What is Pyelonephritis?

  • Pyelonephritis (Kidney infection) is a urinary tract infection, generally caused by bacteria, that commonly begins in your bladder and then moves upstream to affect one or both of your kidneys.
  • It is usually more serious than an infection that affects the bladder alone (cystitis).
  • In some cases, especially after surgery, the bacterium can enter the bloodstream and then travel to the kidneys.


  • A fever with temperatures greater than 102°F (38.9°C)
  • Pain in the abdomen, groin, side, or back.
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood or pus in urine
  • Urgent or frequent urination
  • Fish-smelling urine


Most kidney infections begin as bladder infections. Not all bladder infections can be prevented. However, you may be less likely to get one if you take the following steps:

  • Avoid deodorant sprays or douches on your genitals.
  • Don’t use spermicidal condoms or diaphragms. It can trigger the growth of bacteria.
  • In women, an estrogen vaginal cream may be prescribed to keep the tissues around the bladder clean and healthy. This is especially so after
  • Use lubricated condoms as the lube helps to ease the urethra and prevents irritation.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge to urinate.
  • Always urinate after intercourse. This helps to flush out the bacteria.
  • Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. Otherwise, germs from the rectum can be transferred to hand and tissue.


The following might reduce discomfort when you are recovering from a kidney infection:

  • Place a heating pad on your abdomen, side, or back to ease the pain.
  • If you have discomfort or fever, take a non-aspirin pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others).
  • Fluids will help flush bacteria from your urinary tract. Drink plenty of them, but avoid coffee and alcohol. These products can irritate the bladder.
  • Get good rest.