A renal or kidney abscess is a pus-filled hole in a kidney that forms when the tissues of that kidney begin to break down due to a bacterial infection. It is a rare disease, but if it is not treated, it may be fatal. If an abscess occurs in the kidney, it is typically the result of a severe kidney infection or a urinary tract infection that was left untreated.
Some people are more prone to kidney abscesses than others. For example, people plagued by kidney stones are often susceptible to the condition. In addition, people with kidney inflammation and urinary tract infections may suffer from the disease if they are not promptly treated. Individuals with abscesses in their skin due to the abuse of intravenous drugs or other health issues may also be at risk for abscesses.
The symptoms of a kidney abscess may vary from person to person. Generally, the affected individual experiences fever, abdominal pain, chills, and weight loss. Many people experience pain when they urinate, and occasionally their urine may have blood in it. Because the symptoms are often similar to other conditions, it may be difficult for medical doctors to diagnose an abscessed kidney.
A series of laboratory tests and x-rays are most helpful in determining whether a kidney abscess is present. For example, many affected individuals have an increased number of white blood cells. In addition, bacteria may be present in the person’s urine or blood, and an x-ray may allow doctors to learn the extent of the infection. Many medical providers may use ultrasound technology or computed tomography (CT) scans to identify a kidney abscess as well.
There are options for treating a kidney abscess. For example, the affected individual may be given antibiotics intravenously or via an IV. If the abscess needs to be drained of pus, the individual might be required to undergo surgery. Some doctors may use a catheter to perform drainage of the abscess as well.
After the abscess has been treated, most doctors will work to treat the cause of the abscess. For example, if a person has kidney stones, the stones will be removed; if a person has a urinary tract infection, it will be treated with antibiotics. To prevent a kidney abscess, it is important to treat all bacterial infections promptly. Any persistent pain, discomfort, or abnormalities of the body should be discussed with a medical professional as soon as possible.