Kidney infection

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

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
  • high temperature (it may reach 39.5C or 103.1F)
  • 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 cystitis or urethritis (an infection of the urethra). These additional symptoms may include:

  • pain or a burning sensation during urination
  • 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

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 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.

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