Symptoms of a kidney infection. Left untreated, they can cause blood poisoning, loss of a kidney, or perhaps even death.
Kidney infections are dangerous. Left untreated, they can cause blood poisoning, loss of a kidney, or perhaps even death. Unless you regularly suffer from kidney infections, most people don't recognize the symptoms or think the symptoms are another disease.
Here are some warning signs of a kidney infection:
-- burning during urination. This is also a good sign of a UTI (and untreated Urinary Tract Infections can lead to kidney infections). Don't confuse the burning with the itching/burning of a yeast infection. This burning is painful and will sometimes bring tears to your eyes.
-- a pain in the lower back, right around the waist. It could feel like a dull ache. It could be a sharp stabbing pain. It could feel like someone punching you repeatedly. Any pain concentrated to that small corner of the lower back could indicate kidney trouble.
-- fatigue. For people who get frequent kidney infections, the number one sign is the fatigue, which can hit suddenly. You'll be fine, no other symptoms to speak of, then, boom, you are so exhausted that it becomes a struggle to keep your eyes open. It takes every bit of energy you can muster to keep from slumping in your chair.
-- fever. Usually a low-grade fever goes along with a kidney infection in the early stages. If the infection goes untreated, the fever will rise.
If you have any of these symptoms, call the doctor immediately. Doctors don't fool around with possible kidney infection. Ask to speak to a nurse about your symptoms, and the nurse because the nurse will probably arrange for you to be seen as soon as possible.
If you do have a kidney infection, the doctor will most likely prescribe a sulfa drug, which is most effective. However, a good number of people develop allergies to sulfa drugs (even if you've been using them for years). If you develop hives or other side effects, call your doctor immediately! For those allergic to sulfa drugs, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. There are also some new drugs on the market to help prevent UTIs in people who are prone to them.
How can you prevent a kidney infection? Many recommend drinking cranberry juice regularly. Ask the doctor for a definitive opinion on that. But all doctors will recommend lots and lots of liquids daily. A minimum of 8 glasses of water is a must.
If you should end up with a kidney infection, remember that, no matter how you feel, you are seriously ill. As several nurses and doctors have said, "This is not something to fool around with." Take the time to rest and drink lots of liquids. Also, don't expect to recover within a day or two. Even the most mild kidney infection takes about two weeks for a full recovery. A severe infection takes months. Allow your body to recover fully before resuming strenous activities.