Do's and Don'ts of Treating a Kidney Infection

May 7th 2016

Kidney infections are usually easily treatable and do not cause lasting consequences in most people. By following your doctor's instructions and these easy guidelines, you can help ensure your treatment goes smoothly.

Do See Your Doctor Immediately

The ideal course of action is to prevent a kidney infection entirely by seeing your doctor at the first sign of a UTI or bladder infection. However, sometimes this is not possible and some kidney infections do develop without a preceding infection. Prompt treatment is important, so see your doctor as soon as possible. Common symptoms of a kidney infection include the constant urge to urinate, pain upon urination, fever, chills, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and pain in the loins or lower back.

Do Take Your Full Course of Medication

Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat kidney infections, and it is important to take the entire amount prescribed to you. It can be tempting to stop taking them once you begin feeling better, but often the infection has not fully cleared up yet and can return.

Don't Let Yourself Get Dehydrated

Kidneys need a lot of water to function properly, so proper hydration is key to treating an infection. The most common recommendation is six to eight glasses of water a day, although if you are in a hot or arid climate or live an active lifestyle you may need to drink more.

Don't Take Unapproved Painkillers

Doctors commonly recommend painkillers to help alleviate the symptoms of a kidney infection while waiting for treatment to take effect, but choose wisely. Ibuprofen and some other over-the-counter medicines can be hard on the kidneys and complicate treatment. Acetaminophen is safer, but consult your doctor for recommendations.


Kidney infections can be painful and may lead to serious complications if left untreated. They are most commonly caused by an untreated urinary tract or bladder infection that moves up into the kidneys. Although the pain is bad, following these do's and don'ts can help speed up recovery.

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