5 Signs you Might Have a Kidney Infection

May 7th 2016

Kidney infections are serious conditions that require immediate treatment to avoid complications. When a kidney infection is caught in time, antibiotic treatment for a period of seven days or longer often eradicates the bacteria. Seeking prompt medical attention at the first potential sign of a kidney infection helps to minimize the risk of complications, allowing for full recovery and relief from pain and discomfort.

Back and Flank Pain

Back pain and discomfort in the flank area are common signs of a kidney infection, as this often indicates that the infection has moved from the urinary tract into the kidneys. While these symptoms can also indicate less-serious issues, individuals experiencing back or flank pain that is accompanied by a fever or stomach discomfort should consult with a physician as soon as possible.

Pain Upon Urination

As the bacteria continues to multiply in the kidneys, individuals with kidney infections often experience severe pain upon urination or urinary difficulties. Sufferers may also experience a burning sensation when attempting to urinate. These symptoms can also indicate a bladder or urinary tract infection, so it is always important for individuals with urinary pain or difficulty to seek medical attention.

Bloody, Cloudy, Foul-Smelling Urine

Similar to bladder infections, kidney infections can cause bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine. When urinating, sufferers may notice a pinkish tinge to their urine, or it may appear cloudy or milky in the toilet. Bloody and cloudy urine caused by kidney infections may also be accompanied by a foul odor or a "strong" urine smell.

Fever and Chills

As bacteria continues to spread in the kidneys, the body works hard to fight the infection, which can cause a high fever and shaking chills. Individuals with potential symptoms of a kidney infection should seek immediate medical care if a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is present.

Mental Confusion

Kidney infections can also cause mental confusion or disorientation, especially in elderly individuals. In many cases, confusion is the only symptom present in seniors with kidney infections and may be mistaken for natural memory issues or the early signs of dementia. Additional mental symptoms that may accompany kidney infections include dizziness, irritability and complete loss of balance (falling).


Kidney infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and travel to the kidneys. The infections are often secondary to untreated urinary tract infections, and they must be treated as soon as possible to prevent severe complications such as blood poisoning or long-term kidney damage.

Fortunately, kidney infections can often be treated with antibiotics when caught in time, so it is imperative for individuals with potential symptoms to seek immediate medical attention. Understanding the common signs and symptoms of kidney infections can help to ensure a prompt diagnosis and efficient treatment.

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