Kidney Infections: When to Seek Emergency Hospital Assistance

Kidney infections, also known as pyelonephritis, are a kind of urinary tract infection that occurs in the kidneys. It is a bacterial infection that requires prompt medical attention. Failure to get the right treatment can lead to life-threatening complications. In this article, we’ll discuss when you should seek emergency hospital assistance when you suspect you have a kidney infection.

Symptoms of Kidney Infections

Kidney infections exhibit different symptoms that range from mild to severe. Common signs and symptoms of a kidney infection include:

  • Fever
  • Chills and shaking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cramping in the lower abdomen or back
  • Frequent urination, often with only a small amount, or difficulty urinating
  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • Painful urination

Causes of Kidney Infections

Kidney infections are caused by the bacteria that enter the urinary tract from the urethra. The bacteria then multiply and infect the bladder. If left untreated, the bacteria can travel up to the kidneys via the ureters and cause a kidney infection. Other risk factors that can increase your chances of developing kidney infections include:

  • Being female
  • Being pregnant
  • Having a urinary tract blockage
  • Having bladder problems such as tumors or kidney stones
  • Having a weakened immune system due to conditions such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS
  • Using a catheter for a long time

When to Seek Emergency Hospital Assistance

If you suspect you have a kidney infection, it is vital to seek emergency hospital assistance as soon as possible. Here are the signs that indicate you should seek emergency care for a kidney infection:

Severe Pain

If you experience severe pain in your abdomen, back, or side, seek medical help immediately. Severe pain in these areas may be due to a kidney infection, and prompt medical care can help prevent complications.

High Fever

Having a high fever is a sign of a serious infection, and a kidney infection is no exception. If your fever is higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, seek medical help right away.

Nausea and Vomiting

If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting along with a kidney infection, you may be dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to complications such as kidney failure, so it is essential to seek medical attention immediately.

Blood in the Urine

Blood in the urine can be a sign of a kidney infection or another serious condition, such as kidney stones or bladder cancer. If you notice blood in your urine, seek medical help right away.

Confusion or Mental Fog

Confusion or mental fog can be a sign of severe dehydration or sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an infection. Seek medical help right away if you are experiencing confusion or mental fog along with a kidney infection.

Treatment for Kidney Infections

If you have a kidney infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection. It is essential to take the antibiotics as prescribed, and you should not stop taking the medication even if you start feeling better. If your symptoms worsen or do not improve within a few days of treatment, seek medical help immediately.

Preventing Kidney Infections

There are several ways to reduce your chances of getting a kidney infection, including:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water
  • Wiping from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from spreading to the urethra
  • Urinating after having sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra
  • Avoiding using feminine hygiene sprays and douches
  • Washing the genital area before and after sexual activity

FAQs About Kidney Infections

Q: Can kidney infections be cured?

A: Yes, kidney infections can be cured with proper medical treatment.

Q: How long does it take to cure a kidney infection?

A: The length of time it takes to cure a kidney infection depends on the severity of the infection and the treatment prescribed by your doctor. Generally, most people start to feel better within a few days of starting antibiotic treatment.

Q: Can a kidney infection cause sepsis?

A: Yes, a kidney infection can cause sepsis, a severe complication that can lead to death if left untreated.

Q: Can a kidney infection cause kidney failure?

A: Yes, a kidney infection can cause kidney failure if left untreated or if the bacteria spread to other parts of the body.

Q: Can a kidney infection cause infertility?

A: In rare cases, a kidney infection can cause scarring in the kidneys, which can affect fertility. However, this is not common.


Kidney infections are a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. If you experience any symptoms of a kidney infection, such as severe pain, high fever, or nausea and vomiting, seek medical help right away. With proper medical treatment, kidney infections can be successfully treated, and complications can be avoided.

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