Kidney infections are unpleasant, but they are eminently curable. Kidney infections are actually just another type of urinary tract infection.
Like most infections, they can be dealt with using antibiotics and antibacterial medicines. They can also be treated using herbs and other things you can get from your own pantry.
Before we get to some home remedies for them, though, we should discuss their origins first. That way, we can better understand how to avoid them in the first place. As most people know, prevention is better than a cure.
How Do Kidney Infections Happen?
The kidney infection usually happens when E. coli bacteria travel up the urinary tract. Take note that these are not the same E. coli that fill up hospitals after outbreaks that are reported by the evening news. Rather, they are the same E. coli strain that we naturally possess in our digestive tract.
Even if our digestive system contains these bacteria, though, other parts of our body do not—and they are not meant to, either. Thus, when E. coli manages to make its way up the urinary tract, it can cause problems. It can travel from there into the urinary bladder and eventually into the kidneys. As it is foreign to those areas and the urinary system, an infection sets in.
- A kidney infection is often caused by poor hygiene. Ironically, what some people think of as hygiene may worsen the risk of it happening too. Washing your genital area too often with strong soaps can actually increase the odds of a kidney infection because your ablutions can strip the urethra of its protective mucus.
Some people are at more risk for it than others because of biology as well. Women are at greater risk than men, for example, partly because they have shorter urethras and the E. coli has a shorter distance to travel from the exterior of the body up to the bladder.
- Preventing a kidney infection means minding your personal hygiene. You can reduce the risks of it occurring too by urinating whenever you feel the urge (not holding it in too long, that is) and staying properly hydrated.
Once the infection has occurred, though, your goal should be to both cure and manage it so it does not get worse. You can do this by following traditional treatments, which often means antibiotics.
- If you are averse to using too much of those, though, you can also use naturopathic and herbal solutions. A lot of kidney disease food plans can work well for kidney infection sufferers. “The Kidney Disease Solution”, for example, is primarily for CKD patients but contains useful information for those with kidney infections too.
As for the pain, you can take standard painkillers to help you with it. If you would prefer to do without these, though, you can also use things like heating pads to press against the parts of your body that are aching due to the infection.
Home Remedies You Can Try for Your Kidney Infection
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is a marvelous health supplement that everyone should have in the pantry. This vinegar contains a lot of malic acid, which is a powerful antibacterial substance. Its high acidity prevents the growth of bacteria, which can help limit the E. coli currently causing your discomfort. You can simply mix it with water (2 tablespoons per glass) and drink that down.
- Vitamin C – This is generally something you want to get a lot of no matter what infection you have. It would be wise to ask your doctor for the correct dosage of Vitamin C you should be getting, though. This vitamin has the capacity to stabilize the acidity of your urine, which will further hamper the bacteria in your system.
- Turmeric – This is yet another antibacterial kitchen staple that can be used to counteract infections. It gets its antibacterial property from the substance curcumin, which is also an antifungal compound. You can take turmeric in supplement form or simply add it to your food for a tastier method of delivery.
- Ginger – Like turmeric, ginger possesses an antibacterial component: it is called gingerol. You can extract it easily by brewing the ginger into a warm, spicy tea that you may find soothing on your throat as well. Alternatively, you can use the ginger in your cooking or make a ginger-based soup.
- Garlic – Garlic is an antibacterial and antifungal herb. This is because of the allicin within it. Allicin also has antioxidant properties, which can help with kidney health. The best type when it comes to health benefits is raw garlic. If you dislike having its taste on your tongue and throat, though, you have alternatives. There are easily-swallowed garlic capsules, for example.
- D-mannose supplements – D-mannose is actually the ingredient in cranberry juice that helps to flush out bacteria in the urinary tract. It works by filling the urine with a substance that E. coli want to latch to, which means that when the urine goes through the urethra, it manages to sweep away the E. coli formerly sticking to the urinary tract’s walls. If you cannot find D-mannose supplements, you can take cranberry pills or cranberry juice instead. If you do go for the latter, make sure that it is unsweetened and 100% natural.
- Water – Yes, water can be a home remedy for kidney infections. The more of it you drink, the faster your urine can flush out the bacteria in your system. So get your recommended number of glasses each day!
Are There Things You Should Avoid When Trying to Deal With a Kidney Infection?
As we already stated above, you may want to avoid stripping your urethra of its mucosal lining by washing your genital area too often for the moment.
Another thing to avoid is downing too much sugar: sugar encourages bacterial development since it acts as a fuel for them.
The same goes for phosphorus-rich foods, since the infection will have the kidneys on sub-optimal performance and phosphorus gives them more filtration duties to do.