Kidney infection 

Symptoms of kidney infection 

If you have a kidney infection

Make sure that you get plenty of rest. A kidney infection can be physically draining, even if you're normally healthy.

It may take up to two weeks before you're fit enough to return to work.

The symptoms of a kidney infection usually develop quite quickly over a few hours or days.

Common symptoms include:

  • pain in your side
  • pain and discomfort in your lower back and around your genitals
  • high temperature (it may reach 39.5ºC or 103.1ºF)
  • shivering
  • chills
  • feeling very weak or tired
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling sick
  • being sick
  • diarrhoea

You can also have other symptoms if you also have cystitis or urethritis (an infection of the urethra). These additional symptoms may include:

  • pain or a burning sensation during urination
  • the need to urinate frequently or urgently
  • feeling that you're unable to urinate fully
  • blood in your urine
  • cloudy or foul smelling urine
  • pain in your lower abdomen


Children with a kidney infection may also have additional symptoms such as:

  • a lack of energy
  • irritability
  • poor feeding and/or vomiting
  • not growing at the expected rate
  • abdominal pain
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • blood in the urine
  • unpleasant smelling urine
  • bedwetting

When to seek medical advice

Contact your GP if you have a high temperature, persistent pain, or if you notice a change to your usual pattern of urination. Contact your GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.

If you have blood in your urine, you should always see your GP so that the cause can be investigated.

Kidney infections require prompt treatment with antibiotics to help relieve symptoms and prevent complications developing.

Your GP can carry out some simple tests to help diagnose a kidney infection.

See diagnosing kidney infections for more information.

Page last reviewed: 11/12/2012

Next review due: 11/12/2014


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The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Golden_Bears said on 23 February 2014

I have had the flu for the past 3 weeks and thought nothing of it but the past 3-4 days I have had excruciating pain in my hips/lower back, iv also had a really high temperature to the point where iv been sleeping with my windows open and no blanket. I can't get comfy to sleep,stand,walk,sit and when I get strong waves of pain my whole body tenses up and it takes my breath away, I can hardly walk without leaning to my right to ease the pain (the pain is on both sides but mostly on my right side).

Iv just been taking anadin extra for the pain, i have gone off my food abit but iv been forcing myself to eat, iv drank about 4 litres today! Iv been really tired too and where the pain is has swollen like around my hips and waist?

Could this be a kidney infection or just my body being abit run down? Should I seek medical help?

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JessicaJames said on 09 February 2013

Great advice, Dragon_Tt! I had sudden onset of chills and fever, followed by severe pains in my left side and vomiting my own saliva, back in August of 2012. I was rushed to the emergency room. I had absolutely no idea it was a severe infection in my left kidney.

I have had these throughout my whole life and only once before did I not have the burning when going to the bathroom. Mine almost always start as a UTI.

I was past the point of dehydration but was lucky not to be admitted. I stayed a total of about 6 hours (needless to say, with no wait after I was rushed back before even being Triaged) for testing, bags of antibi otics and fluids, and to get the vomiting and pain under control. It took three days before I could stand up straight and even longer to regain my energy and sense of self!

This is one subject I have mastered through experience and it is definitely not fun! A kidney infection is nothing to play with. If you have symptoms please see a doctor. If symptoms are more advanced, like mine were, please go to the nearest emergency room or call 911! These things are deadly but can be cured by taking antibiotics.

Sad part about all of this... I feel another one coming on now. Moderate back and abdominal discomfort, the urge to scream "oh my god" to the tops of my lungs when I go potty, not to mention my urine is almost brown it is so infected! I am just getting over the flu and now this! Back to the doctor I go :(

Source: 29 years of having UTIs, Bladder Infections, & Kidney Infections. I had my first when I was 10 months old.
Estimated 35 UTIs, 15 Bladder Infections, & 7 Kidney Infections... Those estimates do not include the ones I had and didn't see a doctor for.

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Dragon_Tt said on 07 December 2012

I have recently been diagnoised with a kidney infection.My symptoms: I first had a very mild water infection (which Ive had a few times, and worse) but didnt go the the doctor this time as there is a 2 week waiting list and the infection I thought had gone after a week, after drinking loads of water and cranberry juice. I then had a constant pain in my lower back (mainly my left, hardly nothing in my right then went) and had what I thought was a mild cold. The pain in my back (left side) kept me in bed for 2 days, was taking paracetemol but did nothing for the pain in my back, was off my food and the pain was getting worse, when ever I drank anything cold the pain got even worse. It got to the point whereby I couldnt stand or walk on my own. Went to the hospital and was in agony, feeling sick and light-headed,cold & pain was unbearable. Turned out I had a high temperature which I had no idea as I felt cold and had everything in my water which went to my Kidney(s) (my kidney infection). If you have a water infection get an emergency appointment with your doctor as soon you have infection, get anti-biotics, dont try and cure it with water and cranberry juice like I did, even if you think its gone still see your G.P, and if you think you have a kidney infection dont wait get to a G.P or hospital A.S.A.P.

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