Kidneys are two bean-like organs, designed to filter the blood, remove toxins and sustain normal levels of electrolytes. They create urine and regulate water balance.
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Generated in kidneys, urine moves then through the tubes called ureters into the sac-shaped bladder.
The bladder is situated in the pelvic area. When it becomes full, muscles that surround this organ contract in order to eliminate urine from the body.
Urethra is a canal, which connects your bladder with environment.
It's not uncommon that infection invade people’s urinary tract, causing inflammation.
In the majority of cases, bacteria rise from the lower urinary tract up to the kidneys, leading to painful condition called pyelonephritis (kidney infection).
It's also possible that infection spreads to the kidneys from the distant body areas through the blood flow.
In healthy people urine flow washes harmful organisms from the body and prevents their entrance to upper urinary tract. But this protective mechanisms fail, if urine flow gets obstructed by kidney stone, too large prostate gland or if a person has certain structural abnormalities.
Actually women are much more vulnerable to kidney infection. It's about our anatomic features. Women have shorter urethra that facilitates travelling bacteria from the outside into the bladder.
Specialists say that pregnancy increases risks for pyelonephritis. The reason is that enlarged uterus presses on the ureters and interferes with normal elimination of the urine. Moreover, pregnant women were found to have dilated ureters that leads to urine reflux.
For those of us who have weakened immune system (HIV infection, diabetes) chances of getting kidney infection are even higher than for others.
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Symptoms of pyelonephritis may vary, depending on severity of disease and your age. Most patients complain of back pain, high fever, nausea, vomiting, aching in the lower abdomen and uncomfortable urination. It's worth paying attention on the changes in the urine. You may notice that it has become bloody, cloudy and smelly.
If left untreated, pyelonephritis may damage your kidneys and significantly impair their function.
There is no home remedy for this condition. Unfortunately, you can't improve infection, applying hot compresses or drinking herbal tea.
The only way to get rid of this serious disorder is taking appropriate antibiotics. Your doctor can prescribe you certain type of these medications, depending on duration of your illness, type of bacteria found in the samples of the urine, and your chronic diseases.
Remember that you shouldn't skip antibiotics and should take the entire course of the medicines, even if you feel really better after the first pill.
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It's extremely important to drink enough fluid, as high fever often leads to dehydration.
If your urinary tract is chronically blocked by the big stone or anatomic abnormality, surgery may be needed to prevent kidney infections.
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