Kidney Infection In Women: Symptoms & Treatment

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Kidney Infection
Ananya Bhattacharjee
Writer. Musician. Mother. Reading, music and travelling are all time favourites. Been into ‘writing’ from the last 10 years and have become an everlasting love since I started.

Kidney infection is an infection caused by contamination in the urinary tract and further spreads to both kidneys. Women are more affected by it, with the disease being either sudden or chronic. These are too painful and can also be life-threatening if they are not treated immediately and thoroughly. 

Symptoms of Kidney Infection

The signs of kidney infection generally arise two days after the disease in the urinary tract. Some of the symptoms of the same include:

  • Severe pain in the abdomen, back, groin, or any side of the body
  • Frequent nausea or vomiting tendency
  • Frequent urination or the feeling of having to pee frequently
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Passing of blood or pus in the urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Chills in the body
  • Severe fever

If it is not treated immediately, the symptoms may worsen and lead to severe sepsis in the body.

Causes of Kidney Infection

Majority of this infections in women are caused by either bacteria or viruses which enter the kidneys through the urinary tract. One of the common bacteria that causes the disease is the Escherichia coli (E. coli). This bacteria is present in the intestine and can pass on to the urinary tract through the urethral canal. After that, the bacteria in the urinary tract multiplies and spreads to the bladder and the kidneys.

Some other causes include:

  • Bacteria spread from an infection caused somewhere else in the body.
  • A surgery of either the bladder or the kidneys
  • A blockage of the urine flow, like a kidney stone or any tumour in the urinary tract. 

Risk factors

Risk factors of kidney infection are:

  • Urinary tract infections, around 1 of 30 UTIs causes a kidney infection.
  • Women have more risk of getting as the urethra is shorter in comparison to men. This short passage makes it easy for the bacteria to pass through to the urinary tract. As the urethra in women is much closer to the vagina and the anus, the bacteria spread more easily and faster to the urinary tract.
  • During pregnancy, the urinary tract shifts from its original position and may make it easier or the bacteria to pass on to the kidneys.
  • A weakened immune system, like people with diabetes, AIDS and the ones taking drugs that cause immune system, are prone to it.
  • When a woman has problems passing urine or emptying the bladder, it causes multiple sclerosis.

When to see a Doctor

If there is bloody urine or if a woman suspects a kidney infection, it is essential to consult a doctor as soon as possible. One should also see a doctor if there is a UTI and symptoms of kidney infection shows up. 

Treatment of Kidney Infection

The treatment will depend on the severity of the disease itself. If the condition is a mild one, oral antibiotics are excellent. There would be antibiotic medicine for bacterial infection that one generally needs to take for two to three weeks. The medical practitioner may also prescribe urine cultures for checking recurrence of the disease later.

If the infection is more serious, the doctor may prescribe an admission at the hospital to receive intravenous antibiotics and fluids. In some cases, surgery is required to correct any blockage a problematic shape in the urinary tract. 

Recovery from Kidney Infection

The patient will get better within a few days of taking the medicine. It is essential to complete the entire prescribed course of antibiotics to ensure a full recovery.

  • History of UTIs might put the woman at risk for more kidney infections in future
  • To get relief from it, one can:
  • Use a heating pad on the stomach area to reduce the pain.
  • Take OTC medications until they consult with the doctor.
  • Regularly drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. This will help to flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract. 
Kidney Infection

Complications from Kidney Infection

Improper treatment will lead to severe complications, like:

  • Permanent damage of the kidneys, like chronic kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Sepsis if the bacteria from the organs spreads and poisons the bloodstream.
  • One may develop renal scarring or have severe high blood pressure, though this is rare.

If a woman is pregnant and suffers from a kidney infection, there are chances of having a low weight baby.

Kidney infections should be treated immediately and properly. If the woman is in good health, she will recover from a kidney infection fully and without any complications. One should consult a doctor at the first signs of the kidney infection to ensure immediate treatment. This will further reduce the risks of any complications from the infection.