A kidney infection will develop if Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, attacks the lower part of the urinary tract and spreads to the upper section of the urinary system. The kidneys are located in this upper area. Patients who suffer from kidney infections may experience various symptoms including pain and lethargy. Urination may either be irregular or quite painful.
A kidney infection can be prevented by targeting the bad bacteria that causes the infection. This is typically done medically by the use of medical or natural therapies. Natural remedies can be used to support antibiotic medicines and can help alleviate kidney pain and discomfort. Essential oils can be used that fight the infection and prevent it from returning.
Signs and Symptoms
Another name for a kidney infection is pyelonephritis. Pyelonephritis is classified as a type of urinary tract infection or UTI. It usually starts in the area of the urethra or bladder before it settles in one or both kidneys.
If the infection is not treated, the infection can damage the kidneys permanently and cause the bacteria to spread throughout the bloodstream. This can lead to an infection that is life-threatening.
Signs and symptoms associated with pyelonephritis include the following:
- Fever and chills
- Groin pain or pain in the side or back
- Abdominal pain
- A need to urinate frequently
- A burning or painful sensation during urination
- Vomiting and nausea
- Blood or pus in the urine (known as hematuria)
- Cloudy-appearing urine that has a bad smell
If you have already been treated with a urinary tract infection and it is not improving, you need to contact a doctor immediately. You also need to make a medical appointment if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. Do not delay calling a medical professional, especially if urination is painful and there is blood in the urine.
Causes of Kidney Infection
A kidney infection develops when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the channel that transports the urine through the body. An infection that is elsewhere in the body can also spread through the blood and into the kidneys. Sometimes a kidney infection may develop after a kidney procedure, although this occurrence is rare.
Some Facts about Kidney Infection
The risk of getting a kidney infection is greater if you are a woman. That is because the urethra is shorter in a woman than it is in a man. This makes is simpler for bad bacteria to get inside the body and into the bladder.
The proximity of the urethra to the anus and vagina makes it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder. Once the bacteria get inside the bladder, it can easily settle in the kidneys.
Pregnant women are usually at the highest risk of getting kidney infections.
A blockage in the urinary tract can lead to a kidney infection. A kidney stone is a type of obstruction that is usually to blame for this type of occurrence. In men, an enlarged prostate gland can lead to pyelonephritis.
Any medical condition that weakens the immune system can also cause an infection in the kidneys. Conditions that impair immune system functioning include HIV or diabetes. Certain medications may also affect the immune system, such as medications used to prevent the rejection of a recently transplanted organ.
Spinal cord damage can prevent a patient from feeling the sensations of a bladder infection, which can ultimately lead to an infection of one or both kidneys.
The use of a urinary catheter can lead to the development of a kidney infection.
One condition, known as vesicoureteral, causes the urine to flow backward and settle in the kidneys. When this happens, an infection in the kidneys can develop.
When left untreated, a kidney infection can lead to certain complications. Kidney scarring can result, which can lead to high blood pressure, kidney disease, or kidney failure. Septicemia or blood poisoning may cause complications as well. Women who are pregnant with kidney infections possess an increased chance that their babies will be a lower birth weight at delivery.
To diagnose a person with a kidney infection, doctors often need a blood test and a urine sample. A urine sample can reveal bacteria as well as blood or pus in the urine while a blood test can indicate whether the infection has spread further into the bloodstream.
In some cases, doctors may require a CT scan, an ultrasound or an x-ray to diagnose the infection. People who experience recurring kidney infections might be referred to a nephrologist or a urologist.
Treatment also depends on the type of infection.
The treatment for uncomplicated acute pyelonephritis usually involves treatment with oral antibiotics. The specific type of medicine and the dose depends on the strain of bacteria present.
For complicated acute pueloneohritis, you are likely to require hospitalization. Treatment typically depends on underlying cause as well as any complications present. If an infection has already spread into the bloodstream, antibiotics may be administered intravenously along with fluids.
Essential Oils for Kidney Infection
While you can use various essential oils to treat a kidney infection, the following oils are recommended as the best for this purpose. These oils are known to prevent and help cure an infection of the kidneys.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most popular and diverse essential oils bringing an array of medicinal benefits from freshening the breath to improving mental clarity and soothing muscular pain. It is also among the best essential oils for anyone looking for a natural painkiller. (1)
You can dilute your peppermint essential oil with a suitable carrier oil and massage it into your abdomen for instant pain relief. While the majority of the clinical studies into peppermint oil’s pain relieving actions have focused on headaches, it has also been indicated for fibromyalgia and muscular pain. (2)
You could also use an enteric coated peppermint essential oil supplement to relieve pain, bloating or gas. While these are typically used to ease IBS symptoms, they can also relieve abdominal pain or back pain caused by a kidney infection.
Thyme Essential Oil
This essential oil comes from the leaves and buds of the thyme plant, an evergreen herb that is a part of the mint family. Thyme oil is made up of antibacterial substances such as camphene and caryophyllene.
When using this oil, it is best to apply a few drops to the bath. Soak in the bath water for approximately 20 minutes. This should be done each day until the infection subsides. Alternatively, dilute your thyme oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil and massage it into your abdomen several times a day.
Cypress Essential Oil
This essential oil is known for its diuretic properties. Use the oil to flush out additional urine, toxins, and waste. The oil is also known as a bactericide and is useful for eradicating bad bacteria. Cypress essential oil is can be diffused or applied as a massage oil as long as it is diluted first. Because it can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction, it should not be used by children or pregnant women.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil is extracted from the Boswellia carteri tree. It is known for boosting the immunity and preventing the excess of harmful bacteria in the kidneys. This wonderful, healing oil may help you recover quickly form a kidney infection and can help ease your pain and discomfort.
Try adding 10 or so drops to your bath and allowing the oil to soak into your body. Alternatively, you can dilute the oil with a carrier oil and massage it into your abdomen two or three times a day.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil, which is extracted from lemongrass leaves, is an all-in-one oil. It can be used as an analgesic, antibacterial, diuretic, or antipyretic. That is why the oil is considered highly beneficial by alternative health and medical practitioners.
Not only does the oil relieve pain but it stimulates urination, fights infection, reduces a patient’s fever, and stops further microbial development. Lemongrass oil is considered safe for topical use but should not be used by pregnant women .
Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil is considered an anti-inflammatory, sedative, and antiseptic and helps fight a kidney infection. You can create a solution by combining the oil with tea tree oil and juniper oil. Apply the mixture of oils to the site where relief and healing are needed. This oil should not be used to excess, especially by pregnant women.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree essential oil is a very popular oil from Australia with a wide range of potential uses. Studies into tea tree oil have found that it is has excellent antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and it is considered safe for topical use. (3)
It can help prevent an inflammation of the urethra and any bacterial buildup in the urinary tract. Add the water to the bath or combine it with another essential oil to create a soothing solution. This oil or a mix can be applied to the affected area. If the oil is ingested, it can cause confusion, rashes, or even a coma.
Clove Essential Oil
Clove oil is a very powerful essential oil with extremely good antibacterial effects. While its effects against kidney infection have not been studies, a study published in 2016 suggests that the oil was effective against E-coli and was especially effective against antibiotic resistant bacteria. (4)
Clove oil also has natural pain killing effects. try massaging some diluted clove oil into your abdomen to soothe the pain of your infection.
Juniper Berry Essential Oil
This oil is excellent for use in keeping the urinary tract healthy and free of bacteria. Juniper berry oil naturally cleanses the genital area and prevents the formation of harmful bacteria.
While the oil is not toxic, it should never be ingested. It is not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or people who already have kidney disease.
How to Use Essential Oils
Most of the essential oils that are used for treating a kidney infection are diluted with a carrier oil and massaged into the abdomen several times a day. You can also add 10 to 15 drops of your chosen essential oil to your bath water and let the oil soak into your body for 20 minutes or so. You can use your chosen oil alone or in combination with each other to boost their infection-fighting properties.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
Before applying essential oils, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil. When used alone, essential oils can be extremely powerful and may cause a skin reaction. There are a number of excellent plant-based carrier oils to choose from. Among the most popular are oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil and sweet almond oil but there are many more.
Other Home Remedies
As well as the essential oils covered in this article, there are various other things you can try in the comfort of your own home.
Apply Some Heat: The Mayo clinic recommends that you apply heat with a heating pad to the abdomen or your back and sides in order to relieve the pain and discomfort of a kidney infection. You should not use a heating pad for longer than 20 minutes during any session. Make sure that you give your skin time to rest for an hour or so before applying it again. Never go to bed with a heating pad since it could cause severe burns or even cause a fire.
Stay Well-Hydrated : If you are battling a kidney infection, it is crucial that you drink plenty of water and stay properly hydrated. Your urine flushes waste from the blood from your body. Try consuming at least 80 fluid ounces of fresh water each day. Herbal teas are also a great and extremely healthy way to make sure that you stay hydrated. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine as they will have the opposite effect.
Rest and Sleep Well : According to research, sleeping well is among the best things you can do for yourself in order to fight an infection. (3) While easier said than done, trying to get a minimum of 8 hours quality sleep a day can improve your health in general and help your body fight the kidney infection. Natural sleep aids like herbal tea and lavender essential oil may help.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you prevent a kidney infection from occurring or recurring?
You should drink plenty of water as water can flush bad bacteria from the body. Also, urinate when you have to urinate. Do not delay it if you can. Make sure that you wipe from front to back after urination or after a bowel movement. Doing so will prevent the spread of bacteria to the urethra.
What essential oil is best for a pregnant woman?
A number of essential oils are considered safe for topical use when a woman is pregnant. However anyone who is pregnant should consult with her doctor first before applying EO treatments. While the oils are organic and natural, they can cause allergies and other conditions to surface.
To make sure that you use the right essential oil, first test its use. Because EOs can cause irritations or allergies, they should only be applied as advised. Carry out a patch test on the skin first and do not use an EO if you are pregnant. You should first check with your doctor. The best oil to use in the bath is thyme oil while a few drops of the other oils should be applied to the affected site.
If you want to alleviate kidney symptoms, make sure that you drink plenty of water and use essential oils as indicated. Talk to your doctor first before embarking on this type of natural treatment. Essential oils support the use of antibiotics for therapy. Both are helpful in ridding the body of infection and purifying the bloodstream.