What is pyelonephritis?

Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection. It is usually bacterial in origin and stems from an infection in another part of the urinary tract, such as the bladder. Pyelonephritis can occur in anyone, although it is more likely to occur in women.

Symptoms of pyelonephritis include pain or burning during urination, an urgent need to urinate, fever, nausea with or without vomiting, hematuria (blood in the urine), and pain, particularly in the sides and groin. Left untreated, pyelonephritis can lead to further kidney infections, scarring, chronic kidney disease, or permanent damage. Serious infections can spread to other parts of the body, including the blood (sepsis).

Pyelonephritis is easily diagnosed with a physical examination and urine tests. In cases of bacterial infection, pyelonephritis can be treated with antibiotics. For mild pain with pyelonephritis, home remedies, including heating pads, may be helpful. Fluid therapy and pain medications may also be administered as needed. Any permanent damage caused by pyelonephritis may require surgery.

Preventing urinary tract infections may be the best way to prevent pyelonephritis. Good personal hygiene is critical in preventing urinary tract infections.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms of pyelonephritis, such as a high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), fainting or change in level of consciousness, severe or uncontrolled pain, or persistent vomiting.

Seek prompt medical care for painful or persistent symptoms of pyelonephritis, such as painful or frequent urination.


What are the symptoms of pyelonephritis?

Symptoms of pyelonephritis occur due to infection of the kidneys and include pain, problems with urination, and other symptoms of general infection.

Common symptoms of pyelonephritis

You may experience pyelonephritis symptoms daily or only occasionally. Any of these symptoms can be severe:


What causes pyelonephritis?

Pyelonephritis results from an infection, generally bacterial, of the kidneys. Oftentimes, this infection spreads from the urinary tract to the bladder and progresses to the kidneys. Left untreated, it can lead to permanent damage. In very serious cases, the infection can spread to the bloodstream (sepsis).

What are the risk factors for pyelonephritis?

A number of facto... Read more about pyelonephritiscauses


How is pyelonephritis treated?

Pyelonephritis is generally treated with antibiotics. In addition to antibiotics, fluid therapy and medications to control pain and nausea may be used to treat symptoms of pyelonephritis.

Medications for pyelonephritis

Generally, oral antibiotic regimens are recommended for clearing uncomplicated pye... Read more about pyelonephritistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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