Kidney Infection Symptoms

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Dr Lisa

Kidney Infection Symptoms

Kidney Infection Symptoms can be subtle, but dangerous.

There are several forms of urinary tract infections (UTI). They are divided into upper and lower urinary tract infections. In upper urinary tract infection, the kidney is the most important structure which is involved. It is often known as pyelonephritis. Lower urinary tract infection involves urethra and urinary bladder. There are several symptoms which can differentiate among the two viz. upper and lower urinary tract infections. Being an infectious disease, urinary tract infection presents with signs and symptoms of infection and inflammation. Look for the signs of kidney infection symptoms.


Pyelonephritis is an infectious (usually bacterial) and inflammatory disease of the kidneys. Typically, the disease affects only one kidney. It occurs in acute or chronic form. Pyelonephritis is more common in women than men. Furthermore, elderly men more often suffer from this disease.

Pyelonephritis in women typically begins after cystitis (inflammation and infection of urinary bladder) and ascending towards kidney resulting into pyelonephritis. Pyelonephritis in men is often a complication of urological diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, any mass obstructing the flow of urine, prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), kidney stones etc.

Causes of pyelonephritis

Kidney infection is usually caused by bacteria, most common being Escherichia coli (E.coli). The bacteria enter the urethra and travel up the urinary tract. Once in one or both channels connecting the bladder and kidneys (ureters), bacteria reach the kidney and contribute towards the development of the disease. Women are more exposed to the risk partly due to the fact that their urethra is located closer to the anus (where bacteria from the intestines leave the body). This simplifies the way the bacteria enter into the urethra. Sometimes kidney infection can occur without infection of the bladder. For example, if the ureter or kidney outflow is blocked by a stone.

Symptoms of pyelonephritis

Symptoms of acute kidney infection (Upper Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms) often develop rapidly over several hours or days: • High temperature (over 38 ° C) • Swelling of the face • Tremors • Pain in the lower back (maybe on one side only) • Feeling of being sick (nausea) • vomiting About one-third of the patients with an acute kidney infection also have the symptoms of bladder infection (Lower Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms) as well.

These symptoms may also be present when isolated lower urinary tract infection is seen e.g. infection of urethra, urinary bladder, prostate etc. These symptoms may include: • Burning sensation while urinating • The need to urinate more often than usual • Muddy, dark urine • Sharp unpleasant smell of urine • Blood in the urine These symptoms may be caused by other problems as well. So, if you have any of these symptoms, consult a doctor. If you are searching for a way to tell others about your kidney failure, you may be interested in a Live Kidney Donation.

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