Occurs when bacteria or other infectious organisms enter the kidneys
and cause infection.
What to look for
continuous pain that
usually begins in the back above the waist and spreads down into the groin.
rapidly rising fever
frequent urge to urinate,
even though the bladder is empty.
cloudy or bloody urine.
severe nausea or
Kidney infections cause the
kidney to swell and become inflamed.
This ailment can be
extremely dangerous and should always be treated. If they are left untreated, they can
lead to permanent kidney damage or blood poisoning.
Kidney infections are
usually caused by the bacteria that reside in the large intestine. In a number of cases
the infection starts in the bladder and spreads to the kidney.
The use of catheters can
also increase the risk of kidney infections.
Your doctor may perform a
urine/blood test on you to determine if you have an infection as well as the cause.
If you suspect that you
have a kidney infection, do not hesitate to seek immediate medical treatment; as delay in
clearing the body of infection can lead to serious complications.
Usually antibiotics and bed
rest are often all that is required to bring an acute kidney infection under control
within 48 hours. Your physician will also ask you to drink large quantities of water to
help flush out the bacteria from your urinary tract.
Only in rare cases are
people hospitalised, usually to ensure that they get enough fluids and antibiotics.
Because kidney infections
are so serious, most naturopaths will insist that you seek conventional medical care. If
you decide to use alternative treatments in addition to conventional ones make sure you
communicate to your doctor which supplements and herbs you are thinking of starting.
Until you are cured of the
infection, avoid foods that might irritate the urinary tract and put undue stress on the
kidneys. Food to avoid are alcohol, coffee, salt, black tea, chocolate, carbonated
beverages, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, vinegar, artificial sweeteners, and sugar
are all considered potential irritants. (See also Bladder
Because most kidney
infections start in the bladder, prevention begins with keeping bacteria out of the entire
Clean yourself thoroughly
after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria
to the opening of the urethra.
Urinate as soon as
possible when you feel the urge and empty your bladder completely.
Do not wear synthetic
underwear that traps heat in the crutch area.
Drink plenty of liquids.
Drink cranberry juice
everyday. Research suggests that cranberries have properties that help fight off urinary
tract infections. (See Bladder Infections.) you may even wish to take cranberry tablets.
Empty your bladder after
intercourse to flush any bacteria
If you use a diaphragm,
make sure that it fits properly and only leave it in for the required time - no longer.
Avoid using scented
soaps, bubble baths, and vaginal deodorants.
When to seek further