Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Author: Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH
    Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH

    Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What is a kidney infection, and are kidney and urinary tract infection the same?

The main components of the urinary tract system are kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Any part of the urinary system may become infected and this is generally referred to as urinary tract infection (UTI). When a kidney becomes infected, the condition is medically referred to as pyelonephritis. Thus, kidney infection is only one of several types of infections encompassed by the term UTI. The spectrum of UTIs includes:

  • Acute uncomplicated cystitis (bladder infection)
  • Recurrent cystitis
  • Complicated UTI
  • Prostatitis (prostate infection)
  • Kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
  • Catheter-associated UTI (in individuals with indwelling urinary catheters)

A more general classification of urinary tract infection is the following:

  • Lower urinary tract infection involves the urethra, the bladder, and, in men, the prostate gland.
  • Upper urinary tract infection refers to infection of the kidneys. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 7/27/2015
References
REFERENCES:

Gupta, Kalpana, et al. "Urinary Tract Infection." Annals of Internal Medicine 156.5 (2012): ITC3-1.

NIH. Pyelonephritis: kidney infection. Updated Jun, 11 2012.

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