Amoxicillin For Kidney Infection

Like a bladder infection, a kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection known as a UTI. Kidney infections typically result from bacteria or viruses infecting your lower urinary tract. The infection then travels to the upper urinary tract and infects one or both of your kidneys.

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What is a kidney infection?

Your body has natural defenses to fight infections and defend against UTIs and kidney infections. Your immune system works to find and attack infection-causing germs and bacteria that invade the body. In addition, urine normally flows through your urinary tract in one direction.

The flow of urine from your kidneys to your bladder helps flush viruses or bacteria from your urinary tract before they can reach the kidneys and cause an infection.

Sometimes, your body's natural defense mechanisms fail, and bacteria or viruses cause a UTI that leads to a bladder or kidney infection. In some cases, a kidney infection can occur after surgery. Infections from surgical procedures happen when bacteria enter your body during the procedure, enter your bloodstream, and travel to your kidneys.

Kidney infections can be very painful and lead to serious health problems. If not treated properly, a kidney infection can cause permanent damage, and if the bacteria enters the bloodstream, it can lead to a dangerous infection.

Common symptoms of a kidney infection

Your kidneys are vital to your overall health. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering your blood every minute and removing waste from your body. They also remove excess fluids which exit the body as urine and help to maintain a healthy balance of water, salt, and minerals in your body.

Neglecting the early warning signs of a kidney infection or other kidney problem can have severe consequences. Detecting the signs and symptoms of a kidney infection is simple yet crucial. Symptoms may vary, depending on your age, and commonly include:

  • abdomen, back, groin, or side pain

  • Chills

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • frequent painful urination

  • dark, cloudy, or bad-smelling urine

Kidney infections can sometimes lead to high blood pressure, kidney failure, or chronic kidney disease. You are at a greater risk of developing a kidney infection if you have a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure. However, complications are rare if the condition is appropriately treated with antibiotics.

Older adults who get a kidney infection may have none of the typical symptoms but exhibit problems with thinking, such as confusion, hallucinations, or jumbled speech.

What is amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is one of the most common antibiotics used to treat various bacterial infections. The drug kills bacteria by preventing cell wall formation, which keeps them from growing.

Amoxicillin is an amino-penicillin created by adding an extra amino group to penicillin to help battle antibiotic resistance. Amoxicillin treats many bacterial infections, including tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections.

How and when to take amoxicillin

A healthcare professional will prescribe antibiotics if diagnosed with a kidney infection. They may even start a round of antibiotics that fight the most common bacterial infections before your test results are complete.

While they may provide relief quickly, it's vital to take the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor, or the infection may return. Once your lab tests are complete, your doctor may switch to an antibiotic that specifically treats your type of infection. If your kidney infection is severe, your doctor may require hospitalization.

Amoxicillin is an oral medication available in immediate-release and extended-release tablets. It is also available in chewable tablets and liquid oral suspension. When taken as a suspension, amoxicillin can be mixed with formula, water, juice, and other cold drinks and taken immediately after mixing.

Amoxicillin tablets can be taken with or without food, and extended-release tablets should not be crushed.

In adults, the typical amoxicillin dosage is 750–1750mg daily, divided into three doses and taken every 8–12 hours. Amoxicillin is sometimes prescribed to children over three months of age at 20 to 45mg daily for every kg of body weight, divided into three doses.

Like other antibiotics, it's essential to use amoxicillin correctly to get the most effective treatment when you're sick and protect yourself from antibiotic resistance caused by unnecessary antibiotic usage.

Who can and can't take amoxicillin?

While amoxicillin is safe for most adults and children, the antibiotic is not appropriate for everyone. In deciding to prescribe a medicine, your doctor must weigh the risks associated with you taking it versus the good it will do.

Let your doctor know if you have ever had an unusual or allergic reaction to amoxicillin, penicillin, or other medicine. It's also important to inform your doctor if you have any other allergies, such as foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals.

Other medical conditions may also affect the effectiveness of amoxicillin. For example, if you have severe renal impairment, the effects of amoxicillin may be increased because the medicine stays in the body longer. You should also avoid this antibiotic if you have a viral infection such as mononucleosis.

Also, people with phenylketonuria, also known as PKU, should avoid taking the chewable tablet. Phenylketonuria is a rare disorder that causes a buildup of an amino acid called phenylalanine. While not part of other formulations, phenylalanine is contained in the chewable tablet and can worsen this condition.

You should also ensure your healthcare professional is aware of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you currently take. In some cases, an interaction between your regular medications and amoxicillin can have serious health consequences.

While some medications should not be taken together, in some instances, two medicines may be used together, even if an interaction might occur. For example, clavulanate potassium is often combined with amoxicillin to help prevent certain bacteria from becoming resistant to amoxicillin.

Your doctor may take certain precautions in these cases as the interaction may reduce the effectiveness of either medication or cause unwanted side effects. For example, if amoxicillin is taken with a drug known to cause an interaction, your doctor may change the dose or how frequently you take one or both medicines.

Common side effects of amoxicillin

Although it can be highly effective in treating bacterial infections, like many other drugs, amoxicillin also has a list of potential side effects. However, these side effects are generally mild, with the most common complaints being gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

In rare cases, people prescribed amoxicillin exhibit more severe side effects, including anaphylaxis, skin rash, bleeding, or seizures. If you have any of these symptoms, you must consult with your doctor or another healthcare professional immediately.

Additionally, if you experience severe reactions such as skin rashes or seizures, you stop taking amoxicillin immediately and call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment immediately.

How fast does amoxicillin work for a kidney infection?

Doctors usually prescribe 750–1750mg of amoxicillin daily, to be taken two or three times a day or every 12 or eight hours with or without food. The duration of treatment is typically five to ten days, but how long your treatment lasts depends on the type of infection you have.

You should take amoxicillin precisely as directed on your prescription label at about the same time every day. Take the exact dosage as prescribed and ask your doctor if there is anything about the directions you don't understand.

Unless your doctor says otherwise, you can usually continue your regular diet while taking amoxicillin. Typically you will start to feel better after the first few days of treatment with amoxicillin. However, if your symptoms don't improve after a few days or they get worse, contact your doctor. 

Even though your symptoms may improve in a few days, it's critical not to miss doses or stop taking the medication. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible unless it is almost time for the next dose. Don't take a double dose to make up for a missed one; instead, return to your regular dosing.

If you don't complete the entire course of treatment as directed, amoxicillin may not fully treat your infection. Additionally, the bacteria causing it may become resistant to antibiotics.

The lowdown

Kidney infections are a relatively common issue responsible for most hospital visits for UTIs in the United States. Most kidney infections start as a urinary tract infection that moves upstream to infect one or both of your kidneys. You should seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms of a UTI or kidney infection.

Amoxicillin is a common antibiotic often combined with other medications to treat a kidney infection. Your doctor's diagnosis of your kidney infection will determine the appropriate type and length of treatment. An antibiotic such as amoxicillin is the first line of treatment for most kidney infections.

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