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What does a kidney infection feel like?

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Quick Answer

A person with a kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, may experience vomiting, nausea, back pain, fever or confusion. Medical treatment should be sought immediately to avoid permanent kidney damage.

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Full Answer

Kidney infections are often the result of a urinary tract infection that has spread to the upper urinary system. When bacteria, often E. coli, penetrates the body through the urethra, it travels up the urinary tract and into the bladder. The bacteria may find its way to the one or both kidneys, resulting in a kidney infection.

Pyelonephritis is a serious medical condition that spreads quickly through the blood, making a patient severely sick. Women are more vulnerable to kidney infections than men due to females having a shorter urethra. Fortunately, kidney infections can be treated using antibiotics as long as the symptoms are detected early on, before the infection spreads and becomes more severe.

Pyelonephritis may cause several changes in the urine, including pain during urination, smelly urine, blood in the urine and frequent urination. Young women have a higher risk of getting kidney infection because they tend to be more sexually active, and chances of contracting a kidney infection are higher for people who have regular intercourse. Keeping the urethra free from bacteria is one way of preventing a kidney infection.

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