Kidney infections often result from untreated bladder infections. When a bladder infection is left untreated, the bacteria can continue to travel up the urinary tract, until it reaches the kidneys. The symptoms of kidney infection include fever, pain in the abdomen, pain in the back, under the ribs and chills.
There are a few different causes of bladder and kidney infections. E coli and group B strep are common culprits. Certain sexually transmitted diseases can also result in kidney and bladder infections, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. In early pregnancy, most women are tested for these STDs, but they can be contracted during pregnancy as well.
Hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy may make it easier for bacteria to move into the urethra and to the bladder. It becomes easier for bacteria to move up into the urinary tract. From there, it can move to the bladder and, if not treated, continue to the kidneys.
In addition to the physical changes, pregnant women may not empty the bladder completely. This results from the compression of the organs by the growing baby. When the bladder is not completely emptied, it can increase the risk of developing an infection.
A kidney infection is potentially very serious and requires immediate treatment. There is an increased risk of preterm labor with kidney infection. Developmental delays, low birthweight and other complications due to preterm birth.
The treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Antibiotics will be given to treat the infection. In severe cases, the woman may be hospitalized. Treatment in the hospital generally includes IV antibiotics.
In many cases, a low dose of antibiotics will be given for the remainder of the pregnancy. This is done to prevent another kidney infection, which could lead to kidney failure and become life threatening for the mother. The exact treatment will depend on several factors and will be determined by the doctor and medical staff in the hospital. For more on treatment options for kidney infections, click here.