What is it?
Pyelonephritis is a kidney bacterial infection which is painful and unpleasant illness usually caused by cystitis, a common infection of the bladder. Most people with cystitis won’t get a kidney infection but, occasionally, the bacteria can travel up from the bladder into one or both kidneys. It causes the kidneys to swell and may permanently damage them. Pyelonephritis can be life-threatening. When repeated or persistent attacks occur, the condition is called chronic pyelonephritis. The chronic form is rare, but it happens more often in children or people with urinary obstructions
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of pyelonephritis often come on within a few hours. You can feel feverish, shivery, sick and have a pain in your back or side. Symptoms usually appear within two days of infection. Common symptoms include: a fever greater than 102°F (38.9°C) pain in the abdomen, back, side, or groin painful or burning urination cloudy urine pus or blood in the urine urgent or frequent urination fishy-smelling urine Other symptoms can include: shaking or chills nausea vomiting general aching or ill feeling fatigue moist skin mental confusion You may also have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) such as cystitis. These include: needing to pee suddenly, or more often than usual pain or a burning sensation when peeing smelly or cloudy pee blood in your pee Symptoms may be different in children and older adults than they are in other people. For example, mental confusion is common in older adults and is often their only symptom. People with chronic pyelonephritis may experience only mild symptoms or may even lack noticeable symptoms altogether.Fever, frequent urination and pain in the back, side or groin are symptoms.
- Drink plenty of fluids (plain water is best) to increase urination and remove bacteria from the urethra. Aim to drink enough so that you’re frequently passing pale-coloured urine.
- Going to the loo as soon as you feel the need to, rather than holding it in
- Urinate after sex to help flush out bacteria.
- Wipe from front to back after going to the loo
- Wash your genitals every day, and before having sex if possible
- Treat any constipation – being constipated can increase your chance of developing a UTI
- Make sure you get plenty of rest. A kidney infection can be physically draining, even if you’re normally healthy and strong. It may take up to 2 weeks before you’re fit enough to return to work.
- Do not using a diaphragm or condoms coated in spermicide if you’re prone to getting UTIs – it’s thought spermicide can increase your risk of getting a UTI
- try not to “hover” over the toilet seat when you go to the loo because it can result in your bladder not being fully emptied.
- Avoid using products that can irritate the urethra, such as douches or feminine sprays.
Things to watch out for
See your GP if you think you have symptoms of pyelonephritis