What Is a Kidney Infection?

Kidney infections are rare, but they can be severe. About one in every 30 cases of a UTI will lead to a kidney infection, and they are more common among women than men; although, they can affect anyone at any age.

What exactly are kidney infections, though? Our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team has some answers, so read on.

What Exactly Is a Kidney Infection?

A kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, is a type of urinary tract infection where one or both kidneys become infected. They can be infected by bacteria and can cause people to experience life-threatening sickness when not treated quickly and effectively.

Although kidney infection side effects can be very serious, they are quite rare. Those that have frequent bladder infections and/or a structural problem in the urinary tract are more susceptible to getting kidney infections. We’ve listed some common symptoms of a kidney infection below.

Common Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Back or side pain
  • Groin pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Urine that’s cloudy, smells bad or contains blood

How Can I Avoid a Kidney Infection?

The best way to avoid a kidney infection is by starting and maintaining good habits. Things like staying adequately hydrated, not holding your urine and having proper genital hygiene will go a long way in lowering your risk of future kidney infections.

Some tend to have a higher risk of kidney infections, however. We’ve listed some common risk factors below.

Common Risk Factors

  • Being female. Women are more at risk than men for kidney infections because the urethra is shorter than it is in men. This makes it easier for bacteria to reach the urinary tract.
  • Pregnancy. The urinary tract shifts in pregnancy and may make it easier for bacteria to get to the kidneys.
  • Weakened immune system. This includes people with diabetes, HIV or AIDS, and those taking drugs that suppress the immune system.
  • Problems emptying your bladder completely, which is called urinary retention.

Are you concerned that you might have a kidney infection? Our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team is here for you, so don’t wait to walk in today!