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Kidneys are one of the most vital organs of the body. These bean-shaped organs are responsible for filtering the waste products and flushing out the toxins from the blood, producing urine and maintaining the fluid level in the body.
Kidney or renal infection also termed pyelonephritis is one of the major causes of kidney failure. Once your kidney fails, the entire body functioning gets paralysed. Hence, getting the correct treatment for kidney infection is highly essential in order to prevent kidney failure and in keeping it healthy .
So what actually causes kidney infection? It is the bacteria that is generally found in the bowel, which causes infection in the kidneys . The bacteria enter through the urinary tract and then infects the bladder and the kidneys. The symptoms of a kidney infection usually appear two days after infection and may vary depending on your age.
The common symptoms include pain in your abdomen, back, groin, nausea or vomiting, a feeling that you have to urinate, bad-smelling or cloudy urine, chills and fever. If not treated on time, kidney infection will lead to kidney failure (sepsis) over a period of time. Hence, getting the correct treatment to prevent and manage kidney infection is crucial .
Apart from antibiotics, which are the first line of treatment for kidney infections, there are certain effective home remedies. The best part about home remedies is that it does not have any side-effects . Here is a list of top home remedies that help manage and prevent the onset of kidney infections.
Garlic is one of the most effective home remedies that help in cleansing the kidneys by flushing out the salt and other waste in the urine. Garlic has diuretic properties that help in keeping the kidney diseases at bay . Including garlic to your diet helps in alleviating the symptoms of kidney infection. Garlic contains allicin that is rich in anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties that help in warding off the infection .
How to use: You can add garlic to daily foods or consume 2-3 garlic cloves every day.
Turmeric is another effective remedy to treat kidney infections as the spice helps speed up the recovery process. Dr Sneha adds, turmeric contains an ingredient called curcumin that is antifungal in nature and helps in inhibiting the growth of the microbes that cause kidney infections. Further, turmeric solution helps in stopping the growth of bacteria or microbes .
How to use: You can add turmeric to daily foods.
Caution: Too much turmeric may increase the risk of kidney stones.
Ginger helps in treating kidney infections naturally and effectively. The herb contains gingerols that are laden with antibacterial properties. This helps in stopping the bacterial growth in the kidneys .
How to: You can drink a cup of ginger tea every day or chew on pieces of ginger.
Caution: Don't consume more than 4 grams of ginger a day, in any form. People with heart conditions, diabetes, and gallstones should refrain from consuming ginger.
4. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is an excellent remedy to treat all sorts of kidney and urinary tract infections . A go-to for urinary tract infections, cranberry juice helps avoid the growth of bacteria on the bladder's walls and prevent an attack on the kidneys, informs the Expert.
How to use: Drinking two glasses of cranberry juice every day.
Caution: You can consume cranberry juice without added sugar as a sweetened one can decrease the benefits of cranberry juice and lead to other health problems.
5. Parsley Juice
Parsley juice is known to be an effective remedy to treat kidney infection. Parsley is an incredible source of nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, sodium, potassium, thiamine, copper and riboflavin and hence helps in the prevention of kidney disease .
How to use: Take dried or freshly cut parsley, boil it in water for five minutes and strain. Cool the drink before consuming. You can add lemon juice and honey.
6. Apple Juice
The high acid content in apples may help the kidneys to maintain acidity in the urine, preventing further growth of bacteria. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial in helping the kidneys to heal following the infection, is also a bonus.
How to use: Consume 1-2 apples every day or drink two glasses of apple juice every day.
If you suffer from a kidney infection, it is crucial to keep yourself hydrated. Water helps in getting rid of the toxins, waste, infectious agents, etc., from the kidneys through the urinary tract in the form of urine . This helps in the faster elimination of the infection and also prevent UTIs that can lead to kidney infections .
How to: Drink at least eight glasses of water/fluids daily.
8. Herbal Tea
Herbal tea is known to be an amazing remedy to treat kidney infections. Beverages like chamomile tea, hibiscus tea, green tea, etc., also help to keep off several kidney diseases at bay .
How to use: It is recommended to drink this tea twice in a day for better results. This is one of the best natural remedies to prevent a kidney infection.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid and anti-bacterial properties that can manage kidney infections. It also prevents the urinary bladder infection spreading into the kidneys and promotes a speedy recovery. This home remedy is also beneficial for preventing oxidative kidney injury .
How to use: Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with a glass of water regularly till the pain subsides. You can also mix apple cider vinegar with honey, add two tablespoons of apple cider and honey equally and mix well.
Caution: Too much apple cider vinegar can cause weakened tooth enamel, increased acid reflux and nausea.
10. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can be used for the prevention of kidney infection as well as kidney diseases. Aloe vera helps in flushing the toxins, waste, infectious agents and other particles from the body .
How to use: You can drink aloe vera juice once every day for kidney infections. To make the juice, remove all green peel and cut into one-inch cubes. Add the five cubes to a mixer and two glasses of water; blend until the aloe crystal has been fully incorporated. You can add lemon juice for flavour.
Caution: While aloe gel is generally safe when used as recommended, continuous oral use of aloe latex can cause kidney damage and might be fatal.
11. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps increase the levels of bicarbonate in the kidney and hence, helps in relaxing and promoting the kidneys' function. It is believed that baking soda can help detoxify the kidneys by helping them to filter better, Dr Sneha adds .
How to use: Add half or one spoon of baking soda in 1 cup of water. Drink this solution during the day.
Caution: Excessive consumption of baking soda can lead to seizures, dehydration and kidney failure.
12. Vitamin C-rich Foods
Increase in vitamin C helps in balancing the acidic levels in the body. It is also a beneficial solution that helps you treat kidney infection naturally. Vitamin C also helps in stopping bacterial growth. Eating oranges and other citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C are recommended to prevent kidney infection. It is one of the best remedies known for kidney infection .
How to use: You can take vitamin C supplements or foods rich in vitamin C such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, spinach, cabbage, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
13. Epsom Salt
Epsom salts can help ease the pain caused by kidney infections. An Epsom salt bath can detoxify your body and help rid any waste or bacteria, further improving the condition of your kidneys. The high level of magnesium in Epsom salt aids in relieving the infection and providing relief .
How to use: For the bath, add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a standard size bathtub filled with warm or hot water and relax in it for 15-30 minutes.
What Are Other Measures That Help Treat Kidney Infection?
In addition to the herbs, spices and fruits, there are other measures that can help treat a kidney infection. However, these are extra measures in addition to the primary treatment of kidney infections. You can use non-aspirin pain relievers to relieve discomfort.
Applying heat: Heat therapy can help relieve the pain caused by kidney infections. Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to the affected area, and keep it on for about 15-20 minutes at a time .
Maintaining a proper diet: You need to follow a restricted diet if you suffer from a kidney infection. It is recommended not to consume a diet rich in glucose or sugar. The reason being, sugar can make the bacteria develop. You need to avoid foods like biscuits, cakes, chocolates, alcohol, and aerated drinks .
Consume probiotics: Probiotics are essential in the management of kidney infections. They help keep your body's healthy bacteria in check and assist the kidneys in processing waste materials. Consuming probiotics such as kefir, yoghurt, sauerkraut etc. can improve the effectiveness of infection healing as well .
Maintaining proper hygiene: Proper hygiene is necessary to treat kidney infections. This will keep off several infections in the kidney, bladder and urethra. Patients with an infection should also maintain proper hygiene to prevent the spreading of harmful bacteria to the other parts of the body .
Urinating frequently: Frequently urinating also helps in getting rid of the harmful bacteria, free radicals and viruses from the body through urine. This helps in getting rid of the kidney stones and other kidney diseases as well. In order to urinate frequently, you'll have to keep yourself hydrated with water and fluids regularly .
Note: However, do not force yourself to urinate.
Foods And Habits To Avoid For Kidney Infection
- Avoid alcohol and coffee, as the caffeine would require extra work from the kidneys and may hinder the process of healing from infection .
- Avoid using synthetic undergarments or tight-fitting clothes.
- Citrus juice and sodas can aggravate kidney infection symptoms.
- Foods high in phosphorus such as milk, whole grains, nuts, chocolates, beans, peas, lentils and organ meats should be avoided until the infection is cured.
When To See A Doctor
If you find bloody urine or if you suspect a kidney infection due to pain and other symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.
On A Final Note…
Kidney infections are severe health conditions that require proper medical attention and care. Please keep in mind that the aforementioned home remedies can be used as a complementary treatment to help ease other symptoms, but make sure you ask your doctor before using them to avoid any complications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can kidney infections go away on their own?
A: No. You need to consult a doctor as soon as the symptoms develop.
Q. What is the best drink to flush your kidneys?
A: Juice made from beetroot, watermelon, lemon, cranberry, pumpkin and ginger are good for flushing out toxins from your kidneys.
Q. What can you do to relieve kidney pain?
A: The easiest ways are, applying heat, using pain relievers and drinking plenty of water.
Q. What should I eat if I have a kidney infection?
A: Some of the best foods for people with kidney disease are cauliflower, blueberries, sea bass, red grapes, garlic, olive oil, egg whites etc.
Q. How can I clean my kidneys naturally?
A: Drinking plenty of water, foods that support kidney health, kidney-cleansing teas and supportive nutrients.
Q. What should you not eat with a kidney infection?
A: As mentioned before, avoid foods such as canned foods, dairy, soda, citrus juice, caffeine etc.
Q. What is the best medicine for kidney infection?
A: Commonly used antibiotics for kidney infections include ciprofloxacin or co-amoxiclav. Trimethoprim is also sometimes used. Painkillers such as paracetamol can ease pain and reduce a high temperature caused by kidney infections.
Q. Where does it hurt when you have a kidney infection?
A: Pain and discomfort in your side, lower back or around your genitals.
Q. How long do kidney infections last?
A: In mild cases, you will start feeling better in the first 1 or 2 days. It may take several days if you have a more severe infection.
Q. What is a severe kidney infection?
A: Acute pyelonephritis is a sudden and severe kidney infection. It causes the kidneys to swell and may permanently damage them.
Q. How did I get a kidney infection?
A: Bacteria that enter your urinary tract through the tube that carries urine from your body can multiply and travel to your kidneys. In addition to this, bacteria from an infection in some other part in your body also can spread through your bloodstream to your kidneys, causing an infection.
Q. Can you get rid of a kidney infection without antibiotics?
A: Mild kidney infections may be managed by drinking plenty of water and trying some home remedies.
Q. When should you go to the hospital for a kidney infection?
A: You should see your doctor if you have a fever and persistent tummy, lower back or genital pain, or if you notice a change to your usual pattern of urination.
Q. How painful is a kidney infection?
A: It can be quite painful and restrict you from carrying out your day to day activities
Q. Is yoghurt good for kidney infection?