Can kidney infections (pyelonephritis) be prevented?

Kidney infections can be prevented by keeping bacteria out of the urinary tract and bladder. Infections in the kidney often start as a lower tract infection in the bladder. By preventing these infections, you may be able to prevent kidney infections.

There are several ways to avoid infection and keep your kidneys healthy. These tips can include:

  • Hydration: It is important to drink adequate fluid (not only water) every day but there is no specific recommendation that applies to every patient.. The amount can change if you have certain medical conditions or live in a particularly hot climate. Talk to your healthcare provider about the recommended amount of water you need each day.
  • Urinate completely: When you need to urinate, empty your bladder completely. Holding in your urine can be harmful and can promote the growth of bacteria. Urinating every several hours can help to flush any bacteria out of your body, protecting it from an infection.
  • Urinate after having sex: Urinating after sex helps to remove any bacteria that may have gotten into the body. Men and women should both do this to prevent infections.
  • Practice good hygiene: Keeping yourself clean can help protect your body from infections. After a bowel movement, wipe from front to back to push bacteria away from the urethra (an opening in the body). This is especially important for women.

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