Symptoms of a kidney infection may include urine that smells bad, cloudy urine, abdominal pain, back or side pain, or a burning sensation when urinating, reports Mayo Clinic. Additional indicators may include fever or a frequent urge to urinate. Individuals experiencing symptoms of a kidney infection should seek medical attention.
Untreated kidney infections may result in life-threatening complications. Individuals who experience nausea, vomiting or bloody urine along with the typical symptoms of kidney infection require immediate medical assistance, states Mayo Clinic. Kidney infections are usually caused by the multiplication of bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra. A less common cause of kidney infection occurs when bacteria from another infection in the body spreads through the bloodstream to the kidneys.
Women are at a greater risk for kidney infection than men, states Mayo Clinic. Bacteria have a shorter distance to travel from outside the body to the bladder because a woman's urethra is shorter than a man's. Additionally, the location of the vagina and the anus near the urethra makes it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder. Bladder infections may then spread to the kidneys. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat kidney infections, and symptoms usually subside within a few days of treatment.