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Upper urinary tract infections is different from lower ones

Date:2012-08-24 click:

Dear Doctor: My mother was discharged from the hospital this past week. She was admitted for a urinary tract infection. She has had many urinary tract infections in the past, and they were all treated as an outpatient. Why was hospitalization needed this time? — J.J.

 
ANSWER: The term “urinary tract” covers a considerable amount of ground. The kidneys, the ureters (the tubes that carry urine to the bladder), the urinary bladder and the tube that drains it — the urethra — are the four parts of the urinary tract. Your mother’s past urinary tract infections most likely were bladder infections. The official name for those infections is cystitis. People usually are treated for cystitis as outpatients.
 
Kidney infections, on the other hand, are much more serious, much more difficult to treat and carry with them the possibility of permanent damage. These infections most often are treated with intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Such infections have the name pyelonephritis (PIE-uh-low-neff-RIGHT-iss).
 
Bladder infections make a person uncomfortable, require frequent urination and might induce a slight rise in body temperature.
 
With a kidney infection, people take to their bed, have a high temperature, often develop shaking chills, and suffer flank pain. This is the kind of urinary tract infection you mother recently had.

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