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What are the Most Common Symptoms of a Kidney Infection?

By Nicole Long
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Stemming from a urinary tract infection, a kidney infection often begins in the bladder or urethra and makes it's way to the kidneys. Kidney infections can cause a multitude of signs and symptoms. Common symptoms of a kidney infection include fever, abdominal pain, side pain, and the persistent need to urinate. In addition, pus or blood in the urine and vomiting can also be symptoms of a kidney infection.

Not unlike other infections, kidney infections often cause a general feeling of illness. Any overall feeling of illness accompanied by a fever signals the need for care and concern. Chills and sweating may accompany the fever during a kidney infection.

In addition to a general feeling of illness, kidney infections present with a characteristic pain. Abdominal pain, particularly side of the abdomen pain, will be present as one of the symptoms of a kidney infection. Also referred to as flank pain, side pain may be sharp or dull, and may become unbearable. Back pain may also be present.

People suffering from kidney infections will notice symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection. Painful urination and feeling the need to urinate are both common symptoms of a kidney infection. The presence of pus or blood in the urine, referred to as hematuria, also signals the possibility of a kidney infection.

Kidney infections are particularly dangerous for the elderly. In addition to the traditional symptoms, the elderly may present with additional complications. This can include confusion, rapid heart rate, and dehydration. Kidney infections may also lead to low blood pressure in the elderly.

A physician should be consulted if a kidney infection is suspected. If symptoms of a kidney infection are present along with the appearance of pus or blood in the urine, immediate medical attention should be sought. A urinary tract infections (UTI) may also lead to a kidney disease, and if a UTI persists after treatment, medical care should also be sought. Physicians will do a physical exam looking for symptoms of a kidney disease, record vital signs, and also do an urinalysis to check for infection.

Treatment for a kidney infection consists of antibiotics and possibly also a hospital stay for more serve infections, or infections which have spread to the bloodstream. Prompt medical attention and treatment is required for a kidney infection. If the infection has spread to the bloodstream, infections in other areas of the body or even death are possible.

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