What is it?

Kidney infections happen when bacteria enters your body via the urethra (the tube you pass urine through). The bacteria then travels into your bladder and up to your kidneys.

Usually, kidney infections can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics and you will recover completely.

Sometimes, kidney infections can be severe and this is called pyelonephritis. Symptoms of pyelonephritis include pain, fever and vomiting.

Kidney infections can be more dangerous for some people, such as women who are pregnant, the elderly or those who’ve had kidney problems before.


What will my GP do now?

You will have a urine test and be given the correct antibiotic to treat the infection. You may also be given paracetamol to help with pain and fever.

You GP may discuss:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Having a blood test to check your kidney function
  • Doing a pregnancy test if relevant
  • Having an ultrasound or CT-scan, if you’ve had problems with your kidneys in the past
  • If your infection is severe or complicated, your GP will refer you straight to the Emergency Department. The hospital can give intravenous antibiotics. This means they go straight into your bloodstream. The hospital can also do other tests to make sure you are being well managed
  • You might be offered a Hospital in the Home service (see ‘What supports are available?’)


What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP will want to see you again after 48 hours, to make sure the antibiotics are taking effect. If you still have fever or pain, your GP will arrange for further tests and may refer you to a kidney specialist.

Your GP will see you again towards the end of your antibiotic treatment. At this time your GP:

  • Will retest your urine sample to make sure the infection is completely gone
  • May recommend an ultrasound of your kidneys
  • May refer you to a specialist


What can I do?

The most important thing to do now is finish taking all the antibiotics you’re given, even if you’re feeling better. Drink plenty of fluids and keep all your appointments with your doctor.