7 Signs of Kidney Infection

7 Signs of Kidney Infection

The kidneys are a vital organ that plays a crucial role in the body. The most critical function of the kidney is to filter waste products from the blood and regulate blood temperature. If these functions are compromised, you can become severely ill.

A kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, is a severe medical condition that can cause irreversible damage and potentially life-threatening complications if the infection enters the bloodstream. So the earlier it’s treated, the better.

Luckily, antibiotic treatment is very effective against pyelonephritis. That said, you should make it a routine to see a doctor whenever you feel that something is amiss.

Cause of Kidney Infection

Approximately 37 million Americans have kidney diseases that may be life-threatening, yet most are not aware that they suffer from them.

The most common cause of a kidney infection is the entry of bacteria (Escherichia Coli. Pseudomonas, and Proteus) through the genitals and urethra into the urinary tract, multiplying and spreading to the kidneys. 

Women have much shorter urethras than men, making them more susceptible to kidney infection.

There are other instances when the infection from other parts of your body spreads and infects your kidney; however, these are uncommon.

Symptoms of Kidney Infection

The symptoms of a kidney infection include:

Burning or pain while passing urine

Due to obstruction in the bladder, you may experience pain or a burning sensation when urinating, and if not diagnosed and treated early, the infection may spread to the kidneys.


Your urine will have a foul smell and may have a dark yellow or brown coloration, significant signs of dehydration.

Lower backache

If you have an active kidney infection, you may experience mild or acute pain in your lower back and sides.


You could also experience chills which could make the patient feel very cold. Shivering may also occur in extreme cases.


Fever is another symptom that could indicate that you have a kidney infection. Your fever may be mild or severe, depending on the progress of the disease. It is essential to check your temperature regularly and consult your doctor if you experience an unusual spike.


Acute urinary infections can lead to tiredness or nausea. You may even experience an intense sensation of constantly vomiting as digestion can become difficult. 

The immunity or disease-fighting ability of the body becomes very weak. Due to this, there is a possibility of being prone to other illnesses.

Generalized Weakness

Sometimes you may experience an overwhelming feeling all over. This feeling may disrupt your ability to perform daily tasks.


Since most kidney infection symptoms arise from the urinary tract, primarily the kidney, bladder, urethra, and ureters, it isn’t that difficult to diagnose.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about your symptoms to decide on an appropriate diagnostic test. The tests your doctor may order include a urinalysis or a blood sample to check for the presence of bacteria in your blood.

Your doctor may order advanced tests such as an ultrasound, a CT scan, or cystourethrogram for an efficient diagnosis.


In most cases, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat kidney infection, and symptoms usually go away within a few days. However, in severe cases of infection, your doctor may need to admit you and prescribe a dedicated treatment in the form of antibiotics through an intravenous tube.

If you experience a recurring infection, your doctor will refer you to a specialist to determine the underlying cause.


You can take several precautions to prevent kidney infection, and these include:

  • Drink plenty of fluid to remove bacteria in the body through urination.
  • Women should be cautious when they wipe after urinating and only wipe from front to back to avoid any bacteria from the anal area entering into the urethra.
  • Avoid holding back when you have the urge to urinate.
  • Regularly wash the area around the anus and vagina, avoid the use of harsh soaps, and clean this area gently to prevent skin irritation.
  • You should always empty the bladder after sexual intercourse to clear the bacteria from the urethra, as this reduces the risk of infection.


Factors such as pregnancy, diabetes, and other abnormalities in the urinary system can increase the risk of developing kidney infections. 

So if your loved ones experience any of the symptoms of kidney infection, you should seek treatment to avoid further complications.

If you treat an active kidney infection early, it is possible to cure it and resume your everyday life.