An infection is defined as the propagation of microorganisms (viruses, bacteria and parasites), not ordinarily present in the body. In case of a kidney infection one or both the kidneys can suffer.

The bacteria that causes kidney infection usually enters the urinary tract via the bladder and from there travels via the ureters to the kidneys where they might grow and propagate. Kidney infections are painful and cause a lot of discomfort. The medical term employed for kidney infection is Pyelonephritis.

Symptoms of a Kidney Infection

How do I know if I have a kidney infection? The answer lies in the symptoms which are as follows:

  • Discomfort in your side, lower back and near your genitals 

  • Very high fever of up to 103.1F or 39.5C

  • Chills or shivers

  • Fatigue and exhaustion

  • Loss of appetite and hence reduced diet

  • Feeling of sickness

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea and drowsiness

  • Jaundice

  • Flu like Malaise

To clearly give you an outline, we have also stated below some additional symptoms that you might experience if you have cystitis or urethritis along with infection in the kidneys. These symptoms include:

  • Constant urination causes a burning sensation and discomfort

  • There is a frequent or urgent need to urinate all the time

  • Unable to urinate fully

  • Blood stained urine

  • Cloudy and bad smelling urine

  • Discomfort and pain in your lower abdomen

The symptoms in children might also be additional such as:

  • Fatigue and lack of energy

  • Being irritable

  • Poor appetite

  • Constant puking

  • Lack of normal growth

  • Pain in the abdomen

  • Severe Jaundice

  • Blood in the urine

  • Bad smelling urine

  • Bed wetting


When you see blood in urine, always go see a doctor. A change in urination pattern, persistent pain and high fever also requires a visit to the hospital.

Diagnosis of Kidney Infection


How do I know if I have a kidney infection, a medical diagnosis provides the most accurate answer.

  • GP will ask you about your symptoms and your medical history to detect if you have any form of infection.

  • A urine test will surely be carried out and will help establish whether you have a urinary tract infection (UTI) or not. A urine sample will help identify any bacteria. A urine test cannot locate the area of infection. Whether the infection is in your kidneys or another part of your urinary system, such as your bladder is not determined by the urine test and for this purpose you might be referred for further testing.

  • Hospital scans are the next step in case your symptoms fail to subside by the use of antibiotics or your symptoms somehow get worse. Hospital scans are also carried out in the case of having additional symptoms that may or may not be associated with a kidney infection. These hospital scans usually include computer tomography (CT) scans, ultrasound scans and isotope scans. These scans determine the location and intensity of the infection and allow the doctors to clearly understand what new path of treatment they should adopt.

How to Treat Kidney Infections


Antibiotics are very important for the treatment of kidney infections. The type and the usage of the drug depends on your health condition and the type of bacteria found in your urine tests. In the case of a severe kidney infection doctors might decide to hospitalize you. Treatment in the hospital will probably include antibiotics given intravenously.

Recurrent kidney infections are usually a cause of an underlying medical problem. You might be referred to a nephrologist or urologist for an evaluation.

Home Remedies

While recovering from a kidney infection one might employ the remedies given below to reduce pain and relieve yourself of the discomfort.

1. Heat

Placing a heating pad or applying heat in any way to your lower abdomen and back side helps a lot in reducing pain.

2. Pain killers

To relive pain and treat fever, use pain killers that are nonaspirin. Pain relievers that contains acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) work the best.

3. Hydration

Water will help cleanse your insides by washing out the bacteria. Make sure though that until you are infection free, you avoid coffee and alcohol because these products increase the need to urinate.

Understand the underlying Causes of Kidney Infections

  • The bacteria that is mostly the primary cause of pyelonephritis is Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli. Escherichia coli moves along the ureters and travels up to the kidneys. Once inside the kidneys, they find ground to reproduce and take over the surface area of nephrons.

  • Another reason of pyelonephritis can be any form of a seriously severe infection in the blood stream. This infection might spread to the kidneys and cause infection there.

  • Kidey infections can also be caused by obstructions in the urinary path. Circumstances that might cause the urine flow to be obliterated can be benign prostatic hypertrophy, abdominal or pelvic cancers and tumors or stones in bladder, ureters, or kidneys. When the flow of the urine stops or it slows down, it becomes easier for the disease causing bacteria to move up the ureters to the kidneys. Kidney stones, tumors and other masses in specific help pyelonephritis grow tremendously by providing the bacteria a large surface area for the bacteria to propagate. This bacterial propagation weakens the body's defenses.

  • Diabetes and other such conditions that are bound to severely compromise the body’s immune system are also a contributing cause of kidney infections.

Women are more vulnerable and prone to urinary tract infections and pyelonephritis because the urethra is much shorter in women, in comparison to men. In order to provide on time treatment it is very important to know about any infections or potential infections in the urinary.

Now that you know the answer to “How do I know if I have a kidney infection?” and how it’s caused and treated, hope future recurrences decrease.


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