When you ask me, “What is the treatment of a kidney infection?” We’ve got to get this right here. Are we talking about an infection in the kidney itself, which is actually quite serious, it’s called pyelonephritis or a bladder infection, which is called cystitis? Let’s start with cystitis ’cause it’s far more common and it’s more common in women than men because it’s easier for organisms to get into the bladder in women than men particularly after sexual intercourse. And women described this as having to pass razorblades. Incredibly painful condition.

And it’s over-treated with antibiotics in Australia. So more fluids probably neutralise the acid there with one of these alkalizing agents. And then there’s an antibiotic called trimethoprim, which is a basic antibiotic. It’s not fancy. And you take one tablet a day for I think, five or seven days. And that’s the recognised treatment for cystitis, not some fancy new, powerful antibiotic.

If the infection is in your kidney, you need to be investigated properly. And that needs to be treated very seriously indeed and very careful consideration given to antibiotics.

Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist

Last Reviewed: 14/09/2020

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