Kidney infections may occur in one or both kidneys.
The kidneys remove waste from the body through urine. They also balance the water and mineral content in the blood. An infection may prevent them from working properly.
Normal Anatomy of the Kidney
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Kidney infections are caused by a bacteria. The specific type of bacteria can vary. The bacteria most often comes from an untreated bladder infection .
Bacteria may be introduced to the urinary tract and ultimately the kidneys by:
Other medical conditions that increase your risk of infection include:
Symptoms of kidney infection may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids will be tested. This can be done with:
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
Complications from untreated or poorly treated kidney infection can lead to:
You will be treated with antibiotics. Be sure to take all of the medication. Antibiotics may need to be delivered through an IV. This may require a stay in the hospital.
Surgical correction of vesicoureteral reflux in children may reduce risk of a kidney infection.
Kidney infection is often a complication of a bladder infection. You can prevent bladder infections if you:
National Kidney Foundation
Urology Care Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Complicated urinary tract infection (UTI). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114928/Complicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI. Updated January 26, 2017. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Kidney infection (pyelonephritis). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-infection-pyelonephritis. Accessed August 17, 2015.
Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) (pyelonephritis and cystitis). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116894/Uncomplicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI-pyelonephritis-and-cystitis. Updated March 15, 2017. Accessed September 7, 2017
Urinary tract infection (UTI) in men. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T904748/Urinary-tract-infection-UTI-in-men. Updated January 26, 2017. Accessed September 7, 2017.
3/6/2013 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116894/Uncomplicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI-pyelonephritis-and-cystitis: Nikolaidis P, Casalino DD, Remer EM. American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria Acute Pyelonephritis. National Guideline Clearinghouse website. Available at: https://www.guideline.gov/summaries/summary/37923?. Updated 2012.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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