Kidney infections, medically known as pyelonephritis, are a particular type of urinary tract infection that originates in the bladder or urethra and ascends to one or both kidneys. It’s an ailment that could potentially lead to serious complications if left untreated, hence early detection is pivotal. This article will guide you through six common symptoms of kidney infections, enabling you to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of them.

1. Persistent Pain in the Lower Back or Side

The first sign that you might have a kidney infection is persistent pain located in the lower back or on either side of your body just below your rib cage. This is generally where your kidneys are located. The pain can vary from dull discomfort to severe throbbing. It might get worse when you’re active or when you finish urinating.

2. High Temperature

Running a fever higher than 38°C is another common symptom associated with kidney infections. This fever may also be accompanied by chills, shivers, or night sweats. If you’re finding yourself feeling unusually hot and cold at different times, it could be a signal that your body is fighting a kidney infection.

3. Nausea and Vomiting

In response to the infection, your body may trigger nausea or vomiting. These symptoms are common when your kidneys aren’t able to filter waste and toxins efficiently from your blood, causing them to accumulate and make you feel unwell.

4. Frequent and Painful Urination

If you have a kidney infection, you may find yourself needing to urinate more frequently. Each trip to the loo may also be accompanied by a burning sensation or pain, known as dysuria. Moreover, you might observe that your urine looks cloudy, or it may contain traces of blood. This is due to the infection in your urinary tract.

5. Fatigue and Weakness

In general, infections put a strain on your body and can make you feel unusually tired or weak. If you’re experiencing persistent fatigue that isn’t relieved with rest, it could be a symptom of a kidney infection. Your body is using its energy to fight the infection, which can leave you feeling drained.

6. Swelling or Puffiness

Kidney infections can affect your kidney’s normal functioning, including its ability to remove extra fluids from your body. This can lead to fluid retention, causing swelling or puffiness, particularly around your eyes, ankles, or hands.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If you are experiencing any combination of the symptoms described above, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Ignoring or delaying treatment for a kidney infection can result in severe complications, including permanent kidney damage or sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition.

In the UK, NHS 111 can provide urgent health advice. Alternatively, you can visit your general practitioner (GP) who can evaluate your symptoms. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests treating uncomplicated cases of kidney infection with a week-long course of antibiotics. To safeguard your urinary health, consider consulting Urocare, a dedicated clinic aiming to provide high-quality care for patients with kidney-related ailments. Remember, proactive health management is your best defence against the onset of diseases.


Awareness of the symptoms associated with kidney infections is your first step towards ensuring your kidney’s health. While these symptoms can be uncomfortable and, at times, alarming, early detection and proper medical treatment will greatly increase your chances of a full recovery. Don’t ignore your body’s signals, listen to them, and take prompt action for your well-being.