Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that generally begins in your urethra or bladder and travels to one or both of your kidneys.
A kidney infection requires prompt medical attention. If not treated properly, a kidney infection can permanently damage your kidneys or the bacteria can spread to your bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection.
Kidney infection treatment, which usually includes antibiotics, might require hospitalization.
Signs and symptoms of a kidney infection might include:
Back, side (flank) or groin pain
Strong, persistent urge to urinate
Burning sensation or pain when urinating
Nausea and vomiting
Pus or blood in your urine (hematuria)
Urine that smells bad or is cloudy
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have worrisome signs or symptoms. If you're being treated for a urinary tract infection but your signs and symptoms aren't improving, make an appointment.
Severe kidney infection can lead to life-threatening complications. Seek immediate medical attention if you have kidney infection symptoms combined with bloody urine or nausea and vomiting.
Bacteria that enter your urinary tract through the tube that carries urine from your body (urethra) can multiply and travel to your kidneys. This is the most common cause of kidney infections.
Bacteria from an infection elsewhere in your body also can spread through your bloodstream to your kidneys. Although it's unusual to develop a kidney infection, it can happen — for instance, if you have an artificial joint or heart valve that becomes infected.
Rarely, kidney infection results after kidney surgery.
Factors that increase your risk of a kidney infection include:
Being female. The urethra is shorter in women than it is in men, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel from outside the body to the bladder. The nearness of the urethra to the vagina and anus also creates more opportunities for bacteria to enter the bladder.
Once in the bladder, an infection can spread to the kidneys. Pregnant women are at even higher risk of a kidney infection.
Having a urinary tract blockage. This includes anything that slows the flow of urine or reduces your ability to empty your bladder when urinating — including a kidney stone, something abnormal in your urinary tract's structure or, in men, an enlarged prostate gland.
Having a weakened immune system. This includes medical conditions that impair your immune system, such as diabetes and HIV. Certain medications, such as drugs taken to prevent rejection of transplanted organs, have a similar effect.
Having damage to nerves around the bladder. Nerve or spinal cord damage can block the sensations of a bladder infection so that you're unaware when it's advancing to a kidney infection.
Using a urinary catheter for a time. Urinary catheters are tubes used to drain urine from the bladder. You might have a catheter placed during and after some surgical procedures and diagnostic tests. You might use one continuously if you're confined to a bed.
Having a condition that causes urine to flow the wrong way. In vesicoureteral reflux, small amounts of urine flow from your bladder back up into your ureters and kidneys. People with this condition are at higher risk of kidney infection during childhood and adulthood.
If left untreated, a kidney infection can lead to potentially serious complications, such as:
Kidney scarring. This can lead to chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure.
Blood poisoning (septicemia). Your kidneys filter waste from your blood and return your filtered blood to the rest of your body. Having a kidney infection can cause the bacteria to spread through your bloodstream.
Pregnancy complications. Women who develop a kidney infection during pregnancy may have an increased risk of delivering low birth weight babies.
Reduce your risk of kidney infection by taking steps to prevent urinary tract infections. Women, in particular, may reduce their risk of urinary tract infections if they:
Drink fluids, especially water. Fluids can help remove bacteria from your body when you urinate.
Urinate as soon as you need to. Avoid delaying urination when you feel the urge to urinate.
Empty the bladder after intercourse. Urinating as soon as possible after intercourse helps clear bacteria from the urethra, reducing your risk of infection.
Wipe carefully. Wiping from front to back after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria from spreading to the urethra.
Avoid using feminine products in the genital area. Using products such as deodorant sprays in your genital area or douches can be irritating.
Nephrotic syndrome is a kidney disorder that causes your body to excrete too much protein in your urine.
Nephrotic syndrome is usually caused by damage to the clusters of small blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste and excess water from your blood. Nephrotic syndrome causes swelling (edema), particularly in your feet and ankles, and increases the risk of other health problems.
Treatment for nephrotic syndrome includes treating the underlying condition that's causing it and taking medications. Nephrotic syndrome can increase your risk of infections and blood clots. Your doctor may recommend medications and dietary changes to prevent these and other complications of nephrotic syndrome.
Signs and symptoms of nephrotic syndrome include:
Severe swelling (edema), particularly around your eyes and in your ankles and feet
Foamy urine, which may be caused by excess protein in your urine
Weight gain due to excess fluid retention
Loss of appetite
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.
Nephrotic syndrome is usually caused by damage to the clusters of tiny blood vessels (glomeruli) of your kidneys.
The glomeruli filter your blood as it passes through your kidneys, separating things your body needs from those it doesn't. Healthy glomeruli keep blood protein (mainly albumin) — which is needed to maintain the right amount of fluid in your body — from seeping into your urine. When damaged, glomeruli allow too much blood protein to leave your body, leading to nephrotic syndrome.
Many possible causes
Many diseases and conditions can cause glomerular damage and lead to nephrotic syndrome, including:
Diabetic kidney disease. Diabetes can lead to kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) that affects the glomeruli.
Minimal change disease. This is the most common cause of nephrotic syndrome in children. Minimal change disease results in abnormal kidney function, but when the kidney tissue is examined under a microscope, it appears normal or nearly normal. The cause of the abnormal function typically can't be determined.
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Characterized by scattered scarring of some of the glomeruli, this condition may result from another disease or a genetic defect or occur for no known reason.
Membranous nephropathy. This kidney disorder is the result of thickening membranes within the glomeruli. The exact cause of the thickening isn't known, but it's sometimes associated with other medical conditions, such as hepatitis B, malaria, lupus and cancer.
Systemic lupus erythematosus. This chronic inflammatory disease can lead to serious kidney damage.
Amyloidosis. This disorder occurs when substances called amyloid proteins accumulate in your organs. Amyloid buildup often affects the kidneys, damaging their filtering system.
Blood clot in a kidney vein. Renal vein thrombosis, which occurs when a blood clot blocks a vein connected to the kidney, can cause nephrotic syndrome.
Factors that can increase your risk of nephrotic syndrome include:
Medical conditions that can damage your kidneys. Certain diseases and conditions increase your risk of developing nephrotic syndrome, such as diabetes, lupus, amyloidosis and other kidney diseases.
Certain medications. Examples of medications that can cause nephrotic syndrome include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and drugs used to fight infections.
Certain infections. Examples of infections that increase the risk of nephrotic syndrome include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and malaria.
Possible complications of nephrotic syndrome include:
Blood clots. The inability of the glomeruli to filter blood properly can lead to loss of blood proteins that help prevent clotting. This increases your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombus) in your veins.
High blood cholesterol and elevated blood triglycerides. When the level of the protein albumin in your blood falls, your liver makes more albumin. At the same time, your liver releases more cholesterol and triglycerides.
Poor nutrition. Loss of too much blood protein can result in malnutrition. This can lead to weight loss, but it may be masked by swelling. You may also have too few red blood cells (anemia) and low levels of vitamin D and calcium.
High blood pressure. Damage to your glomeruli and the resulting buildup of wastes in your bloodstream (uremia) can raise your blood pressure.
Acute kidney failure. If your kidneys lose their ability to filter blood due to damage to the glomeruli, waste products may build up quickly in your blood. If this happens, you may need emergency dialysis — an artificial means of removing extra fluids and waste from your blood — typically with an artificial kidney machine (dialyzer).
Chronic kidney disease. Nephrotic syndrome may cause your kidneys to gradually lose their function over time. If kidney function falls low enough, you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Infections. People with nephrotic syndrome have an increased risk of infections.
Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney that is caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). Also called lupus, SLE is an autoimmune disease. With lupus, the body's immune system targets its own body tissues. Lupus nephritis happens when lupus involves the kidneys.
Up to 60% of lupus patients will develop lupus nephritis. When the kidneys are inflamed, they can't function normally and can leak protein. If not controlled, lupus nephritis can lead to kidney failure.
Symptoms of Lupus Nephritis
Lupus nephritis is a serious problem. Its symptoms, though, are not always dramatic. For many, the first noticeable symptom is swelling of the legs, ankles and feet. Less often, there can be swelling in the face or hands.
Other symptoms can vary from person to person and from day to day. They may include:
High blood pressure
Foamy, frothy urine
The need to urinate during the night
Not all urinary or kidney problems in people with lupus are due to lupus nephritis. People with lupus may also be prone to urinary tract infections. These cause burning on urination and require treatment with antibiotics. Certain lupus medications can also affect the kidneys and cause swelling and other symptoms similar to those of lupus nephritis. Problems related to these drugs usually go away when the drugs are no longer used.
Lupus Nephritis Diagnosis and Treatment
The diagnosis of lupus nephritis begins with a medical history, physical exam, and evaluation of symptoms. You doctor will likely order tests to make or confirm a diagnosis. Tests used in diagnosing kidney problems include urine tests, blood tests, imaging tests such as ultrasound, and kidney biopsy.
There are five different types of lupus nephritis. Treatment is based on the type of lupus nephritis, which is determined by the biopsy. Since symptoms and severity vary from person to person, treatments are individually tailored to meet a person's particular circumstances.
Medications used in treatment can include:
Corticosteroids. These strong anti-inflammatory drugs can decrease inflammation. Doctors may prescribe these until the lupus nephritis improves. Because these drugs can cause a variety of potentially serious side effects, they must be monitored carefully. Doctors generally taper down the dosage once the symptoms start to improve.
Immunosuppressive drugs. These drugs, which are related to the ones used to treat cancer or prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, work by suppressing immune system activity that damages the kidneys. They include cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), azathioprine (Imuran) and mycophenolate (Cellcept).
Medications to prevent blood clots or lower blood pressure if needed
Even with treatment, loss of kidney function sometimes progresses. If both kidneys fail, people with lupus nephritis may need dialysis. Dialysis involves filtering the blood through a machine to remove waste products from the body.
Ultimately, it may be necessary to have a kidney transplant. In those cases, people will need additional drugs to keep their immune system from rejecting the transplanted kidney.
Lifestyle Changes for Lupus Nephritis
Certain lifestyle habits can help protect the kidneys. People with lupus nephritis should do the following:
Drink enough fluids to stay well hydrated.
Eat a low-sodium diet, especially if hypertension is an issue.
Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Avoid medications that can affect the kidneys, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Your doctor may also recommend that you eat a diet low in potassium, phosphorus, and protein if there is already loss of kidney function.
Although lupus nephritis is a serious problem, most people who receive treatment do not go on to have kidney failure.
Acute kidney failure occurs when your kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from your blood. When your kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of wastes may accumulate, and your blood's chemical makeup may get out of balance.
Acute kidney failure — also called acute renal failure or acute kidney injury — develops rapidly, usually in less than a few days. Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already hospitalized, particularly in critically ill people who need intensive care.
Acute kidney failure can be fatal and requires intensive treatment. However, acute kidney failure may be reversible. If you're otherwise in good health, you may recover normal or nearly normal kidney function.
Signs and symptoms of acute kidney failure may include:
Decreased urine output, although occasionally urine output remains normal
Fluid retention, causing swelling in your legs, ankles or feet
Shortness of breath
Chest pain or pressure
Seizures or coma in severe cases
Sometimes acute kidney failure causes no signs or symptoms and is detected through lab tests done for another reason.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor immediately or seek emergency care if you have signs or symptoms of acute kidney failure.
Acute kidney failure can occur when:
You have a condition that slows blood flow to your kidneys
You experience direct damage to your kidneys
Your kidneys' urine drainage tubes (ureters) become blocked and wastes can't leave your body through your urine
Impaired blood flow to the kidneys
Diseases and conditions that may slow blood flow to the kidneys and lead to kidney injury include:
Blood or fluid loss
Blood pressure medications
Use of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) or related drugs
Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
Damage to the kidneys
These diseases, conditions, and agents may damage the kidneys and lead to acute kidney failure:
Blood clots in the veins and arteries in and around the kidneys
Cholesterol deposits that block blood flow in the kidneys
Glomerulonephritis (gloe-mer-u-loe-nuh-FRY-tis), inflammation of the tiny filters in the kidneys (glomeruli)
Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that results from premature destruction of red blood cells
Lupus, an immune system disorder causing glomerulonephritis
Medications, such as certain chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, and dyes used during imaging tests
Scleroderma, a group of rare diseases affecting the skin and connective tissues
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a rare blood disorder
Toxins, such as alcohol, heavy metals, and cocaine
Muscle tissue breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) that leads to kidney damage caused by toxins from muscle tissue destruction
Breakdown of tumor cells (tumor lysis syndrome), which leads to the release of toxins that can cause kidney injury
Urine blockage in the kidneys
Diseases and conditions that block the passage of urine out of the body (urinary obstructions) and can lead to acute kidney injury include:
Blood clots in the urinary tract
Nerve damage involving the nerves that control the bladder
Acute kidney failure almost always occurs in connection with another medical condition or event. Conditions that can increase your risk of acute kidney failure include:
Being hospitalized, especially for a serious condition that requires intensive care
Blockages in the blood vessels in your arms or legs (peripheral artery disease)
High blood pressure
Certain cancers and their treatments
Potential complications of acute kidney failure include:
Fluid buildup. Acute kidney failure may lead to a buildup of fluid in your lungs, which can cause shortness of breath.
Chest pain. If the lining that covers your heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed, you may experience chest pain.
Muscle weakness. When your body's fluids and electrolytes — your body's blood chemistry — are out of balance, muscle weakness can result.
Permanent kidney damage. Occasionally, acute kidney failure causes permanent loss of kidney function, or end-stage renal disease. People with end-stage renal disease require either permanent dialysis — a mechanical filtration process used to remove toxins and wastes from the body — or a kidney transplant to survive.
Death. Acute kidney failure can lead to loss of kidney function and, ultimately, death.
Acute kidney failure is often difficult to predict or prevent. But you may reduce your risk by taking care of your kidneys. Try to:
Pay attention to labels when taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications. Follow the instructions for OTC pain medications, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, others). Taking too much of these medications may increase your risk of kidney injury. This is especially true if you have pre-existing kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Work with your doctor to manage kidney and other chronic conditions. If you have kidney disease or another condition that increases your risk of acute kidney failures, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, stay on track with treatment goals and follow your doctor's recommendations to manage your condition.
Make a healthy lifestyle a priority. Be active; eat a sensible, balanced diet; and drink alcohol only in moderation — if at all.
Consuming a widely prescribed drug to treat heartburn has been linked with increased risk of kidney diseases, a study conducted with 40,000 participants has said. The results of the study said that people who took proton pump inhibitors (PPI) to neutralise stomach acid were more vulnerable to kidney ailments than those who consumed other types of drugs to remedy the condition. The study compared the effects of PPI with H2 Blockers and said that the patients who took pills with PPIs were 28.4 times more likely to report chronic kidney problems. They were also more likely to develop acute kidney injury, end-stage renal disease, as well as unspecified kidney impairments.
According to the World Health Organisation, PPIs are important medications for many people suffering from heartburn and helps them remedy some of the symptoms of the condition. The results of the study were published in the Scientific Reports journal. The researchers hope that this particular study will lead to healthcare professionals warning, educating and monitoring patients who require PPI drugs, especially those who are at an elevated risk of kidney ailments. The study was conducted by researchers at University of California-San Diego and they looked at the data from 43,000 patients who took PPIs with the data from a control group of 8,000 participants who took histamine-2 receptor blockers, such as Zantac or Pepcid, and no other medications.
There are certain foods that can naturally neutralise stomach acid and while consuming these foods cannot, in any way treat the condition, these can certainly help alleviate some symptoms of the condition.
Here are some foods that heartburn patients may incorporate in their diet:
1. Ginger: It is used as a natural home remedy for gastrointestinal problems like heartburn.
2. Oatmeal: It is said to have the ability to absorb stomach acid.
3. Lean Meats: These are said to reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
4. Nuts and Seeds: Walnuts, flax seeds etc. are said to have healthy fats which may help heartburn patients.
5. Yogurt: It soothes stomach acid and improves digestion.