Kidney infections are no joke, and it can be easier than you might think to get one. And while most people might easily mistake signs of a kidney infection for something less serious like a yeast infection. It’s important to be aware of your body, because a UTI can potentially lead to kidney problems like kidney failure. Keep reading to learn more about when to go to the hospital for a kidney infection, how to identify one, and the kidney problems that it can cause. 

what is a kidney infection

What is a Kidney Infection? 

Technically speaking, a kidney infection is a form of UTI; this is because the kidneys are a part of your upper urinary tract. Infections are typically caused by E. coli bacteria, which is found in the intestines. When this bacteria is exposed to the urinary tract, it can cause serious problems. Unfortunately because of the similar symptoms, many people confuse kidney infections for bladder infections, which are far less serious. 

causes of kidney infection

Causes of Kidney Infections 

There are various things that cause a UTI, most commonly by accidentally introducing E.coli bacteria to your urinary system. However, there are a few other ways that you can get a UTI.

Bacterial Infection

  • E.coli bacteria infections are the most common culprits of UTIs. This bacteria is found in the colon and can also be introduced to the urethra through sexual intercourse, using the bathroom, or other means. To avoid introducing the bacteria to the urethra when using the bathroom, make sure to wipe from front to back. 

Kidney Stone 

  • Kidney stones and other blockages can cause a UTI by causing the urine to pool above the blockage and back up into the tube inside the kidney, making the organ swell and take damage. A kidney stone increases the risk for UTIs, and sufferers should pay attention to their bodies so that they can efficiently identify one and get treated. 

Enlarged Prostate

  • Similar to a kidney stone, an enlarged prostate can cause a UTI by blocking the flow of urine from the bladder. Because enlarged prostates are common in men over the age of 40, it is important to see a doctor regularly if you suffer from them.

Sexually Transmitted Infections 

  • STIs such as chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and more can all have symptoms that imitate or cause a UTI. If you are sexually active and may have had intercourse with someone that is infected with an STI or start to feel associated symptoms, get tested immediately so that it can be treated or managed accordingly. 

signs of kidney infection

Signs of a Kidney Infection 

If you allow a UTI to go untreated, a kidney infection is almost inevitable. Here are some symptoms to look out for: 

  • Cloudy urine
  • Bloody urine
  • Dark urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Frequent and painful urination 
  • Fever
  • Chills 
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Feeling like the bladder wasn’t fully emptied

Should you experience any of these symptoms, you need to seek medical advice immediately. Not only are these symptoms very uncomfortable, but they could also indicate the beginning of kidney failure. And if the infection spreads, it could cause even more problems.

Should You go to Hospital for a Kidney Infection?

UTIs can lead to serious complications. Consequently, it’s important that you seek the medical advice of a doctor immediately. If it is allowed to go untreated and the infection spreads, your body can go into what is called sepsis; this is your body’s extreme response to infection and can be life-threatening. Even if your infection does not cause sepsis, you could end up dealing with a lifetime of chronic kidney issues. Visit an emergency room as soon as possible so that a doctor can put you on a course of antibiotics.

Visit Village Emergency Centers 

At Village Emergency Centers, we are equipped to deal with all types of emergencies, 24/7. If you think that you might be dealing with a UTI, kidney infection, or another kind of emergency, visit us today. We have locations throughout the Greater Houston area with little to no wait and transparent billing. Should you have questions about when to go to the hospital for kidney infection, give us a call!