Kidney Infection - Causes

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What are the causes of kidney infection?

Urine, similar to other fluids in the body, is normally sterile without any bacterial infection. Therefore, the presence of bacteria in the urine is considered abnormal and may lead to urinary tract infection. Typically, bacteria gain access to the urinary system from outside through the urethra (the drainage tube for urine from the bladder). The bacteria may then ascend in the urinary system and cause kidney infections. Kidney infection (upper UTI) is typically more severe than lower UTI because bacteria may also infect the bloodstream (bacteremia) from the kidneys resulting in a more severe illness.

Bacteria may travel from the rectum or the vagina towards the urethra to gain entry into the urinary system. Other bacteria may enter from the skin. Women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections due to the shorter length of their urethras in comparison to those of men.

Return to Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Kristi, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 17

My kidney infection was caused due to a kidney stone getting stuck in my ureter. The infection got pretty bad and I ended up being hospitalized for about a week.

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Comment from: hank, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 29

For about 2 weeks I was feeling fatigued with pain in my lower right back area that sometimes extended to my right shoulder. I had a really bad headache and was diagnosed with a sinus infection on one occasion to the emergency room and given a steroid shot. The pain and fatigue was still present so I figured stress from work was the culprit. I noticed my appetite was gone especially in the evenings and nausea would also set in at night. I started losing weight and the palms of my hands/feet would sweat with my feet staying particularly cold at times. After a few nights of not sleeping because of nausea I went to the emergency room where finally after running the same tests as the other ER and medical centers, I was diagnosed with the kidney infection. I have been on Cipro for the last 6 days but at times the nausea and loss of appetite still occur. I have an appointment with a urologist tomorrow to see if this antibiotic is not working or the infection was just bad and the recovery is going to be slow. If anyone has these sometimes silent symptoms please go to the doctor, you are not going to beat this without the help of antibiotics. The last three weeks or so have been terrible and I just want to get well.

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