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Kidney Infections Home Remedies

Home Remedies for Kidney Infection

Untreated kidney infections can turn into recurring kidney infections that lead to complications and disease. Kidney infection home remedies, in addition to a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor, can support recovery time as well as act as preventative measures to stave off recurring symptoms from occurring.

Read on to learn effective home remedies for kidney infection and stay informed on when to contact your doctor for more information to ensure you stay on top of your urinary tract health.

What is a Kidney Infection?

A kidney infection is medically known as pyelonephritis and is a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI).

Kidney infections are caused when bacteria that enters the urinary tract travels from the bladder into one or both kidneys. Urinary tract infections don’t ultimately pose a serious threat to your health if you administer kidney infection remedies and seek medical treatment as soon as possible. However, if left untreated kidney infections can cause life long health complications.

Several different organs make up the urinary tract. This system is designed to extract, hold, and transport waste from your body in the form of urine and includes the following organs: two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra.

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The function of a kidney is to process blood by filtering out the waste to produce urine as well as release “cleaned” blood back into the body. Urine containing toxins leaves the kidneys through the ureter tubes and towards the bladder where it is stored until release during the urination process through the urethra.

Infections occur when bacteria end up in the urethra and travel to the bladder. There they can use the stored urine as food to grow and multiply leading to a bladder infection.

There are other various causes of kidney infections, including those that occur due to conditions that obstruct urine from flowing naturally such as kidney stones or enlarged prostate glands in men.

Pregnant women can also develop a kidney infection due to obstruction of their bladders by the pressure put in the area by the baby.
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Kidney Infection Symptoms and Signs

The signs and symptoms of a kidney infection are sometimes different from a bladder infection. A kidney infection is often the result of a bladder infection that was not treated promptly.

Common UTI signs and symptoms include:

  • painful or burning urination
  • cloudy and dark urine that may appear red or pink from blood
  • bad smelling urine
  • pain in the abdomen
  • a mild fever under 101° F

Common indicators that an infection has spread to the kidneys include:

  • chills and shaking
  • fever exceeding 101° F
  • nausea, and vomiting
  • Back or side pain is a major sign of a kidney infection that you won’t likely experience with a simple bladder infection.

If you feel the onset of an infection in the urinary tract and want to prevent a kidney infection, there are plenty of options to explore.

The best preventive measure for kidney infections is to ensure your urinary tract infection is properly treated, but there are ways to improve your urinary tract health at home for prevention or to use alongside your doctor’s treatments.

Please note that if you have symptoms of a kidney infection you should seek medical treatment promptly to avoid serious complications. Home remedies for kidney infections are to be used in combination with doctor prescribed treatments.

Drinkable Home Remedies for Kidney Infections

While staying hydrated is one of the most important things to do to ensure frequent flushing of bacteria from the urinary tract, you don’t always have to consume water to achieve this goal. Try the following kidney infection home remedies today for extra relief and preventative properties to ensure an infection stays away.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The malic acid in apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that can inhibit the spreading of infections. A study also sheds light on apple cider vinegar’s benefits towards preventing kidney oxidative injury. To benefit from an apple cider vinegar kidney infection remedy, put a tablespoon of the vinegar and two teaspoons of honey into warm water and consume this mixture twice a day for a few weeks. The added honey comes with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Cranberry Juice

Although it tends to be a go-to for urinary tract infections, cranberry has conflicting data on its effectiveness. By increasing the acidity of urine, this juice will help avoid the growth of bacteria on the bladder’s walls. A study also found that cranberry and blueberry are the two juices that can be used as home remedies for kidney infection due to their ability to stop bacteria from adhering to the kidneys. If drinking, make sure it is unsweetened and in natural forms. Avoid drinking it if you take any blood-thinning medication and, in general, nobody should drink cranberry juice in large quantities indefinitely. At most one glass a day is recommended to avoid other risks such as kidney stones.

Parsley Juice

A different juice that can be consumed as part of your home remedies for kidney infection is parsley juice. It can flush out toxins and microorganisms in the kidneys. A study found that parsley juice leads to increased urine output compared to water allowing for more bacteria to be flushed from the body. Parsley also contains multiple nutrients including vitamins A, B, and C. Take dried or freshly cut parsley, boil it in water for a steeping time of approximately five minutes, strain, and cool before drinking. This drink can be mixed with lemon juice, and honey for added flavors and benefits. Since parsley may interact with some medications, consult your doctor prior to trying this method.

Food for Kidney Infection

In addition to juice remedies, specific food items that support healing from infections are also worth knowing. Foods for kidney infection prevention include the items that can be used as juices: parsley, blueberry, and cranberry. The berries can be eaten whole with yoghurt in the morning and parsley is a good garnish for a variety of savory dishes.

Raw garlic cloves are another effective food item to start consuming today as a home remedy for kidney infection. Garlic has diuretic properties that force the kidneys to pass more salt and toxins in the urine; garlic also works for pathogens resistant to antibiotic medications. Learn about the other benefits and uses of garlic.

Constipation can cause irritation and skin lesions that increase risk of urinary tract infections so eating plenty of fiber in combination with the increase of fluid intake is essential to prevent this condition. While it was once thought that keeping urine acidic was important to treating and preventing UTIs, evidence is emerging that this may not be the case. Nonetheless, high-fiber nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables can help you fight off infection. Cabbage is also high in fiber and helps with fluid-related issues that may affect the urinary tract.

What To Avoid

To prevent recurring kidney infections, there are also certain food items that can be avoided while your kidney(s) are recovering.

Caffeinated products, citrus juices, sodas, and alcohol can aggravate kidney infection symptoms.

Foods high in phosphorous should be avoided until an infection is cured because infected kidneys prevent organs from properly regulating phosphorous levels in the body. Foods high in phosphorus to avoid include:

  • Milk
  • Whole grains
  • Chocolates
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Dried peas
  • Lentils
  • Organ meats

Kidney infection home treatment goes beyond food intake and daily hygienic habits. An additional consideration involves the type of clothes worn.

Avoid synthetic undergarments or tight-fitting clothes that prevent air flow and increase the likelihood of sweating. These types of clothes create fertile environments for bacteria build-up, increasing the chance of contracting a urinary tract infection which could ultimately spread to your kidneys.

Avoid bubble baths. Although a bath of Epsom salt can detoxify your body and help rid any waste or bacteria, bubble baths are not recommended, especially those with high perfume or chemical additives. Frequent baths can remove the protective mucous covering the urethra and some chemicals present in soaps can also provide easy entry for the bacteria into the kidneys.

Additional Preventative Methods for Kidney Infections

Besides the general treatment options doctors will administer, methods reducing the likelihood of bacteria entering the urethra and spreading to the bladder are effective ways to prevent infections from occurring and migrating to the kidneys.

The main preventative methods include peeing when you need to and trying to completely empty the bladder. Holding urine can lead to unnecessary bacteria buildup and irritation in the urinary tract.

Maintain good personal hygiene habits to prevent bacteria from invading your body. This includes wiping front to back as well as practicing safe sex and urinating soon after sex to flush any bacteria.

Individuals with indwelling bladder catheters should remember to have catheters changed regularly to avoid irritation and infection. Make sure to clean and monitor the area surrounding where the catheter enters the urethra.

Consider alternative options when it comes to contraceptives. Diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, and spermicidal lubes can potentially contribute to infection. Diaphragms prevent proper and complete emptying of the bladder and spermicide can stimulate the production of bacteria. Consider switching to different methods.

For postmenopausal women, certain hormonal therapies, particularly daily application of a topical cream, may help to prevent UTIs and kidney infections.
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When to Contact a Doctor

Home remedies can provide symptom relief and prevent recurring infections from occurring. Having said this, a full-blown kidney infection will require antibiotics from a doctor to completely clear.

Good indicators of when to see a doctor for kidney infection include a significant change to your usual pattern of urination accompanied by the symptoms and signs outlined above.

Generally, kidney infection symptoms will feel worse during urination. When this pain is accompanied with a fever and persistent genital, stomach, or lower back pain it is more likely to be a kidney infection than just a bladder infection and warrants prompt treatment.

People with recurring kidney infections despite medical and home remedies for kidney infections may have a structural problem in their urinary tract. In these cases, your doctor may refer you to a urologist who can advise on urinary tract problems in case surgery is required.

If you suffer any symptoms of a urinary tract or kidney infection, talk to a doctor immediately. The faster you act, the more effective the treatment and the lower the risk of complications.

If you experience any symptoms of a kidney infection, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone appointment with a top U.S. doctor today.

Read more of our Kidney Infection and UTI Series:

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Dr. Hillary Webster

Dr. Hillary Webster

Reviewed by Dr. Hillary Webster, ND. Hillary is an experienced Hormone Advocate. She helps uncover and repair hidden hormonal and nutrient deficiencies. She loves dogs, writing, and grey sweaters.

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