Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection, usually as a complication of a lower urinary tract infection (UTI). Pyelonephritis can be classified as either acute (uncomplicated pyelonephritis), chronic (a long-standing infection that does not clear) or reflux (an infection that occurs in the presence of an obstruction). Pyelonephritis occurs much less frequently than a bladder infection. The risk is increased if there is a history of cystitis or kidney stones. Acute pyelonephritis can be severe in the elderly and in people who are immunosuppressed.
Until you are cured of the infection, avoid foods that might irritate the urinary tract and put undue stress on the kidneys. Food to avoid are alcohol, coffee, salt, black tea, chocolate, carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, vinegar, artificial sweeteners, and sugar are all considered potential irritants.
Prevention Prompt and complete treatment of cystitis, as well as prevention, will help to reduce the chance of getting a kidney infection.
- Urinate as soon as possible when you feel the urge and empty your bladder completely and drink plenty of liquids.
- Women should wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria to the opening of the urethra. The most common bacteria responsible for kidney infections comes from feces.
- Do not wear synthetic underwear that traps heat in the crutch area.
- Empty your bladder after intercourse to flush any bacteria.
- If you use a diaphragm, make sure that it fits properly and only leave it in for the required time - no longer.
- Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, and vaginal deodorants.
The most common cause of pyelonephritis is the backward flow (reflux) of infected urine from the bladder to the upper urinary tract. Bacterial infections may also be carried to one or both kidneys through the bloodstream or lymph glands
from infection that began in the bladder. Kidney infection sometimes results from urine that becomes stagnant due to obstruction of free urinary flow. A blockage or abnormality of the urinary system, such as those caused by stones, tumors, congenital deformities, or loss of bladder function from nerve disease, increases a person's risk of pyelonephritis
. Other risk factors include diabetes mellitus
, pregnancy, chronic
bladder infections, a history of analgesic
abuse, paralysis from spinal cord injury, or tumors. Catheters, tubes, or surgical procedures may also trigger a kidney infection.Reflux nephropathy
is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged by backward flow of urine into the kidney. Urine flows from the kidneys, through the ureters, and into the bladder. Each ureter has a one-way valve where it enters the bladder, preventing urine from flowing back up the ureter.Reflux nephropathy
occurs when these valve-like mechanisms between the ureters and bladder fail, allowing urine to flow back up to the kidney. If the bladder is infected or the urine contains bacteria
, the kidney is exposed to the possibility of infection (pyelonephritis
Because the pressure in the bladder is generally higher than that in the kidney, the reflux of urine exposes the kidney to unusually high pressure. Over time, this increased pressure will damage the kidney and cause scarring.
Reflux may occur in people whose ureters do not extend very far into the bladder. The ureters enter the bladder through "tunnels" in the bladder wall, and the pressure in the bladder normally keeps these tunnels pressed closed. If the bladder wall tunnels are short or absent, pressure within the bladder can force urine back up the ureter.