According to Mayo Clinic, kidney infections usually occur when bacteria enter the kidneys via the urinary tract or the bloodstream and multiply. In rare instances, kidney infections can develop as a complication of kidney surgery.
WebMD explains that kidney infections often begin as lower urinary tract infections of the bladder and urethra. If the bacteria move out of the lower urinary system and into the kidneys, a kidney infection can develop. Kidney infections are also referred to as pyelonephritis. Kidney infections can lead to serious illness if the bacteria spread to the blood, so it is imperative for individuals to seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms.
According to Healthline, pyelonephritis causes a variety of symptoms that can include a high fever, urinary pain, bloody urine and pain in the stomach, side and back. Individuals with kidney infections may also detect a strong, fishy odor upon urination. Additional symptoms can include chills, disorientation, vomiting and queasiness. Individuals with chronic urinary tract infections or kidney stones and those who utilize urinary catheters are at a higher risk for developing kidney infections. Kidney infections are typically treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics for a period of 10 to 14 days. Individuals with severe or chronic infections may require intravenous antibiotic treatment or kidney surgery.