Kidney Infection - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of kidney infection?

Some of the common symptoms of kidney infection include:

  • fever,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • abdominal pain,
  • shivering,
  • shaking -- chills,
  • painful urination (dysuria),
  • frequent urination (urinary frequency),
  • urge to urinate (urinary urgency),
  • flank and low and mid back pain (dull kidney pain), and
  • generalized malaise.

Signs of kidney infection on exam may include:

  • fever,
  • tenderness on the flanks (costo-vertebral angle tenderness, referring to tenderness upon tapping gently on the mid back on the sides), and
  • clinical evidence of infection in the urinalysis (analysis of urine).

In elderly patients and those with weak immune systems, kidney infection may be more severe with confusion, lethargy, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, and dehydration.

Return to Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Tracie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I have had 2 previous severe kidney infections over the last couple of years, with sepsis (Infection in the blood) as well. Both times I was hospitalized for 5 days and administered IV antibiotics and fluids. I am in the midst of another. At the moment, I have severe, constant pain in abdomen, as well as lower back, flank pain, frequent urination and elevated temperature. Urinary analysis showed up clean, but as my doctor told me, that doesn"t mean I don"t have UTI (urinary tract infection), or kidney infection. I have been given antibiotics and they will be monitoring my condition. As I know that feeling of the pain in my flank area and abdomen, I am at the doctor"s the minute I have these signs. I can"t stress enough to listen to your body, and act as soon as possible, as it can be life threatening if left untreated. Sepsis is fatal in 50% of cases said my specialist, and needs immediate IV antibiotics. You may not have all the symptoms, but best to be checked out, even if symptoms are mild.

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Comment from: WIborn, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 31

My kidney infection symptoms started about 6 days ago. It started with an unbearable, piercing pain in my right side, kind of where my kidney is, but eventually took over the whole right flank. I hated driving because I felt delirious and thought I would crash. At first I thought it was just the flu. It hurt a little to urinate, I was vomiting, had a constant fever, and my whole body ached. I passed the flank pain on as possible gas and the deliriousness as from the fever. Finally on day 3 after I noticed my pee, no matter how much water I drank, was not its normal color (has an orangish/brownish tint to it) and suffered from three nights of the worst chills and night sweats of my life, I went to see a doctor. Sure enough, it was a kidney infection. As long as I keep myself pumped full of Tylenol the fever and shakes stay away, but if I don"t take it on time it returns with a vengeance. I was told the antibiotic will take a few days to really kick in so I just lay around and waited, popping Tylenol like its candy. The vomiting and sweats still aren"t gone. That's still controlling me. I will say, that aside from internal bleeding I"ve had before, this has got to be the worst physical pain I"ve ever been in.

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