Is it a Kidney Infection or a UTI?

Urinary Tract Infection

For many people, bathroom time is tough to talk about. But when a urinary tract infection (UTI) is causing painful trips to the potty, relief can’t come fast enough. And if your UTI occurs in the kidneys, fast treatment can mean the difference between a full recovery and permanent organ damage.

While it may feel like all UTIs are the same – they’re all pretty miserable – they aren’t created equal. UTIs and kidney infections have different locations, causes, and treatment plans that set them apart. But because the symptoms are so similar, deciding which you have can be difficult. Luckily, we have some tips to help you reach the right diagnosis.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria enters a part of your urinary tract–the bladder, urethra, ureter, uterus, or kidneys. If the body is unable to flush the bacteria back out, it can multiply quickly and cause an infection. UTIs are incredibly common, affecting millions of people each year, and typically occur in the bladder or urethra.

Most UTIs are caused by E.Coli, a common bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract. Other causes include sexual intercourse, poor hygiene, underlying conditions, and some forms of birth control.

Symptoms of a UTI are painful and uncomfortable, but typically harmless. They often come on suddenly and can include:

  • Strong and frequent urges to urinate, often with little urine output
  • Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • Urine with a cloudy color and/or strong smell
  • Pelvic Pain

Some UTIs may clear up on their own, but treatment is recommended to prevent unwanted complications and relief from symptoms. Most UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics and increased fluids. Over-the-counter medications can provide relief from severe or bothersome symptoms.

Kidney Infections

Like other UTIs, kidney infections are caused by bacteria. They usually occur when lower UTIs are left untreated, allowing bacteria to spread upward to the kidneys. In rare cases, they can also be caused by a urinary obstruction such as a kidney stone or enlarged prostate. Unlike other UTIs, kidney infections are relatively rare and potentially dangerous, especially in high-risk or vulnerable patients.

The symptoms of a kidney infection are often more severe than other UTIs. In addition to urinary symptoms, a kidney infection can cause:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lower back or flank pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Kidney infections require prompt treatment to prevent permanent kidney damage. Untreated kidney infections can also spread to other parts of the body, causing a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect a kidney infection, seek medical treatment immediately. Most kidney infections respond well to antibiotics.

Suspect a UTI? Urgent Care of Fairhope Can Help.

Urgent Care of Fairhope routinely treats UTIs in our convenient Fairhope walk-in clinic. Our newly-built facility and expert medical team have the tools to test, diagnose, and treat your infection quickly and efficiently. If you’re suffering with symptoms of a UTI or kidney infection, visit our Fairhope location at any time during operating hours for fast, friendly care. You can even check the waitlist online to time your visit to perfection!

Published On: March 16, 2023Categories: Health News0 Comments

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