Table of Contents
- Kidney infection facts
- What is the function of the kidneys?
- Where are the kidneys located?
- What is a kidney infection, and are kidney and urinary tract infection the same?
- What are the causes of kidney infection?
- What are risk factors for kidney and urinary tract infection (UTI)?
- Is screening recommended for UTI or kidney infection?
- What are the signs and symptoms of kidney infection?
- How is kidney infection diagnosed?
- What are different types of kidney infection?
- What are the common bacteria that cause kidney infections?
- What is the treatment for kidney infection?
- Are there foods I should avoid if I have a kidney infection?
- Can kidney infection be prevented?
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What are the causes of kidney infection?
Urine, similar to other fluids in the body, is normally sterile without any bacterial infection. Therefore, the presence of bacteria in the urine is considered abnormal and may lead to urinary tract infection. Typically, bacteria gain access to the urinary system from outside through the urethra (the drainage tube for urine from the bladder). The bacteria may then ascend in the urinary system and cause kidney infections. Kidney infection (upper UTI) is typically more severe than lower UTI because bacteria may also infect the bloodstream (bacteremia) from the kidneys resulting in a more severe illness.
Bacteria may travel from the rectum or the vagina towards the urethra to gain entry into the urinary system. Other bacteria may enter from the skin. Women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections due to the shorter length of their urethras in comparison to those of men.
Is a kidney infection contagious?
Since kidney infection occurs when bacteria from the genital or anal areas enter the urinary tract, it is typically not contagious.
Gupta, Kalpana, et al. "Urinary Tract Infection." Annals of Internal Medicine 156.5 (2012): ITC3-1.
NIH. Pyelonephritis: kidney infection. Updated Jun, 11 2012.