Introduction to kidneys:

How Kidneys work:

The kidneys are influential chemical factories that execute the following functions:

  • Stable the body’s fluids.
  • Eliminate drugs from the body.
  • Generate an active form of vitamin D that develops strong, healthy bones.
  • Manage the production of red blood cells.
  • Take away waste products from the body.
  • Discharge hormones that manage blood pressure.

Infection In Kidneys:

A medical term for kidney infections is “pyelonephritis”, which is a bacterial infection of one or both kidneys. Our kidneys are part of our urinary tract, which includes the urethra, bladder, and ureters. The most common type of Kidney infection is known as urinary tract infection (UTI). Kidney infections mostly affect women more than men because of the dissimilarity in their anatomy. The infections in the Kidney can be sudden or long-term. They are frequently painful and can be hazardous if not treated on time.


Causes of Kidney Infection:

A kidney infection particularly takes place when an existing UTI, especially a bladder infection also known as “cystitis,” spreads to the kidneys. The bacteria Escherichia Coli (E Coli), which causes most bladder infections, is also 90% responsible for kidney infections. Handling UTIs on time can prevent kidney infection, but sadly, sometimes UTI traits are minute, and other times people grow a bladder and kidney infection at a time.


Traits of a kidney infection usually appear two days after infection. Your symptoms may vary, depending on your age.

Common Symptoms include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pus or blood in your urine
  • Chills
  • Pain in the abdomen, back, groin, or side
  • Frequent urination or the feeling of the need to urinate
  • Burning or pain while urinating
  • Bad-smelling or cloudy urine
  • Fever

Children less than 2 years old with a kidney infection may have only a high fever. People above 65 may face problems like mental confusion or jumbled speech. If the infection is not treated on time, symptoms could become worsen, which can cause sepsis. It can be life-threatening. 

Symptoms of Sepsis include:

  • Fever
  • Rapid breathing and heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Chills
  • Rash


Most kidney infections are caused by bacteria or viruses that enter the kidneys from the urinary tract. A common bacterial cause is Escherichia coli (E. coli). These bacteria are found in your intestine and can enter the urinary tract through the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out from your body. The bacteria multiply and spread from there to the bladder and kidneys.

Less Common Causes of Kidney Infections are:

  1. Surgery of the bladder or kidneys
  2. If you have an infection in any part of your body that bacteria can reach your kidneys through the bloodstream.
  3. If your urine flow is blocked by something, for example, a kidney stone or tumour in the urinary tract, an enlarged prostate in men, or an issue with the shape of the urinary tract

Major Risk factors:

Some major risk factors to get Kidney infections are as follows:

  1. Urinary tract infections during pregnancy can make it easier for bacteria to get inside the kidneys.
  2. If someone is having a weak immune system because of diabetes, if someone is taking drugs which can affect the immune system, or if someone is suffering from AIDS.
  3. If someone has used a catheter in the past to drain urine.
  4. The risk of kidney infections is high in women due to shorter urethra if compared to men. The urethra in women is closer to the vagina and anus which makes it easy for the bacteria to travel inside the urinary tract.
  5. If someone is facing problems in emptying the bladder completely. This condition is known as urinary retention. People, who are suffering from spina bifida or multiple sclerosis can also get a kidney infection.
  6. If people develop the habit of holding their pee for a longer period of time it stores in one or both kidneys. It is most common in children.
  7. If someone is having an issue with the shape of their urinary tract.
  8. If someone had an examination of the bladder with an instrument known as a cystoscope.

Investigations By The Doctor:

The GP will ask about your medical history and symptoms. They can ask for labs and physical examinations like:

  • A rectal examination in males can be done to check if the prostate is enlarged and blocking the bladder neck.
  • Urinalysis. A urine sample will be taken to search for bacteria and also white blood cells, which are meant to fight infections.
  • Urine culture. A urine sample will be cultured in the labs to control the specific bacteria that grow.
  • A doctor can ask for a report of a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound test.

Medical Care/Antibiotics:

The medical care will revolve around the severity of your kidney infection. If the infection is mild, oral antibiotics are the first thing to be suggested by the doctor. The doctor can change the type of antibiotic once the results of the urine tests are out and some more specific bacterial infection is found.

Probably the doctor will suggest you take antibiotics for two or more weeks. The doctor may suggest follow-up urine cultures after treatment to be sure that the infection is gone and has not returned. If needed, the doctor may suggest another course of antibiotics.

If there is some serious infection, the doctor can keep the patient in the hospital to get intravenous antibiotics and intravenous fluids. If needed the doctor can do surgery to correct a blockage or problematic shape in your urinary tract. It will help intercept new kidney infections.

Reasons Why Antibiotics Did Not Rectify UTI Symptoms

Practically one should feel much better after the third day of antibiotic therapy, the bacterial infection should be lowered, and so the symptoms should fall away, after 48 hours of using antibiotics the patient should not have turbid, bad smell, or blood in the urine.

Indications That UTIs are Not Responding To Antibiotics:

It happens when the risks are higher to get sick with an infection in which the bacteria get resistant to the antibiotic.


  • If someone is at the fault for keeping a pile of antibiotics and treating UTIs, colds, and travel diarrhoea, by themselves.
  • If someone is using the same antibiotic for multiple infections.
  • Someone has been hospitalized lately.
  • Someone went through multiple UTI treatments in a lifetime.
  • If someone is immunocompromised or has any serious incurable health conditions, for example, uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Somebody has stopped taking antibiotics and did not finish all the tablets that the doctor suggested.

UTI Symptoms Still Linger On After Antibiotic, Is It UTI?

There are three main reasons why suggested antibiotics didn’t 

work Fully for UTIs:

  1. The doctors claim that the antibiotic Cipro helps their patients with UTI-like symptoms even when no bacteria is found in their urine labs. 
  2. If anyone is lucky enough to experience the famous placebo effect. This means that the body starts healing itself even when somebody is given an irrelevant medicine or a sugar pill. It is effective in up to 75% of patients in controlled groups and till now it is not understood well, but still, it is a real thing.
  3. There is always a chance that all the tests are not 100% correct. So there was, an infection in the urine sample but the lab was not able to culture it. There is a higher risk of a mistake if the urine is too watery because you were drinking a lot of water before the urine test. There could be a certain type of bacteria that is more irritating to the bladder even if its counts are lower.

Recurring UTI Infections Even After Using Antibiotics:

After using antibiotics for UTI you were excellent, but after a long time, you start feeling the symptoms again as a reinfection. The following is the main cause:

Bacteria Can Hide In The Bladder Lining:

Chronic UTI patients have pimples on their bladder lining. It is known as Cystitis cystic which is a benign bruise on the surface of the bladder.

When a biopsy of these pimples is done it results in bacterial contamination. It is because bacteria can comfortably reside inside these pimples on a bladder surface. The most serious thing is that they can appear time and again to cause another infection. That is the reason that UTI symptoms come back even after using antibiotics.

How To Recover From UTI:

One should feel better within a few days of using antibiotics. Complete the entire course of antibiotics as suggested by the doctor to avoid reinfection. If anyone is facing UTIs frequently then there is a high risk of kidney infections in future.

To get relief from the pain of the infection follow these guidelines:

  • Take pain relief medicines over-the-counter or as suggested by the doctor.
  • One can use a heating pad to get relief from the pain, it will help in reducing the stomach or back pain.
  • Drinking 6-8 eight glasses of water a day will help flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract.
  •  Coffee and alcohol can also be helpful in increasing the need to urinate.