Kidney Infection - Treatments

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What is the treatment for kidney infection?

The most important component of treating kidney infection (as with any bacterial infection) is timely initiation of antibiotics under the directions of a health care professional. If kidney infection is diagnosed, then an empiric antibiotic (an antibiotic that would cover all likely bacterial organisms) is usually prescribed. A urine and blood sample will be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis of any bacterial growth (urine culture and blood culture).

When a specific type of bacteria is isolated, antibiotics may then be changed to cover the particular bacteria. If the bacteria shows resistance (unresponsive) to the antibiotic that was initially prescribed, then the antibiotic is changed promptly to one that the organism is susceptible to in order to cure the kidney infection.

Home remedy with oral antibiotics and adequate water and fluid intake are usually sufficient for curing uncomplicated kidney infection and urinary tract infection. Nondrug home therapy with fluid intake, cranberry products, or acupuncture without antibiotics is not advisable for kidney infections.

However, if symptoms are severe (uncontrolled nausea and vomiting resulting in inability to take medications) or the infection is difficult to control with the routine oral remedies for kidney infection, then hospitalization may be required to receive intravenous antibiotics, intravenous hydration, and aggressive management of symptoms. In cases of complicated kidney infection hospitalization may also be necessary.

Self-medication for kidney infection is considered only in patients with mild, recurrent urinary infections. In individuals who are reliable and familiar with the symptoms of kidney infection, appropriate antibiotics prescribed to them in advance by their treating physicians may be started at the onset of their symptoms.

Return to Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)

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Comment from: TLN, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 19

I started with a stomach ache, nausea and vomiting; then the next day felt fine. The third day vomiting again. On the fourth day I went to the doctor who said I have an elevated white count possibly a kidney infection or stone. They sent me home with Cipro after a shot of Rocephin. I went back yesterday, I still have an elevated white count. They gave me Flagyl, and also pain medications and nausea medications. The last 3 days I have flank pain, initially the pain was in the top of my belly now it is in lower abdomen and the left flank. I have had urinary tract infections (UTIs) for as long as I can remember but this kidney thing is awful.

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Comment from: ivyrobin, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

The kidney infection started one morning with pain in my right flank. It was a sore-ish feeling that became worse with walking and bending forward. It wasn't too bad so I didn't think about it much and went on with my day. I went to the gym, and after running about a mile I started feeling a flu-like sickness throughout my whole body. It went away after a couple hours of rest. I had to babysit overnight that evening. After putting the kids to bed, I made myself something to eat but then started feeling very nauseous and opted for a ginger-ale instead. I laid down and hoped it would pass, but it got worse throughout the night. The flu-like feeling came back, I had chills, and could not sleep. I felt the most fatigued and weak I had ever been in my entire life. I had to get the kids ready for school in the morning, and I honestly have no idea how I was able to get through it. I had to sit down many times between getting them dressed and making their breakfast. When their dad came home, he offered me Tylenol so that I would be able to drive myself home. I waited about an hour and felt a little better and drove myself home. I immediately took a nap, which lasted about 2 hours. I woke up feeling a little better. I had planned on going to the beach with my boyfriend and I was lucky my boyfriend's mom was there. Right before we were about to leave, she noticed how pale I looked and how I was not acting like my normal self. She insisted that I stay, and I didn't have the energy to refuse. About 30 minutes after deciding to lay down again, the pain got much, much worse. The flank pain was unbearable, and the body sickness was so bad that I was crying in pain. They took me to the emergency room (ER). The pain just kept getting worse throughout the wait. I was in the worst pain of my life. I felt like I was going to die. Finally, after being called in, I was put on IV and given pain medications. I had a fever of 103. I got a CT scan and x-ray. I was told I had a very high white blood cell count, and I was extremely dehydrated. Apparently my appendix was slightly enlarged, so they thought I had appendicitis. The surgery was scheduled. Luckily another doctor had a second opinion, and it was concluded that I had a kidney infection. Still, they wanted me to stay overnight to monitor me. During the night, my fever went up to 105, which caused alarm, but I don't have a lot of memory of that night. In the morning I was told that they wanted me to stay for at least 3 more days. I told them I could not stay that long because I had school and work. So they sent me home with pain medications and antibiotics. That night was horrible. I was in extreme pain again, went back to the ER, put on stronger pain medications, and then sent home again, only to be in severe pain again. I just waited it out. After about a day I finally started to feel better. After 3 more days I was able to go to school again. Very scary and painful experience.

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