What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Kidney Infections in Men?

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Kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, is a condition caused by bacteria that get into the urethra and travels up the urinary system into the kidneys. Infection of the lower urinary system is called urinary tract infection. Men are less susceptible to urinary tract infection than women because they have longer urethras. When infection progresses into the upper urinary components, it is then called kidney infection. The disease can cause general debility and can progress to kidney failure and death if not properly treated.

Symptoms of Kidney Infection in Men

Kidney infection in men occurs when bacteria that usually live in the intestines contaminate the urinary tract and travel up into the kidneys. Symptoms generally begin with painful urination and fever, then fever, chills, pain along the flanks, pain in the lower back, nausea, vomiting and general malaise. The patient may feel quite ill. Long-standing kidney infections can occur, with pain and fever that comes and goes. In older men, however, there may be none of the usual symptoms of urinary tract infection. Instead, symptoms of delirium, confusion, and blood sepsis may occur.

Signs of Kidney Infection in Men

It is important that men seek medical treatment immediately if any of the symptoms of kidney infection are present. Your physician will look for signs of fever and for tenderness along your sides or lower back and will order a urinalysis to see if there are white blood cells or bacteria in your urine. The physician will determine if you appear to be suffering from general physical debility or mental confusion that might indicate kidney infection.

How Kidney Infection is Diagnosed

To diagnose a kidney infection, the physician takes your medical history and does a physical examination. She will take your vital signs-- pulse, respiration and heart rate--and will look for signs of dehydration and tenderness in your lower or middle back. She will also order a urinalysis to look for bacteria in the urine. Common types of bacteria involved in kidney infection include Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Enterococcus and Staphlococcus saprophyticus.

How Kidney Infection is Treated

If the diagnosis indicates kidney infection, the physician will order an empiric antibiotic that will cover all likely kinds of bacteria involved in the infection. Further blood and urine cultures will be done in the medical laboratory. When the specific bacterium is isolated, your doctor will administer or prescribe the antibiotic that will best eliminate it. Determining the correct bacterium and treating it with the most suitable antibiotic is important in treating kidney infections. Home care is advisable for uncomplicated cases of kidney infection, but if nausea and vomiting are severe or indication of diminished kidney function, hospitalisation may be necessary.

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