The kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra are all parts of the urinary system. An infectious process can occur in any of them. This condition is called a urinary tract infection. A lower urinary tract infection affects the urethra, bladder, and prostate; upper urinary tract infection includes kidney infection. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.
What causes a urinary tract infection?
Urine, like other body fluids, is sterile in the absence of severe bacterial infection. The presence of bacteria in the urine is considered an abnormal condition. This can cause a urinary tract infection.
The bacterium enters the urinary system, usually from the urethra. Later, it can also reach the kidneys and cause a kidney infection. Upper urinary tract (kidney) infections are more severe than lower urinary tract infections. The reason for this is the possibility of bacteria entering the blood or bacteremia. Bacteria can enter the urethra from the rectum or vagina. There are cases when the bacterium enters the urethra from the skin. Women have a higher risk of urinary tract infection, which is associated with the anatomical feature of the urinary tract – the shortening of the urethra.
Risk factors for kidney and urinary tract infections
Many factors are known to increase the risk of kidney and urinary tract infections. Sexual contact is such a factor for a woman. The reason for this is the entry of foreign bacteria into the urethra.
This factor is associated with inflammation of the bladder – cystitis – after the first sexual contact, which is also called honeymoon cystitis. It is estimated that 2-8% of women develop a urinary tract infection during pregnancy. The reason for this may be obstruction of the outflow of urine in the urethra, which is caused by the pressure of the enlarged uterus.
MMT Hospital offers the treatment of urinary tract infections with methods in accordance with world medical standards.
A urinary catheter (Foley catheter) also increases the risk of urinary tract and kidney infections. Such a catheter is used when the patient is unable to urinate due to paralysis, severe illness, urinary incontinence, or bladder dysfunction. Through the catheter, bacteria can first enter directly into the bladder, and later – above it. A kidney infection can be caused by a kidney stone or a structural abnormality in the urinary system.
Obstruction of drainage and blockage of the urinary tract make it possible for bacteria to enter the kidneys, and it is no longer possible to remove them in the urine.
Any violation of the outflow of urine can cause an infectious process and its spread to other parts of the urinary tract. Risk factors for urinary tract infection in children are female gender, abnormal development of the urinary tract, Caucasian race. It is known that urinary tract infections are 4 times more common in Caucasians than in African Americans.
How is a urinary tract infection diagnosed?
Common symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- Stomach ache;
- Painful urination;
- General weakness.
When examining a patient, the doctor detects fever, tension in the muscles of the lower back. Urinalysis reveals symptoms of infection.
In elderly and debilitated patients with urinary tract infections, clouding of consciousness, increased heart rate, lowering blood pressure, fluid loss are noted.
Diagnosis of a kidney infection
Diagnosis of kidney infection is based on a thorough examination of the patient and detailed data collection. The doctor determines the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, symptoms of dehydration, the condition of the lumbar region. Boys are diagnosed with inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs, women – a pregnancy test. A complete urinalysis is needed to diagnose a urinary tract infection.
Urine must be collected according to the rules. Wash your vagina before urinating to avoid contamination of your urine by bacteria that live on the skin around the urethra.
Starting to urinate, we do not take the first dose of urine – it must go into the toilet. The average portion of urine is collected in a container, which should be handed over to the laboratory. Enough 10-15 ml. After that, the patient continues to urinate and flushes the remaining urine into the toilet. An infection is indicated by the presence of white blood cells or bacteria in the urine. If a urinalysis does not reveal changes characteristic of a urinary tract infection, another diagnosis is considered.
The most common cause of kidney infection is E. coli. It is estimated that in 8 out of 10 cases it causes an infection.
In addition, common bacteria are Klebsiella, Proteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus aureus.
Urinary tract infection – treatment
When treating a kidney infection, as in the case of other bacterial infections, it is very important to take antibiotics prescribed by a doctor in a timely manner. Usually, when a kidney infection is diagnosed, empiric antibiotic therapy is started – treatment with antibiotics without testing the sensitivity of the bacteria.
At the same time, blood and urine are donated for laboratory testing and a bacteriological examination of blood and urine is carried out. In this case, bacteria are grown on a special nutrient medium and their sensitivity to antibiotics is determined.
Depending on the result, the antibiotic can be changed. It is then that the resistance of the detected bacteria to the prescribed antibiotics is revealed. In uncomplicated cases, it is enough to take antibiotic tablets and give water and fluids. At this time, treatment can be carried out in the apartment. With severe symptoms, severe condition, nausea and vomiting, the inability to take medications or the ineffectiveness of tablet preparations, it is considered necessary to place the patient in a hospital for intravenous antibiotic therapy and infusion therapy, for aggressive relief of symptoms. Hospitalization is also necessary in cases of complicated kidney infection.
How to prevent infection
By following certain rules, we can reduce the risk of kidney infection. We must pay attention to:
- Because the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections enter the body through the urethra, personal hygiene is very important. In women, cleaning the perineum from top to bottom, front to back, after toileting and bathing has been found to significantly reduce the chances of bacteria from entering the urethra from the anus and vagina.
- During sexual contact. Because sexual contact is one of the risk factors for kidney infection, it is recommended that you empty your bladder (urinate) after sexual contact. This helps to quickly remove bacteria from the bladder.
- For food. The stem and stem juice are known to help prevent kidney infection.
- If it is necessary to use it, it is recommended to change the catheter under the supervision of a doctor or at his direction, before the procedure, properly treat the interstitial area.
- With a kidney infection, stones are a potential source of infection, so it is recommended to visit a urologist and discuss the possibility of removing stones to prevent infection.