Kidney infection

Other names: Pyelonephritis


Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is a specific type of Urinary tract infection (UTI) that generally begins in your urethra or bladder and travels up into your kidneys. A kidney infection requires prompt medical attention to prevent permanent kidney damage or life-threatening infections, usually treated with antibiotics and may require hospitalization.


When to see a doctor: If you have any concerning symptoms or if UTI treatment isn't improving the condition, seek medical attention immediately if symptoms worsen with bloody urine or nausea.


Kidney infections are commonly caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra, but can also occur via bloodstream from infections in other parts of the body or rarely after kidney surgery.


Factors increasing the risk of kidney infections:


Untreated kidney infections can lead to:


Before your doctor's appointment:

Sample questions include: 1. What causes kidney infections? 2. What tests are needed? 3. What treatments do you recommend? 4. Are there potential side effects? 5. Will hospitalization be required? 6. How can I prevent future kidney infections? 7. Are there any restrictions to follow? 8. How to manage other health conditions simultaneously? 9. Are there generic alternatives to prescribed medicines? 10. What determines the need for follow-up visits?


Diagnosis involves assessing symptoms, urine tests for bacteria, blood culture, imaging tests like ultrasound or CT scan.


Antibiotics are the primary treatment for kidney infections; severe cases may require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics, while recurrent infections may need further evaluation by specialists.


Preventive measures include staying hydrated, timely urination, post-intercourse urination, proper hygiene practices in the genital area to reduce UTI risks.


  1. What is pyelonephritis?

Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection that stems from a urinary tract infection.

  1. What are the common symptoms of a kidney infection?

Symptoms include fever, back pain, frequent urination, and cloudy urine.

  1. Who is at higher risk for kidney infections?

Women, individuals with urinary obstructions, weakened immune systems, and nerve damage are at higher risk.

  1. What complications can arise from untreated kidney infections?

Complications include permanent kidney damage, blood poisoning, and pregnancy issues.

  1. How are kidney infections diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves assessing symptoms and conducting urine tests along with imaging studies.

  1. What is the primary treatment for kidney infections?

Antibiotics are commonly used to treat kidney infections.

  1. When should immediate medical attention be sought for a kidney infection?

If symptoms worsen with bloody urine or nausea and vomiting, immediate medical attention is necessary.

  1. How can kidney infections be prevented?

Staying hydrated, timely urination, post-intercourse urination, and proper hygiene practices can help prevent kidney infections.

  1. What factors increase the risk of developing a kidney infection?

Risk factors include female anatomy, urinary obstructions, weakened immune systems, nerve damage affecting bladder sensations, prolonged catheter use, and vesicoureteral reflux.

  1. Are recurrent kidney infections common?

Recurrent kidney infections may occur due to underlying medical conditions requiring further evaluation by specialists like nephrologists or urologists.