A kidney infection, or Pyelonephritis, is an infection of the kidney and the ducts that remove urine from the kidney. This type of infection will most often occur as a result of a urinary tract infection, as bacteria will travel from the bladder up to the urinary ducts (ureters)and into the kidneys. On occasion, an infection may be the result of bacteria from the blood entering the kidneys.
Pyelonephritis can also be classified as acute, or chronic. Acute is an uncomplicated infection, while chronic is a long lasting infection that does not go away.
The risk of developing a infection in the kidneys is increased if there is a history of bladder infection, kidney stones, renal papillary necrosis, or any blockage of the urine flow. An increased risk also exists for those who have a history of recurrent urinary tract infection. Also, acute pyelonephritis can be very dangerous to the elderly, and those with reduced immune systems.
Testing for kidney infection may include a urinalysis that would reveal white, or red blood cells in the urine. A blood culture to determine if bacteria is present in the blood. There would also be the possibility of an intravenous pyelogram (IVP). This is a type of x-ray specifically designed to study the kidneys, bladder, and ureters.
Just recently, computed tomography (CT) has replaced IVP as the primary tool for a urinary tract evaluation. CT scans are much quicker, and provide additional imaging which may reveal other sources of the patients symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be used to examine the kidneys. The choice of which method would be best is determined during consultation with the doctor.
An infection in the kidneys can usually be treated successfully with oral antibiotics, however some cases may require a short stay in the hospital to receive intravenous antibiotics. The choice of antibiotic used is determined after a urine culture helps identify the bacteria.
Acute symptoms will generally disappear within 2 to 3 days with proper treatment. Chronic symptoms may require long-term treatment with antibiotics. After completing antibiotic therapy, the doctor will probably include a follow up urine culture to ensure that bacteria are no longer present in the urine, and that the kidney infection has cleared.
Copyright ©2007 Carl DiNello
Carl DiNello is an Article Author whose articles are featured on websites covering the Internet's most popular topics.
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