Risk Factors of Kidney Infection

Kidney infection do not occur to everybody. It is more common in females, because urinary tract infection (UTI) is common among females. You have higher risk of kidney infection, if you have any of the following factors, or combination of them.

  • If you are a woman, you are at greater risk of kidney infection, in compare to men. This is due to the anatomy of female urinary tract. The female urethra (the channel through which urine is passed out from urinary bladder to outside during urination) is shorter and straighter in compare to men. This lead to easy access of bacteria from outer environment to urinary system and leading to frequent UTIs and ultimately kidney infection. Due to short length, bacteria need to travel less to reach bladder and infect it along with urethra. Another important point is the location of female urethra, which is near the vagina and anus (unlike location of male urethra), which makes it easier to infection, because vagina and anus harbor numerous pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria. Once bacteria enter bladder and start UTI, it can easily enter kidneys to start kidney infection (pyelonephritis).
  • Any obstruction in urinary outflow or incomplete evacuation of bladder (retention of urine after urination leading to high residual urine) can lead to kidney infection. For example, kidney stone, stone impaction in ureter, any structural/anatomical defect in urinary system, enlarged prostate gland in men etc. can lead to kidney infection. Enlargement of prostate gland is very common in men above 55 years of age and risk of kidney infection is also high among them.
  • Prolonged use of urinary catheter increase risk of kidney infection. Urinary catheters (tubes placed to remove urine from bladder) may be placed after surgery. If you are bed ridden, urinary catheter may be used for many weeks, leading increased risk of kidney infection.
  • If immune system is weak due to any reason, such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes or due to medication (for preventing graft rejection after transplantation) can increase risk of kidney infection.
  • If there is damage to nerves that supply the bladder, it can lead to incomplete voiding of urine and high residual urine volume leading to high risk of kidney infection.
  • In certain medical conditions, small amount of urine may backflow from bladder to ureters and kidneys, leading to kidney infection, a condition known as vesicoureteral reflux. Individuals with this condition have frequent UTIs and kidney infection.

If you have any or combination of the above mentioned risk factors of kidney infection, you need to be careful and get medical help to know the ways to prevent kidney infection.


Image courtesy of [cuteimage] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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