Early detection prevents kidney infection

It’s a simple task—using the restroom—that we do without a second thought.

We often take things for granted. Until there is a curve ball thrown our way, we go about our lives ungrateful for the little things.

If you have experienced the burning sensation that comes during urination, you might relate. This pain is one curve ball that is hard to dodge.

The urinary tract is a complex system that we should thank every now and then. Our kidney, bladder, urethra and ureters are working hard daily to dispel waste and get us on our way. However, sometimes things can go wrong.

Dr. James R. Cantu of the Scott & White Cameron Clinic says we should be aware of one complication called a kidney infection.

What is a kidney infection?

Dr. Cantu explains that a kidney infection is a bacterial infection, also called pyelonephritis.


“It can often start as a urinary tract infection, which is associated with burning with urination, then subsequently spreads to the bladder and then the kidneys.

It often is associated with fever, flank or back pain, and pain with urination,” he says.

What causes a kidney infection?

Our body contains many fluids, like urine, that are normally sterile. However, bacteria may travel from the rectum or vagina into the urine. This is called a urinary tract infection or UTI. Bacteria may then ascend further up the urinary system and cause kidney infections (or an upper UTI).

According to medicine.net, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, urinary catheters, or kidney stones can all be culprits of increasing your chances of infection.

Also, because women have a shorter urethra length, they are more prone to urinary tract infections.

If you have had problems with this, you might consider our methods of prevention. Experts believe proper hygiene, clothing and diet can help you avoid or prevent a kidney infection.

Can I prevent a kidney infection?

Yes! These simple tips can help you avoid the discomfort that can come with urinary complications.

A few recommendations from our health library include:

  • Proper bathing and hygiene
    • Keep your genital area clean and take showers instead of baths
    • Urinate and clean your genital areas before and after sexual activity
    • Avoid products with perfumes or oils in the genital area
    • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom
  • Proper clothing
    • Avoid tight-fitting paints and change your underwear daily
  • Proper diet
    • Drink two to four quarts of fluids daily
    • Drink cranberry juice or use cranberry tablets, but NOT if you have a personal or family history of kidney stones
    • Do NOT drink fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine

What is a potential harm of a kidney infection?

Dr. Cantu explains that a kidney infection can cause significant and permanent kidney damage and can lead to sepsis, which is a very serious infection of the blood.

“See a doctor,” he says. “If you have symptoms of a kidney infection, you should have tests done to see if you need to be treated with antibiotics to avoid any serious complications.”

If you’ve been experiencing these complications, act quickly. Early detection of urinary tract problems better prevent a kidney infection. We want you well, and on your way again.

So yes, a functioning urinary system is one thing we should pause and be grateful for.

Thank you, urinary tract for doing your job—day in and day out. For those who are in pain, contact your primary care provider today to be on your way to a better bathroom experience.

Please share your insights with those who may be looking for more tips. What have you found helps prevent kidney infections?

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I contribute content and skills as a freelance writer for Baylor Scott & White Health. I enjoy improving our connection with our readers, patients and communities by assisting with a wide range of writing projects.

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Early detection prevents kidney infection