Kidney Infection Treatment: The Top 10 Home Remedies

Woman in a Garden
October 1, 2013 (Updated: August 22, 2017)
Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

If you’re like most of my patients, kidneys aren’t much of a concern – until something goes wrong. But these hard-working little organs deserve better! The kidneys are responsible for so many important functions, including filtering toxins from your blood.

Here’s a remarkable fact: Every 30 minutes, all the blood in your body travels through the kidneys. Every single day – thanks to your kidneys – more than two quarts of waste are cleared from your bloodstream and removed from the body as urine. Without this vital kidney function, waste would accumulate and serious damage to the organs throughout your body would occur.

Kidneys also…

  • Oversee distribution of important minerals.
  • Regulate the body’s acid-alkaline balance to keep you from becoming too acidic.
  • Manage the body’s fluid levels.
  • Release three essential hormones involved in blood pressure, bone building, and maintaining healthy red blood cells, among their other duties.

When Kidneys Go Wrong

We live in a world filled with chemicals, toxins, and corrosive materials, things that overload our kidneys and force them to work harder than they should. In addition, dehydration remains a problem for the majority of people. If you’re not taking advantage of my detoxification suggestions and drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water every day, you could be putting your own kidneys at risk, as my patient Wendy discovered.

Symptoms of Possible Kidney Problems

  • Back pain, especially when it’s sudden and intense
  • An urgent need to urinate
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen legs, hands, feet, or ankles
  • Blood in the urine or difficulty urinating
  • Bloating
  • Puffy eyes
  • Ridges in fingernails
  • Skin problems
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Metallic taste in the mouth

Infections and kidney stones are two of the most common kidney problems. Generally, infections are due to the bacteria E. coli gaining access to the urinary tract where they can connect with the kidneys. Technically, kidney infection is a form of urinary tract infection (UTI) and is treated with antibiotics.

Kidney stones, on the other hand, are solid, chemical deposits that form inside the kidney. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of kidney stones. A kidney stone can be nearly invisible to the naked eye, as large as a marble, or even bigger.

Tiny kidney stones pass out of the body in the urine, so you’re never aware of those. Larger kidney stones, however, can become lodged in the ureter, a thin tube connecting the kidneys and the bladder. When they become stuck, these stones can cause severe pain in the side or back, blood in the urine, and difficulty urinating. It can take days or even weeks for a kidney stone to pass on its own, so if you’re experiencing kidney stone symptoms, see a health care professional as soon as possible.

In addition, there are three types of serious kidney disease – acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease, and end stage renal disease. (Note: The word “renal” is simply a medical term for kidneys.)

Acute renal failure (ARF) could be due to an injury or ingesting toxic substances. ARF generally responds well to treatment, especially if the kidneys are not severely damaged.

When kidneys gradually lose the ability to function, it is typically due to chronic kidney disease or CKD, the most common type of kidney ailment. Often, there are no symptoms of CKD until the condition has advanced. Then patients could experience numbness and/or swelling in the hands and feet, frequent urination, nausea, anemia, and poor appetite.

Finally, end stage renal disease (ESRD) is a serious condition in which there is no or very little kidney function remaining, and the damage to the kidney is permanent. At this point, a patient is looking at daily dialysis sessions or a kidney transplant.

Kidney cancer, while not common, does seem to be increasing. In the early stages, there are few symptoms. As the cancer advances, symptoms may include blood in the urine, fever that comes and goes, fatigue, back pain, and weight loss. Kidney cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation, and assorted drugs, depending on its location, size, type, and the overall health of the patient.

Ten Steps To Keeping Kidneys Healthy

Now that we’ve looked at the bad news, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s a good side here, too, and it is this: For the most part, the conditions that lead to kidney compromise are avoidable.

Start by asking your health-care professional for blood panel readings of three key measures of kidney health – the BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine levels and your eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) numbers.

The BUN test results measure kidney and liver functions. The healthy range is considered 10 to 20 mg/dL; anything higher may indicate kidney problems.

Similarly, the BUN/creatinine ratio tells your doctor if your kidneys are eliminating waste efficiently. If creatinine levels are elevated, there could be a problem with the kidneys. A healthy BUN/creatinine ratio is between 10:1 and 20:1, although men and older people can be higher and still be healthy.

The eGFR test looks for signs of kidney damage. This is an especially useful test for patients with diabetes and/or high blood pressure, both of which can cause kidney problems. Reading the test scores correctly is very important, though. It’s perfectly normal, for example, for a 16-year-old to have an eGFR of 300 ml/min, while a 60-year-old may score 100 ml/min – yet in both cases the kidneys are fine. A score lower than 60 ml/min, however, indicates that kidney function is impaired.

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Scores from these tests tell you how strong your kidneys are now, and there are other kidney function tests available. Unfortunately, as many as half of all people with kidney problems don’t know they are at risk. Knowing your numbers can help you stay on top of the situation so you can alter any behavior that may be harmful.

Here are additional steps that can help keep kidneys healthy:

1) Hydrate

Staying thoroughly hydrated is the most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones and keep kidneys strong. Water dilutes the urine, and that prevents minerals and salts from clustering together and forming stones. I often recommend that patients who are at risk for kidney stones start the day by drinking fresh lemon juice in a glass of room temperature water.

2) Probiotics

Make certain you have healthy populations of friendly bacteria known as probiotics in your intestines. Studies have shown that these microorganisms are linked to better overall and digestive health, as well as a long list of other benefits. One of those involves assisting kidneys in processing waste materials, as well as reducing the likelihood of developing kidney stones.

A recent clinical trial involving patients with chronic kidney disease found that the group taking probiotics improved kidney function test scores as well as overall quality of life.

3) Eat Less Meat

Go easy on animal protein. Kidney stones are most common in populations that consume a great deal of meat. I suggest aiming for less than 65 grams of animal protein per day, which is just a little more than two ounces.

4) Avoid Phosphorous

Watch your phosphorous intake. You rarely hear about the mineral phosphorous, probably because deficiencies are so rare, especially for anyone eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). And that’s why phosphorous is becoming a problem, particularly for kidneys.

The mineral is found in most foods, but carbonated soft drinks and prepared, processed foods are especially high in phosphorus. You only need 800 mg to 1,200 mg of phosphorus each day; higher amounts are flushed from the body by healthy kidneys.

When kidneys don’t work well, phosphorus accumulates in the body, causing potentially serious conditions, such as bone and heart disorders, as well as calcification (hardening) of tissues. The easiest way to make sure you’re not getting too much phosphorus is to eat a nutritious, whole foods diet and totally avoid any fast and convenience foods.

5) Quit Smoking

Smoking hurts the kidneys, so if that is one of your vices you have to stop.

6) Drink Juice

One of the best ways to support good kidney health is with daily juicing. My favorite is to juice one entire bunch of cilantro or parsley, two herbs that are kidney friendly and help remove heavy metals from the body, mixed with water, lemon juice, and raw, organic honey to taste. If you have not discovered juicing yet, you can also use a greens product that provides a healthy serving of these essential nutrients.

7) Eat These Foods

Stock-up on kidney-supportive foods, including watermelon, berries (cranberries, blueberries, and strawberries), peppers, apples, garlic, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, and olive oil. While you’re at it, please review my earlier recommendations for healthy eating and reducing inflammation, because those suggestions benefit kidneys, too.

8) Lose Some Weight

If you’re carrying around extra pounds, do your kidneys a favor and shed a few pounds. Obesity has been linked to an increased likelihood of developing kidney cancer.

9) Ditch the Pain Relievers

Slash your risk of kidney cancer even further by minimizing your use of pain relievers, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Products like these are very hard on the kidneys. Even worse, researchers have found that these drugs increase the risk of developing kidney cancer.

10) Epsom Salt

Treat yourself to a detox bath in Epsom salts. Removing waste and toxins gives kidney a boost while improving your overall health.

Making the changes I’ve listed above will benefit your kidneys, along with your overall health. But, in addition, there are three significant threats that really require action on your part. If you’re suffering from high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, or diabetes, your kidneys could be suffering, too. These conditions can be improved with natural remedies and lifestyle changes, but those will require some commitment on your part. I hope you’ll agree that taking care of your kidneys is a worthwhile goal and make the necessary changes to protect these vital organs.

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  • yanish326

    omg

  • rahulkes

    My nice has a crticle problem having blood presue very high some time due to same both kidney is infected now she is very week but docter suggested to have madicine and have light foods, but dont consume salt, fruits, milk, rice ,heavy vegitable , and many things

    Please suggest me any testy food wich i can suggest her for conaume lighly plzz

  • Haresh Sanichara

    Hey Valerie that is kidney stones you have I have the same thing drink lemon juice and olive oil 2 times a day for a month

  • Aban Edmundo

    My name is Aban

    Need urgrnt help on your health situation and you have tried all doctors and yet the situation is same?

    Please contact Dr. Alex

    He helped me when i was in a difficult situation so am using this mediunm to let people know about him and for those of you that is finding it difficult to see the right homeopathy Doctor to save you this is an opportunity for you to be heled.

    You can contact him through his mail address (Homeo_dralex@yahoo.com)

    He will help you because he really helped me and other people i introduced to him.

  • abdikhaliq ALI

    i have puffy eyes ..and fatigue so ..am i having kidney problem

  • Yujiro Hanma

    Valerie, I don’t know how much water you drink per day but my doctor told me that I should be urinating at least 2 liters of clear urine per day… Anyway, I hope to God they figure out what’s wrong with you, I suffer from weak kidneys myself…

  • Ryan

    Hello everyone. I am a 16 year old boy who has been having severe pain towards my right kidney and occasionally the left. I have had this pain for about 2-3 weeks. I just thought that it might go away after a while but it’s still here. I first thought that the pain might be because I am dehydrated or slept bad. As a result, I increased my water intake from drinking 3 cups of water a day to about 6 or 7. The pain is usually for most of the day, particularly around the evening (6pm-I go to sleep). The pain does not keep me up at night but does bother me during the day. I do not have any blood in my urine or stool. I use the restroom (#2) a bit more than what I usually do. But this pain is really bother to me. It feels very sharp sometimes and also a bit of pressure. Moreover, this pain travels around the lower part of my stomach area and back, though this is not as often as the right kidney. Please provide any help. I am worried that it might be signs of a kidney stone or something bad!! Thanks!!

  • luna

    I have had a recent UTI and now im having flank pain and nausea and its started to worry me.. I dont drink enough. I know im dehydrated . Im drinking more now but I suppose I should see the doctor still just in case it is a problem

  • Lindsey Sha’nee

    Oil pulling! You can look it up to find out more about it. Basically you take a tsp-tbs of unrefined coconut oil and swish it in your mouth for 20mins then spit it out. The oil helps to draw out a bunch of toxins. I just started doing it and expect great results! Hope it works for you as well 🙂

  • Valorie Rey

    I went to the ER where I live (I have to admit they are idiots here.) They told me I had a kidney infection (UTI) and prescribed me a antibiotic, Problem is I don’t have any money to pick up the prescription. Last night, I couldn’t sleep to save my life, My right side was hurting very bad,.. I almost wanted to cry and so did my back. I couldn’t lay anyway without it hurting worse I also experienced some chest pain, It was a tight, Sharp pain in my lower chest area. I have been drinking a lot of water and Apple juice, But haven’t been eating to much because my stomach has also been super upset. I have been getting light headed, And just Friday. I don’t know what’s wrong with me… I had had problems with my liver as well in the past. My doctor told me to lose some weight and I have lost over 30 pounds since January. And recently started working out again. Can you please help me? The doctors here have NO clue what’s going.on because they are to lazy to actually care.
    (19 year old female.)

  • Hannah Rose

    She should be eating clean! Don’t take the docs’ word for it, most of them are unaware that they a re treating only symptoms and not the root cause. Knowing what is causing the problem will help too, so you can focus on that specifically instead of working around it. Look up the name of your sisters issue followed by “natural” or “homeopathic remedy,” and then also “causes.” Look at forums where people have had similar experiences, help yourself before you rely on pharmaceuticals!

  • Jan

    My sister is just 8 years old and she was diagnosed last week with ” minimal ascites”. She was given antibiotics (Cefuroxime) and a “Mupirocin Ointment” for the rashes which were identified by the doctor as “streptococcus bacteria” on her legs down to her feet. Though now she doesn’t anymore complain for abdominal pains but I’m just very concerned, some of the rashes were turning into lesion, but there were another set of rashes visible and her ankles are kind of swelling. Could you enlighten me more regarding this disease and tell us on what should we observe to achieve full recovery. And just by reading and researching, does this relate to what they call “post-infection” ?

  • Hannah Rose

    One very simple thing would be to have her eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and make sure she stays very well hydrated. Also, give her probiotics, and the other things it says on this list here. If you follow that, and maybe do a search for minerals, herbs, and spices that could help her, I would think she will improve. No processed junk food! That means if you can’t pronounce an ingredient in it, she does not eat it!

  • sara ahmed

    hello, I am a 13 year old girl that is really worried about my grandma. A few years ago the doctors found out that she had a tumor in her kidney, due to this, her kidney had to be removed. She is currently living with one kidney, because of this she is experiencing lots of lower back pain, fatigue, swollen legs and hands. I think that she may have a second kidney failure but she doesn’t want to go see a doctor. I really feel bad for her and i wish that I could do something to make her feel better. Is there ANYTHING and I mean anything that could help her with less pain? ( she cant take Advil and or even pain relievers because that might damage her one and only kidney that is left). ( please answer
    a.s.a.p! :'(
    thank you so much!

  • roxy

    good day as i am reading this article i am suffering from heavy pains that wen i sit it hurts could this pain has something to do with y kidneys because i must admit i take my time going to urinate could this be the cause

  • john

    As odd as this may sound, I didn’t start seeing symptoms of my kidney infection until after I had started taking the recommended items out of my lifestyle. No red meat in months, no soda, water and juice only, young, healthy, not overweight, exercise very regularly, never been one to use pain relievers, stay very hydrated, avoid processed foods, the only one I can’t speak for is the probiotics, as I stopped taking my regular probiotic (green vibrance) in April. I can definitively stay that the symptoms started on a day a workout partner encouraged me to try alkaline water with a pH of around 10. I know overly acidic kidneys can cause problems, but could too high of a pH have the same effects? Or was it more likely a coincidence that it happened on that day? Not a big fan of modern medicine either, so any remedies that don’t involve a prescription would be welcome and greatly appreciated. Namasté

  • Hannah Rose

    Losing weight and eating clean , natural foods are a part of having clean kidneys, as indicated in the article (#s 6-8 pretty much say this straightforwardly!)…if you are pumping a bunch of junk through them it’s no good…if you can’t pronounce the (chemicals) ingredients in your food, DONT EAT IT! It’s all made up stuf that is harder for you to digest than you need to be putting in you body.

  • Vitalis Gail Hall

    my ankles are always swelling and my lower back sometimes pain and the end of my toes can that be my kidneys to the docotor say no just lose forty pounds but after reading your article i think he is wrong,

  • sailor12

    Some say drinking applecider vinegar helps?

  • mohammdahmed

    i have this back pain which started recently but not frequent and also urinate frequently, can you say i am likely to have a kidney infection.

  • Shane

    What are the home remedys of kidney infection

  • Adria

    Agree with Hannah as well as adding dairy and processed (packaged) foods to the cut list. I have found ajwain to be an instant relief for pain. Boil a few seeds in water when the water is half gone sniff the fumes. Or pan fry and sniff the smoke. For joints make in to a paste and put on the pain area cover with a cloth.

  • Hannah Rose

    Posted above for you and Tiffany / hope you get yourself well!

  • Hannah Rose

    I posted a response for you and sandy above, hope it helps!

  • Hannah Rose

    Ladies with headaches – have you tried COMPLETELY cutting out artificial food coloring , msg, and sugar? These 3 things are known to be headache culprits, and it worth eliminating the mess and trying some real clean, food-based (plant) diet experiments! Hope this helps 🙂

  • Sandy Hungate Wallace

    Yes I to have horrible migraine headaches, Excedrin is my only relief. Plus I have severe joint pain and need pain relievers. What is a person to do??!!

  • Tiffany

    I have a question for you. I am currently healing from a kidney infection, and realize that many of the things you suggest above are things I could change in my lifestyle. The only problem is, in the last year I’ve begun fighting migraine headaches and have found my only option to get rid of them is taking a pain-reliever. I realize these are hard on my kidneys, and have always avoided them in the past and tried to “fight through the pain” with nothing. That is no longer an option, so what do you suggest as an alternative? Thanks!! (32 year old female)

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