What Happens If A Kidney Infection Goes Untreated?

Not all of our bodies' organs get the credit they deserve. Take our kidneys for example. Often overshadowed by the lungs and the heart, our kidneys play a crucial role in keeping us healthy. According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidneys play a major role in removing waste, controlling blood pressure, creating red blood cells, and maintaining healthy bones. Yes, these bean-shaped organs are used to taking the backseat. That is until they become affected. In fact, if you have a kidney infection, you're likely thinking about nothing else but your kidneys.

A kidney infection is usually the result of another type of infection. Mayo Clinic reveals that kidney infections tend to emerge from infections in the bladder or urethra — also known as urinary tract infections (UTIs). When a UTI is left untreated, it can travel up to one or both of your kidneys and become a very painful kidney infection. Signs of a kidney infection include abdominal pain, painful burning sensations when you pee, nausea and vomiting, and cloudy foul-smelling urine. If you're experiencing one or more of these symptoms and believe you have a kidney infection, it's time to make an appointment with a medical professional as quickly as possible.

Get treatment for your kidney infection as soon as possible

If a kidney infection goes untreated, it can lead to kidney scarring which increases your risk for more kidney problems in the future, says Mayo Clinic. It can also lead to a deadly condition called septicemia, or blood poisoning. This is because when you have a kidney infection, the bacteria that is causing the infection can travel into your bloodstream. If you're pregnant and come down with a kidney infection, it could be a danger to your baby's birth weight.

To avoid a painful and potentially dangerous infection in your kidneys, be proactive! Since a kidney infection is usually the result of a UTI, take action to treat your UTI before it travels to your kidneys. If one or both kidneys are already infected, see your doctor, who will likely prescribe antibiotics (via WebMD). In the meantime, get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. You can also take acetaminophen and use a heating pad to manage the pain.

Our kidneys are often overlooked, but if you have a kidney infection or another infection that can travel to your kidneys, the last thing you want to do is overlook the signs. Take action to make sure your kidneys stay healthy.  This way, they can keep working hard for your overall health.