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Kidney infection

Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is a specific type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that generally begins in your urethra or bladder and travels up into your kidneys.

A kidney infection requires prompt medical attention. If not treated properly, a kidney infection can permanently damage your kidneys or the bacteria can spread to your bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection.

Kidney infection treatment usually includes antibiotics and often requires hospitalization.


Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Signs and symptoms of a kidney infection may include:

  • Fever
  • Back, side (flank) or groin pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation or pain when urinating
  • Pus or blood in your urine (hematuria)
  • Urine that smells bad or is cloudy

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. Also make an appointment if you're being treated for a urinary tract infection but your signs and symptoms aren't improving.

Severe kidney infection can lead to life-threatening complications. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience typical kidney infection symptoms combined with bloody urine or nausea and vomiting.


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