While no one should try to treat a kidney infection with home remedies alone, proper care at home can help to heal a kidney infection with minimal pain. If you suffer from a kidney infection, see a doctor immediately to start antibiotic treatment, and then proceed with the basic home remedies of hydration and pain relief.
Doctors typically prescribe a seven- to 14-day regimen of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin to treat a kidney infection. While these are usually prescribed in oral form to be taken at home, in more severe cases, the patient is admitted to the hospital for antibiotics to be administered intravenously. Because a kidney infection is so potentially dangerous, many physicians prescribe appropriate antibiotics even before they've received the results of the lab tests confirming the presence of the infection.
Adequate hydration is vital while battling a kidney infection to restore the kidneys to their proper function. The water passing through the kidneys helps to wash away the bacteria that cause the infection. Some patients may want to avoid drinking enough water because they experience pain during urination, but that pain only gets worse if insufficient fluids are passing through the system. As long as the urine is dark, the patient isn't getting enough water. Straw-colored urine indicates adequate hydration. Patients should also set aside normal activities in favor of complete rest until all symptoms have disappeared.
Kidney infections can cause a great deal of pain radiating through the abdomen and lower back. In some cases, pain also travels to the side. Use of a heating pad or hot compresses can help relieve the pain to some degree. It's okay to take acetaminophen while fighting a kidney infection, though other painkillers should be approved or prescribed by a doctor. Avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen, since they can cause problems with kidneys that aren't functioning correctly.
A kidney infection cannot be treated solely with home remedies. While typical recovery from a kidney infection — technically diagnosed as pyelonephritis — takes place at home, antibiotics are always required to beat back the infection. Along with antibiotics, however, there are also a number of treatments that can help patients suffering from a kidney infection.
Sometimes, kidney infections are accompanied by some nausea. In addition, nausea can be a side effect of the antibiotics prescribed to treat a kidney infection. Staying hydrated is helpful in fighting the nausea and is vital to replace the fluids lost through vomiting. Patients can use other home remedies such as nibbling on saltine crackers, sticking to an extremely bland diet and taking over-the-counter anti-nausea medication. If nausea continues, a doctor may prescribe further anti-nausea meds, and if vomiting doesn't cease, a patient may be admitted to the hospital to receive fluids intravenously.