Your kidneys are the 2 bean-shaped organs that filter waste products out of your blood and make urine. Sometimes a kidney gets infected by bacteria.
Most kidney infections are caused by bacteria that normally live in your large intestine. The bacteria get into your kidneys from the outside by traveling up your urinary tract:
You're more likely to get kidney infections:
If something is blocking your urinary tract so it's hard for urine to flow out
If you have a urinary catheter (a thin, flexible tube that's put into your urethra to drain your urine)
If you have diabetes Diabetes Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. You get diabetes if your body's normal way of controlling blood sugar isn't working right. There are 2 types of... read more or a weak immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system's job is to attack things that don’t belong in your body, including: Germs... read more
During pregnancy (because pressure from the growing baby can block urine flow)
Your doctor can tell if you have a kidney infection based on:
Your doctor may do blood tests to see if the infection has spread to the bloodstream.
Your doctor may also do imaging tests (CT scan or ultrasound) of your kidneys and urinary tract. The imaging tests are to look for a blockage and other abnormalities that might have caused the kidney infection. You may need imaging tests if you:
Your doctor will:
You may need to stay at the hospital to get antibiotics directly into your vein for a few days if you:
Are throwing up a lot
Are dehydrated (have too little water in your body)
Have a disease that weakens your immune system, such as certain cancers, diabetes Diabetes Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. You get diabetes if your body's normal way of controlling blood sugar isn't working right. There are 2 types of... read more , or AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection and AIDS The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a type of virus called a retrovirus. It causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), which is life-threatening. HIV is called an immunodeficiency... read more
Have signs of a severe infection, such as low blood pressure or confusion
After you leave the hospital, you will take antibiotics at home.
If you have kidney stones Stones in the Urinary Tract (Kidney Stones) Your urinary tract includes: Kidneys, two bean-shaped organs that make urine Ureters, the tubes that drain urine from each kidney to your bladder Bladder, a hollow organ that holds urine until... read more or a problem with your urethra, doctors will treat those problems.