Back pain: Signs your achy back could be a kidney infection – symptoms to spot

If you suddenly experience back pain, there are other signs you’ll experience that signify that you’ve got a kidney infection. Here’s how to know.

The NHS explained that within a couple of hours – or days – the following can take place: you feel feverish, shivery, sick and have pain in your back or side.

Common symptoms include discomfort in your side, lower back or around the genitals.

You may feel very weak and tired, and may lose your appetite and feel nauseous.

Most kidney infections require antibiotics that can be prescribed for up to 14 days, confirms the NHS.

Painkillers may also be used to relieve symptoms of pain and a high temperature.

The national health body advises anybody experiencing a kidney infection to drink plenty of water to “flush out the bacteria from the kidneys”.

The Mayo Clinic identifies a kidney infection as pyelonephritis – a type of urinary tract infection (UTI).

It typically begins in the urethra (where you pee from) or the bladder, and travels to one or both of the kidneys.

Risk factors for developing a kidney infection include being female. This is because the urethra is shorter in women than it is in men.

This makes it easier for bacteria from outside of the body to move its way along to the bladder.

Possessing kidney stones also increases your risk of developing a kidney infection.

Other risk factors include a weakened immune system, nerve damage around the bladder and using a urinary catheter.

If a kidney infection is left untreated, serious complications can occur as a result.

For example, the kidneys can become scarred, leading to chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure and kidney failure.

Another adverse complication could be blood poisoning – also known as septicaemia.

Septicaemia can occur when the bacteria in the kidneys spreads to the bloodstream.

Reduce your risk of a kidney infection

The Mayo Clinic outlines five ways to reduce your risk of a kidney infection in the future.

The first bit of advice is to drink fluids, especially water, to help flush out bacteria from the body when urinating.

Another tip is to urinate as soon as you feel the urge to – it’s best to avoid delaying urination.

Of course, this isn’t always possible to do when travelling, for example.

Also get into the habit of urinating after intercourse to help clear bacteria from the urethra.

The Mayo Clinic adds that it’s important to wipe carefully (mostly aimed at women), always wiping from front to back after urinating and bowel movements.

This helps prevent the spread of bacteria to the urethra. Women are also advised to avoid douching.

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