Kidney Infection

Infected kidney, cross sectionHealthy KidneyKidney infections are a caused by bacteria that make the kidneys reddened and full of yellow pus as seen to the left.  Notice the lack of pus in the kidney to the right.

The bacteria prevent the kidneys from filtering waste properly.  Unfortunately, this bacteria can also spread from your kidneys to your blood and become a systemic infection.  As a result, a kidney infection is something that must be handled quickly!

Urinary Tract, Male and FemaleHow does the bacteria reach the kidneys?

The bacteria enter the body through the urethra and make their way to the bladder.  The bacteria will case an infection in the bladder that can create pain when urinating.  Unfortunately, if not stopped, the bacteria will make their way up the long tube called the ureter to the kidneys.  Now, an infection will develop in the kidneys.  At this point, the bacteria can leave the kidneys and enter the blood stream.  This is a very serious situation and must be treated immediately. Otherwise, a life threatening situation can arise.

How do you know if you have a kidney infection?

Kidney Pain Referred to BackA kidney infection can cause extreme pain.  However, the kidneys do not have nerves that will allow them to signal pain.  Actually, the kidneys refer their pain to the sides of the lower back as seen in the picture.  Therefore, if you feel this type of pain, take immediate action.  What can you do?  First, guzzle 24-32 ounces of water in less than 15 minutes.  This should make you urinate 2-4 times shortly after you guzzle the water.  If the pain stops, you may have just been dehydrated.  Make sure you are drinking the proper amount of water daily to prevent dehydration.  As long as the pain does not return your kidneys are probably fine.  However, it is always good to be examined by a health professional to make sure your kidneys are healthy.  If the pain does not stop after you guzzle the water, seeing a health professional is not optional.  It is critical that you see a health professional immediately.


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Infectious Disease and Your Kidneys

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