It is usually one kidney that develops the infection and it is more common in women than men

Enquiries & Appointments

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About kidney infections

Most kidney infections develop as a complication of cystitis (bladder infection). Bacteria causing cystitis can travel up to infect a kidney. The bacteria are usually those which live in the bowel. Some kidney infections develop without a bladder infection. This is due to other problems in the kidney such as stones or an abnormality of the kidney.

Need to know

Symptoms of pyelonephritis may include:

  • pain in the side of the abdomen or back area over the kidney (loin pain)
  • high temperature (38 degrees centigrade), with shivering
  • feeling nauseous, vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • blood in your urine (haematuria)
  • pain on urinating and frequency
  • urinary tract infections
  • urinary frequency or urgency

Your consultant or GP will ask about your symptoms and recent medical history. They will carry out a urine test to see if you have a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you are a man with a confirmed infection, your consultant will refer you straight to our urology department for further investigation. Urological investigations include:

  • MRI scan
  • contrast-enhanced computer demography (CECT)

If your consultant is concerned that you may have an obstruction (such as a kidney stone that is stuck in the ureter) or a structural abnormality in your urinary system, other tests may be ordered, such as a CT (computed tomography) scan or ultrasound.

Treatment options include:

  • increasing fluid intake to prevent dehydration
  • antibiotics, to clear the infection
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers*

*These will not be recommended unless absolutely necessary as they can cause an increased risk of problems with the kidney function during a kidney infection.

Our Pyelonephritis locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London
Chiswick Outpatients

Chiswick Outpatients

Bond House 347-353 Chiswick High Road W4 4HS London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.