A kidney infection is caused by bacteria that have entered the urethra or bladder and traveled up to one or both of the kidneys. If left untreated, it can permanently damage the kidneys and lead to other serious health complications.
The following symptoms may indicate a kidney infection:
- Abdominal pain
- Pain in the lower back, side, or groin area
- Frequent urination (often producing only a small amount of urine)
- Persistent, sudden urge to urinate
- Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- Pus and/or blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Decreased appetite
What Are the Risk Factors of a Kidney Infection?
There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing a kidney infection, including the following:
Being female increases your chances of developing a kidney infection. This is because the urethra in a woman is shorter than it is in men, making it easier for bacteria to travel from outside the body to the bladder.
Urinary Tract Blockage/Condition
Anything that slows the flow of urine or reduces the ability to empty the bladder successfully can increase the risk of a kidney infection. A kidney stone, an abnormality in the structure of the urinary tract, vesicoureteral reflux (which causes urine to flow in the wrong direction), or an enlarged prostate (in men) can all impede the proper flow of urine and increase your chance of getting a kidney infection.
Damaged Nerves Around the Bladder
Nerves carry messages from the bladder to the brain to let it know when the bladder is full, and when to tighten or release the muscles in the bladder. If there is damage to these nerves, known as neurogenic bladder, it can affect bladder control – which can cause urine retention. It can also block the sensation of a bladder infection, which can lead to a kidney infection if left untreated. Your doctor can determine whether this might be the underlying cause of your kidney issue.
Weakened Immune System
Having a weak immune system – either as a result of an infection, a medical condition such as diabetes or HIV, or medications such as immunosuppressants – can increase your chances of developing a kidney infection.
A urinary bladder catheter is a tube which is used to drain urine from the bladder. It may be used during and after certain types of surgical procedures, or if an individual is confined to a bed and cannot use the bathroom. A bladder catheter can sometimes allow bacteria to enter the body, which can cause a UTI (urinary tract infection), leading to a kidney infection.
Comprehensive Kidney Care in Boston
Here at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates, we offer high-quality, comprehensive kidney care. Our nephrologists treat both common and complex kidney conditions, from hypertension to kidney disease to kidney stones, and we are devoted to caring for our patients in a compassionate way.
For more information about the services we offer, contact Commonwealth Nephrology Associates today at (617) 739-2100 or request an appointment online at a location near you. We look forward to being your healthcare partner!