Kidney infection

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

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 icon plus

    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
  • Screening and diagnosis icon plus

    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.

  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    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 consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
back to top