Urinary tract infections usually affect the bladder. However, if left untreated, bacteria can make their way to the kidney, causing an infection. This is known as pyelonephritis and can be quite serious and must be treated right away.
If a kidney infection is not treated, it can cause permanent damage to the kidneys, which are vital organs, or the infection can enter the bloodstream, which is very serious.
While kidney infections are usually the result of bacteria making their way from the bladder up the urinary tract, other factors can make the kidneys more susceptible to invasions, such as kidney stones or surgery.
The symptoms include:
• Fever or chills
• Pain or tenderness in the kidneys (which are located in the lower back towards the side)
• Nausea and vomiting
• Difficulty urinating
• Pain or burning sensation during urination
If you are presenting symptoms of a kidney infection, get in touch with your doctor right away, especially if you have a UTI and pain in the lower back (kidneys). Don’t delay getting treatment as kidney infections can get quite serious very quickly.
Diagnosis of a kidney infection will involve an examination from your doctor and questions about your medical history. If an infection is suspected, a urine test may be required. If kidney stones or another blockage is suspected, a CT scan is done.
The first treatment will be a course of antibiotics. These will usually take between three to ten days to clear up the infection. However, the entire course must be taken to ensure the infection is completely gone.
If the infection is suspected of being more severe, you may need to go to the hospital. Here you will be placed on an IV drip and administered antibiotics. If a stone is present, the kidney also needs to be drained urgently. This is a surgical emergency as patients can get very sick if the infected kidney is not drained.
Dr Arianayagam works at both public (Nepean) and private hospitals (Macquarie University Hospital, Norwest Private, Nepean Private and HSS) and his urology clinic in Bella Vista.
Dr Arianayagam is an expert in the field of urological cancer. If you have any further questions about pyelonephritis and would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call. We will always provide our patients with compassionate care and advice.
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