Kidney infections, a type of urinary tract infection, can cause serious problems. Here's what to do if you have symptoms of kidney infection.
What causes kidney infection?
A kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, is a specific type of urinary tract infection (UTI). When bacteria or viruses enters one part of your urinary tract, they can spread if left untreated. Often, kidney infections are caused when your bladder becomes infected, and the bacteria travels to your kidneys.
Pyelonephritis can occur after prolonged catheter use causes a UTI in a hospital. Kidney infection can also occur after surgery if bacteria enter your body and travel through the blood to your kidneys.
You are most likely to develop a kidney infection if you:
- Have a bladder infection or kidney stones
- Are female (because the length of your urethra is shorter, and it’s easier for bacteria to invade)
- Are pregnant
- Suffer from diabetes or a weakened immune system
- Have nerve damage in your spinal cord or around your bladder
- Suffer from urinary retention, or difficulty emptying your bladder
- Have an irregularity in your urinary tract, such as a narrow urethra or enlarged prostate
- Have vesicoureteral reflux, a condition in which urine backs up into one or both kidneys
Kidney infections are painful and can cause serious health problems. It is important to seek medical treatment at the first signs of a UTI or if you experience any symptoms of kidney infection.
March 25, 2020
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA