Kidney Infection-When is Hospitalization Necessary


Kidney infections, which are medically termed as pyelonephritis, can be excruciating—and even deadly, without proper medical care. So, the next time you think you might have a UTI, don’t put off seeing the doctor.

Here’s what you should know about kidney infections, your potential risk, and why you shouldn’t wait for treatment.

What is a Kidney Infection?

A kidney infection often develops if you have a urinary tract infection (UTI). The bacteria spread to one or both kidneys. A kidney infection can make you feel unwell but is usually easily treated with antibiotics.

Symptoms of a Kidney Infection

These include:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Lower stomach pain, or lower back pain (one or both sides)
  • an urgent need to pee
  • your urine (pee) is pink or cloudy or smells bad
  • a painful or burning sensation when you pee
  • blood in your pee
  • needing to pee more often than usual
  • weakness or tiredness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • confusion, particularly in the elderly.

These symptoms frequently appear all of a sudden, for a day or two. A kidney infection can lead to sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition if left untreated.

Infection of the Kidneys-What to do?

Kidney infections are serious, and it is essential to seek timely care so that they don’t cause complications. A research study conducted in 2019 suggests that kidney infections lead to 250,000 office visits and 200,000 hospital admissions in the United States each year.

It is a good practice to further investigate all men with a kidney infection because the condition is much rarer in men. In the case of women, it is not necessary to be referred unless they’ve had two or more kidney infections.

In most cases, children with a kidney infection will be treated in the hospital.

Hospital treatment is mandatory if:

  • Your body is severely dehydrated.
  • You are unable to swallow or keep down fluids or medicine
  • A pregnancy with a high temperature
  • Symptoms of blood poisoning such as a rapid heartbeat and losing consciousness
  • Condition fails to improve within 24 hours of starting treatment with antibiotics.
  • You’re very weak, and your overall health isn’t great.
  • Your immune system is impaired.
  • You are having a kidney stone or a urinary catheter in your urinary tract.
  • You have diabetes, you’re over 65, and you have a condition that affects how your kidneys function, such as polycystic kidney disease or chronic renal disease.

What to Expect if I Don’t Get Treatment?

When you avoid a proper treatment for kidney infection, it can cause serious complications like:

1-Kidney Damage

Kidney damage or scarring is one of the fatal complications of an untreated kidney infection. Your kidneys may not function properly as a result, and you may develop chronic renal disease.

2-High Blood Pressure

Your kidneys are in charge of filtering waste from your blood. A kidney infection that affects the blood arteries that feed the kidneys might result in high blood pressure.

3-Kidney Failure

Kidney failure can arise as a result of serious damage caused by a kidney infection. Your kidneys will no longer be able to filter waste items from your blood when this happens.

4-Kidney Abscess

Occasionally, you may develop a kidney abscess, a collection of pus in the kidney tissue.


A kidney infection can cause sepsis when it spreads into your bloodstream.

6-Emphysematous Pyelonephritis

Emphysematous Pyelonephritis (EPN) is a potentially life-threatening condition when the gas that bacteria produce builds up in the kidneys. Kidney tissue is rapidly destroyed by this condition. People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from EPN.


When you have an underlying condition that makes you prone to kidney infections, your doctor may refer you to the hospital. Because kidney infections are significantly more common in males, it’s routine to investigate all men who have them. Unless a woman has had two or more kidney infections, she is unlikely to be referred. The majority of children who have a kidney infection will be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1-What is kidney infection recovery time?

After about two weeks, most people who are diagnosed and treated with antibiotics immediately feel entirely well. It may take longer for those who are older or have underlying illnesses to heal. If you notice that your symptoms do not improve within 24 hours after starting therapy, see your doctor.

2-What to avoid with a kidney infection?

  • Spicy foods.
  • Certain hot meals, such as citrus, might irritate the bladder.
  • Extremely acidic fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits can irritate your bladder and increase UTI symptoms, despite their high vitamin C content.
  • Caffeinated beverages

3-Which is the best antibiotic for kidney infection?

Ciprofloxacin, cefalexin, co-amoxiclav, and trimethoprim are the most commonly prescribed antibiotics for kidney infections.

Paracetamol, a pain reliever, can help to relieve discomfort and lower a high temperature (fever). More potent medications are necessary if the pain is severe.