Kidney infections are a serious infection of the kidney itself. They are distinguished from the much more common UTI (urinary tract infection) by their location. UTIs are usually located in the bladder and kidney infections in the kidney! However, often the two syndromes have similar symptoms and bladder infections often worsen into kidney infections if not treated promptly.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Those with urinary infections are at highest risk. This is often sexually active young and middle age women who develop bladder infections frequently. An untreated or worsening bladder infection will sometimes develop into a kidney infection. Pregnant women, those with diabetes, and anyone with malfunctioning bladder, urethra, or ureters are at increased risk when they develop a kidney infection.
KIDNEY INFECTION SYMPTOMS
Kidney infections have all of the same symptoms as a UTI, which can often confuse the two. People with kidney infections experience burning with urination, frequent urination, lower abdominal discomfort, and bloody or pink urine. The key to telling whether you have a simple bladder infection or a kidney infection are the additional symptoms. If you have back pain, nausea or vomiting, and/or fever (higher than 100.4 F) you may have a kidney infection.
DIAGNOSIS AND KIDNEY INFECTION TREATMENT
To diagnose a kidney infection the doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. Then, often the doctor will order urine tests which will tell whether an infection is present in the bladder or kidney. Based on your symptoms and lab testing, a diagnosis can usually be made. In certain circumstances, to help clarify the diagnosis, an ultrasound or CT scan of your kidneys may be needed. Treatment for kidney infections is with antibiotics. For very mild cases, oral antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin can be given for a period of two or so weeks. For more severe cases, initial dosing with antibiotics directly into your veins is needed. Rarely, several days in the hospital are needed for continued antibiotics and additional treatments.
HOW PLUSHCARE WORKS
1. Video chat with a doctor to tell them about your symptoms and medical history.
2. The doctor can send a prescription for antibiotics, or send you to a local lab to drop off a urine sample.
3. Pick up your prescription at the pharmacy, or get your test results online and get any needed treatment from your PlushCare doctor.