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Overview of Kidney and Bladder Infections

The primary function of kidneys in the body is to clean the blood of water and waste products by turning them into urine. The urine is kept in the bladder from where it is transferred to the urinary tract and urethra, and out the body. Kidneys can be affected by a number of different problems, including a bacterial infection called pyelonephritis. In most cases the bacteria only colonize one kidney either acutely or chronically. The acute infection is more commonly observed and its symptoms are similar to many other disorders so the diagnosis may take a little time. One of the most prominent signs of bacterial kidney infection is a very high body temperature of 38°C or over. Shivers usually accompany such fever. Also, infected kidneys tend to hurt and the individual is likely to feel strong pain in the lower back. The combination of severe pain and high fever usually results in feeling sick to the stomach and vomiting. Kidney infections produced by bacteria are often followed by inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder infection. The signs of problems in those areas are relatively easy to spot with the most prominent being a burning sensation on bladder voiding. Persons affected by bladder or urinary tract infections have the need to urinate more frequently than normal even when the bladder is empty. The urine tends to be dark, cloudy, bloody, and malodorous. The signs and symptoms are usually treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Some of the complications from untreated infections include debris deposits in the kidneys, inflammation or swelling, as well as blood poisoning produced when the bacteria reach the blood stream. Complications are unlikely to happen in cases in which the kidneys functioned fine before the first infection. Those who are the most susceptible to serious consequences are pregnant women and individuals who are suffering from diabetes. Other persons who need to be careful are those with urinary catheter and a weak immune system. In the most extreme occurrences kidney infections can lead to kidney failure.

E Coli Infection In The Body

E coli is a group of germs or bacteria that occupy the digestive tract in humans and animals. There are numerous strains of bacteria and most of them are harmless, but once they start to multiply when a person’s immune system is compromised E coli can cause many problems. Some of the most widespread illnesses include bloody diarrhea, urinary tract infections, anemia, and infections.

Kidneys Affected By E Coli

The bacteria that most often cause kidney infections are Escherichia coli (E. coli) that normally live in the bowel. When the bacteria are transported from the bowel to the urethra they travel up the bladder and infect the passageways and organs on the way. From the bladder the bacteria are transported to the kidneys where they can cause substantial damage. It is not surprising that women are more prone to urinary tract infections as their anus is closer to urethra. The bacteria collect around the anus from the bowel and are easily transferred from the surround skin to the duct. The urethra passage is also much shorter in females thus making it faster for the bacteria to travel up the tract and into bladder and kidneys. Further, there are instances in which the kidney infections occur without an accompanying bladder infection. For instance, if a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate is blocking the kidney it is likely to get inflamed. Also, infections can be transferred to the kidney through bloodstream from other parts of the body.

Diagnosing Kidney Infections

The primary health care provider will want to know about the nature of the symptoms, their severity, and frequency. Family medical history also plays a part in diagnosing many kinds of diseases, and kidneys are no exception. The first type of test that is always administered in such situations is a urine test. The urine is checked for signs of infections and is sent for a culture test to determine the type of bacteria and the antibiotics to which they are sensitive. If the health care provider feels more tests are needed, as would be the case with pregnant women or diabetics, he or she will refer the patient to a hospital to get X-rays and scans of the kidneys. Ultrasound of the bladder is also commonly used to determine any changes that may have taken place.

Treatment of Kidney Infections

One of the most common kinds of treatment that anyone who has ever had a urinary tract or kidney infection knows about is to drink as much fluids as possible, especially water. If the patient has high fever over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, and Aspirin are often helpful. In order to get rid of the bacteria the health care provider will prescribe antibiotics for a few weeks. The full course of treatment has to be taken to make sure all bacteria are gone even when the symptoms have disappeared.

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