney infection.
The infection usually starts in the bladder. From there the infection travels through the tubes to the kidneys.
Kidney infection can lead to kidney failure
Cystitis is a common bladder disease, which can cause kidney infection if untreated or not diagnosed immediately.
Considering the anatomy of the urinary tract, the kidneys are located on each side of the abdomen, partially covered by lower ribs. Kidneys make urine and flows through the tubes (ureters) down into the bladder.
The bladder is typically the size of a large grapefruit. Bladder holds the urine until it gets fill. The sphincter muscles when relaxed allow the urine pass out of the body emptying the bladder.
In this process, in males the urine passes from the urethra through the prostate gland and then through the penis. When considering the distance, in males it takes long time to travel the urine to pass out of the body when compared to women.
Consequently, germs from outside of the body will take long time to travel through the long urethra into the bladder, then ureters, and finally into the kidneys in males. Because the distance is very short in the women, they tend to have much more kidney infections.
Acute kidney infection develops all of a sudden with severe symptoms and comes to end fastly where as, chronic kidney infection starts slowly and then slowly get worse. Chronic kidney infection may lead to kidney failure.
Pyelonephritis is one of the kidney infections, which occurs when the bacteria from the bladder (cystitis) reaches the kidneys. Pyelonephritis will be seen either in one or both kidneys. Glomerulonephritis is another kidney infection involving the glomeruli of both kidneys.
There are many causes of kidney infections. Women can sometimes get in contact with kidney infections following sex if the bacteria get into the urinary tract.
Another cause of kidney infection is placement of Foley catheter, as it may lead to the infection if the catheter left for longer period of time. Kidney stones, pregnancy, cancer, etc will lower the immunity levels to fight against the bacteria and cause kidney infections.
Fever, chills, stomach upset, vomiting, pain, lower back pain, inability to urinate or frequent urination, burning sensation at the time of urination, and blood in the urine are some of the signs and symptoms of kidney infection.
If there are any such symptoms, it is necessary to go to the doctor immediately for urine tests and to receive antibiotics in order to fight the bacteria. Depending on the sickness, the physician may ask the patient to get hospitalized.
In the hospital, the physician will check the vital signs, pulse oximeter and blood tests will be done, and IV fluids and antibiotics will be given.
If the appropriate care has not been taken, the kidney infection may lead to kidney failure. In some cases, the infection may spread to other parts of the body and cause severe problems.