The urinary tract systems of some people are prone to infection. The bladder, the kidneys, the urethra are all parts of the urinary tract system and can all fall victim to infection. Since the symptoms are similar between bladder infections, sometimes referred to as UTIs, and kidney infections, occasionally the two are misdiagnosed. Typically kidney infections are mistook for simple bladder infections that can lead to dangerous, even fatal, complications.
One of the major reasons for the confusion is that kidney infections are usually caused by untreated or under-treated bladder infections. Under-treatment can occur when the treatment used for the infection does not completely kill the bacteria. Kidney infections, if left untreated, can cause kidney failure, blood poisoning, and premature labor in the case of pregnant women. This is why it is very important to know the difference between kidney infection symptoms and the less severe symptoms of a bladder infection.
Bladder infections are relatively harmless unless they turn into kidney infections. The symptoms of a bladder infection include burning while urinating, possible traces of blood in the urine, a feeling of needing to urinate frequently or urgently, and cloudy foul-smelling urine. Doctors will usually prescribe an anti-biotic to get rid of the bladder infection. It is important to take all of the doses suggested by the doctor. Not finishing the anti-biotic may lead to under-treatment and reoccurrence of the bladder infection.
Kidney infections occur when the bacteria in the bladder backs up into the kidneys. Many people who are unfamiliar with kidney infection symptoms mistake their illness as something else, either a bladder infection or possibly the flu. Although kidney infections may be caused by bladder infections, it may be possible to get a kidney infection without having or ever knowing that you had a bladder infection. Common kidney infection symptoms are fatigue, pain low in your back and towards the sides, fever that can be very high, and loss of appetite. The back pain is usually very sharp but it may also be dull and throbbing. In either case, pain in this area of your back is cause for concern.
However, the most telling kidney infection symptom is painful urination. Unlike the burning discomfort you may experience with a bladder infection, urinating with a kidney infection can bring serious pain to a patient. You may also notice a reddish tinge of blood in your urine and a cloudy or foul smell very similar to that of a bladder infection.
If you have any of the above kidney infection symptoms, it is important that a doctor tests you immediately. Kidney infections are especially dangerous for pregnant women, since they can bring about premature labor, but can cause serious and severe complications for anybody who gets one and doesn’t treat it in time.