Kidney Pain

Learn about kidney pain.


Pyelonephritis is a kind of urinary tract infection. In this condition, the infection rises and gets to the renal pelvis. The word urosepsis can be used for cases that are severe. Pyelitis is another word used for the condition in general.


Pyelonephritis can lead to different symptoms. Dysuria, or painful urination, is a common one. Tenderness of the bladder area, pain in the location of the affected kidney, and abdominal pain are some others. There may also be headache, vomiting and other symptoms. If the pyelonephritis is particularly severe and leads to sepsis, then hypotension (low blood pressure), tachycardia (increased heart rate), and other symptoms may be present.

Causes and risk factors

E. coli is a frequent cause of this form of urinary tract infection (UTI). Generally, this condition begins as either cystitis or prostatitis. One of the risk factors is having diabetes melitus. Another is having a compromised immune system, whether due to AIDS, medications being taken, etc. Having family members with frequent UTIs is another possible risk factor. Damage to the spinal cord, such as that seen in multiple sclerosis or spina bifida, can also mean an increased risk. Other factors can also lead to more frequent pyelonephritis.


A doctor or medical professional performs the tests involved in diagnosis of pyelonephritis. One method that can be used is a urine dipstick test. In this, a person who is experiencing common symptoms of this illness will have the urine tested, and finding white blood cells and nitrite in the urine is enough to make a positive diagnosis. Blood cultures can also be done, and if it is thought that a kidney stone might be involved then X-rays might be taken.


Nearly every incident of pyelonephritis is brought on by bacteria. Most treatment methods involve a course of antibiotics. Other measures may be taken to attempt to prevent recurrence if the infection returns after being treated. Some studies have suggested that cranberry juice may be useful in preventing urinary tract infections.