Kidney infections

Kidney infections, which are also known as pyelonephritis, are where the kidneys become inflamed due to a bacterial infection. This can be a very painful and uncomfortable condition which can often be associated with a bladder infection.

Kidney infections can affect people of all ages, however are more commonly found in women. This maybe related to the fact that women have a much shorter urethra and hence women are more susceptible to bladder infections which, uncommonly, can lead to bacteria reaching the kidney. Woman who are sexually active can also have an increased risk of developing a kidney infection.

A kidney infection is usually treated with a prolonged 10-14 day course of antibiotics; if this is performed at an early stage it is likely that recovery will be much quicker and may clear up within a few days. However, if left untreated, it can develop into a very serious illness with the risk of sepsis.

Here are some of the symptoms to look out for:

  • Fever/shiver
  • Having pain in your back or sides
  • Smelly or cloudy urine
  • Blood in your urine
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Need to urine suddenly or more often
  • General malaise

A kidney infection is relatively simple to diagnose: you will need to provide a urine sample and an explanation of the symptoms that you have. In most cases you will be given a course of antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria; most people will be back to normal within around 2 weeks. However, it is not uncommon for patients to feel washed out and tired for some weeks afterward and f you are still experiencing problems after a few weeks you should go back to see your GP or urologist.

Here are some tips that you can follow to reduce your risk of developing a urine infection:

  • Drinking lots of water and passing urine on a regular basis.
  • Not holding in urine
  • Ensuring clean genital areas
  • Voiding after sexual intercourse

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.