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Symptoms - Kidney infection

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

Common symptoms include:

  • pain and discomfort in your side, lower back or around your genitals
  • a high temperature
  • shivering or chills
  • feeling very weak or tired
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling sick or being sick
  • diarrhoea

You may have other symptoms if you also have a urinary tract infection (UTI) such as cystitis.

These additional symptoms may include:

  • pain or a burning sensation when peeing
  • need to pee suddenly or more often than usual
  • blood in your pee
  • smelly or cloudy pee
  • pain in your lower tummy
  • pain in your genitals

In older people, a kidney infection may cause confusion.

Symptoms in children

Children with a kidney infection may have the following symptoms:

  • smelly pee
  • blood in their pee
  • wetting the bed
  • a high temperature and feeling unwell (they may complain of tummy ache)
  • being sick and/or not feeding well

A child younger than 2 with a kidney infection may only have a high temperature, without any other obvious symptoms.

When to see a GP

See a GP if you feel feverish and you have pain in your tummy, lower back or genitals that will not go away.

You should also see a GP if you have symptoms of a UTI that have not improved after a few days, or if you have blood in your pee.

Contact a GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.

Kidney infections require prompt treatment with antibiotics.

Page last reviewed: 06 January 2021
Next review due: 06 January 2024