Kidney and urinary tract diseases

Kidney and urinary tract diseases, such as urinary tract infections, usually originate from infections or the build-up of crystals in the urine. Typical symptoms of kidney and urinary tract diseases include kidney stones or cystitis. Kidney stones can occur throughout the entire urinary tract. Inflammation occurs in the urethra, bladder or ureter.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of kidney and urinary tract diseases include:

  • pain or a burning sensation when passing urine
  • frequent urination/frequent urge to urinate 
  • constant urge to urinate
  • foul-smelling urine and urination problems
  • blood in the urine
  • fever and shivering (in the case of pyelonephritis)

Urinary stones and kidney stones often cause severe pain in the back and lower abdomen.

Types of infection

There are three different types of UTI.

The most common infection is cystitis, which is caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli. This bacterium is normally located in the intestine, but can enter the ureter via the intestinal flora and spread through the urinary tract. Cystitis causes an infection of the urinary system and is often associated with urethritis (inflammation of the urethra). 

Infectious urethritis is an infection of the urethra. In most cases, this is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). 

Pyelonephritis is a more serious disease in which the kidney tissue becomes inflamed. In addition to the normal symptoms of cystitis, it is accompanied by a high fever and severe pain in the lower back. 

Treatments

Urinary tract infections such as cystitis are generally treated via a course of antibiotics.

Both conservative and surgical treatments are used to treat urinary tract or kidney stones. Small stones can be excreted via the urine. As symptoms occur while the stone moves through the ureter, painkillers may be the remedy of choice. If the stone cannot be excreted, it can be broken down using shock wave therapy or removed with the aid of endoscopic surgery.

FAQs

What causes urinary tract infections?

Around three quarters of all urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria. Poor or incorrect intimate hygiene can promote the spread of the bacteria, as can not drinking enough water.

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Pain in the kidney area, increased urge to urinate, problems passing urine and blood in the urine may indicate the presence of kidney stones.

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