Identifying Kidney Infection Risk

Many of the same factors that put women at risk for urinary tract infections also put them at risk for kidney infections, according to a new study.

Researchers from Group Health Cooperative in Seattle and the University of Washington interviewed 242 women who were treated for kidney infections. They also collected information about the women’s treatment from automated databases. They then compared data from these cases to those of 546 similar women who did not have a history of kidney infections.

Results of the study show kidney infections in women younger than 50 are linked to frequent sexual intercourse (more than three times per week), having a new sexual partner the previous year, and recent spermicide use. The infections were also linked to having a recent urinary tract infection or having a mother with a history of urinary tract infections.

In addition, researchers also found a higher risk for kidney infections among women with a history of incontinence and diabetes. More than 250,000 women in the United States suffer from a kidney infection each year.

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