Kidney Inflammation: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, and Treatment

kidney inflammation pain

It is usually known as Pyelonephritis, a deadly condition that scars the kidneys and results in permanent damage to the organ.

In nearly every case, Pyelonephritis is the direct result of bacterial infections, usually caused by bacteria that have infected the bladder. Occasionally, the disease will give abscesses in the kidneys.

Another condition resulting from the same infection is Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)

This disease is a common occurrence in sexually active young women. In fact, the primary causes of urine infections are sex-transmitted ailments.

“The more sexually active a woman is, the more likely she is to have a urinary tract infection,” explains Dr. José M. Cots, coordinator of the Infectious Diseases Group of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (Semfyc).

The rest of the elements that cause the appearance of the infection are related to other pathologies, mainly renal conditions like stones in the kidney.

“Cystitis appears in the woman, never in the male, if the male has a urine infection, you have to think that it is associated with another disease because the prostate is probably already involved,” says Cots.

The symptoms that can help the woman to know if she has a simple urine infection are apparent:

Increased frequency of urination: The woman has constant urges to go to the bathroom. You can go every 10 minutes and probably just drop a few droplets. When you urinate, you feel itching.


  • Pain, usually on the sides or back. There may be other reasons for such discomforts, such as ovarian disease.
  • Fever and chills are common symptoms. The body temperature can significantly raise. Chills may lead to shivering.
  • Weakness and extreme tiredness often occur. Even when successfully treated, it may be a while before a sufferer can return to work.
  • Nausea or Vomiting may result from the infection. The sufferer may lose their appetite and eventually start to lose weight.
  • Diarrhea sometimes occurs.

Changes in the urine may occur. The urine may become cloudy, contain blood, or smell more unpleasant than usual.

All of these changes in the urine may be due to bladder infection; on their own, they don’t indicate that the virus has spread to the kidneys.

Sepsis (infection of the bloodstream and hence other organs) is a possible complication of kidney infection.

Sufferers may have a rapid heartbeat, breathe rapidly, and may faint. Urgent medical treatment is required since this is a potentially fatal condition.

Infection in the kidneys happens when bacteria have adhered to them, inflaming them by preventing them from functioning correctly. In such cases, some of the signs we can expect are the following:

  • Pain in the abdomen, lower back, or even part of the groin.
  • Fatigue.
  • A few tenths of a fever.
  • An urgency to urinate, only to let go a little. And when we do, we feel pain and burning.
  • Shaking chills
  • Loss of appetite


When a woman goes to the family doctor with the suspicion that she has cystitis, it is most often that the professional makes a urine test strip.

Dr. Cots explained that the woman would have to urinate on the test strip. That will establish if there is a urine infection through several parameters, such as if there is blood, leukocytes.

This analysis helps to see if there are signs of the disease in the urine and if there are nitrites there, which would indicate a degradation that makes it easier for the germs to develop in the urine.

If the test result meets all these parameters, the probability of having a urine infection will be 70%. For this reason, the specialist indicates that the best way to diagnose cystitis is through the analysis of any potential symptom.


Various bacteria can cause kidney infections. Often they are a consequence of bladder infection; the bacteria from the bladder spread to the kidneys. On rare occasions, a blood infection can give rise to a kidney infection.

Women tend to get more kidney infections than men since they tend to get more bladder infections.

Women are more likely to get kidney infections when pregnant; in such cases, they need to get treatment as soon as possible. Otherwise, serious complications can occur.

In men, a prostate disease can increase the likelihood of kidney infections. Stones in the kidneys or ureters (the tubes between the kidneys and the bladder) increase the risk of developing kidney infections.

Kidney infections are usually one of the most common. They have an intense pelvic and back pain, where it is usual to have a few tenths of fever.

If it ever happened to you, you already know how problematic it is, so we want to talk about this disease and the guidelines to follow.

Taking everything into consideration, the causes would be:

  • Bacteria.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Diabetes.
  • Some genetic abnormalities.
  • Cysts in the kidney.
  • Anemia.
  • Low defenses and a weakened immune system.


Patients should always take antibiotics to combat the bacterial disease. These are severe conditions that can create several health issues if left untreated, and worst case scenario the sufferers die.

Resistance to antibiotics is common nowadays. A physician will prescribe a second antibiotic if the first one fails.

It is essential to stick to the prescribed antibiotics and keep up with the treatment until the doctor orders to stop, since the infection may return if some bacteria survive.

Among the antibiotics commonly used for kidney disease are fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin.

A combination pill of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole is another standard treatment.

Cephalexin (a cephalosporin antibiotic) is another treatment sometimes used, particularly for pregnant women. In severe cases, healthcare providers may need to inject the patient with intravenous.

Intravenous Hydration may be carried out in a hospital when a fever is severe. Specialized intravenous fluids are used.

Painkillers, such as acetaminophen (paracetamol), can be used. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, should not be used in cases of a kidney infection since they can lead to further kidney damage.

Draining of abscesses, using a needle inserted into the back, may be necessary since ulcers tend not to respond well to antibiotics.

Kidney Stones associated with infections may have to be removed using surgery or destroyed using ultrasonic techniques.