What Does a Kidney Infection Feel Like?

Also known as pyelonephritis or renal infection, a kidney infection is mainly a type of urinary tract infection and can cause extreme pain. You usually develop a kidney infection when E. coli bacteria spread from the bladder to one of the kidneys. The pain associated with it can be quite severe, and that is why many people ask what a kidney infection feels like.

It is important to seek immediate medical assistance to prevent any serious complications, such as blood poisoning and kidney damage. You usually need to take antibiotics to clear the infection, but in serious cases, you may have to be hospitalized for a few days.

What Does a Kidney Infection Feel Like?

The severity of the infection usually determines the answer to what a kidney infection feels like. There are certain common symptoms as well as some serious symptoms not experienced by every patient. Here is more about it:

1.        Common Symptoms

You usually develop symptoms quite quickly and experience pain in your side and around your genitals. Other symptoms include chills, high temperature, loss of appetite, tiredness, and diarrhea.

2.        Additional Symptoms with Urethritis or Cystitis

You will experience some additional symptoms when you also have urethritis or cystitis. These symptoms may include blood in urine, frequent urination, burning pain when urinating, and pain in your lower abdomen. You may also feel that you are not able to urinate fully.

3.        Symptoms in Children

Your child with a kidney infection may also have certain symptoms such as irritability, lethargy, abdominal pain, vomiting, jaundice, bedwetting, foul-smelling urine, and slow growth.

4.        When to See a Doctor

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience pain with a high temperature. See your doctor if there is blood in your urine or you notice unusual pattern of urination. Also, talk to your doctor if you suspect your child may have a kidney infection.

How Other Patients Describe It?

What does a kidney infection feel like? See how different patients describe it:

"After having spasms on my lower right side, I have been taking medicines for bladder and kidney infection for quite some time now. I drink plenty of water but my urine is still very yellow in color. I also had a cold last year but it always come back again. I have also been experiencing pain in legs since the last couple of days and my sleep pattern is all over the place."

"I do not just have a kidney infection but my doctor believes that I have kidney stones too. While I do not have any fever, I have serious pain under my chest that often radiates to my groin area. It becomes so difficult to breathe when pain becomes severe. My doctor performed certain tests but found no blood in the urine. There were white blood cells and protein in my urine samples though. It feels as if I have the flu. My body hurts and I feel nauseous as well."

"I am now 40 and have suffered kidney infections thrice in my life. I am having it again. What does a kidney infection feel like? It's painful, sometimes unbearable. Now, I am experiencing horrible pain near ribs, as well as in lower left and right abdomen. As of this morning, I have fever, dizziness, nausea, and infrequent urination. There was a burning sensation at the end of urination but that subsided later, which my doctor told was not a good thing – it means the infection has now moved up to my kidneys?"

"I started experiencing serious kidney infection symptoms three days ago, but the pain became so worse that I finally decided to go to the emergency room. I experienced severe pain when I urinated – the pain and frequent urination continued for two days. The pain was so severe on the third day and there was a ton of blood in my urine, which made me run to the emergency room."

How to Manage the Discomfort

Now that you know the answer to your question, "What does a kidney infection feel like?" you may also want to know how to manage the pain and discomfort.

Medical Treatments

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Your doctor will ask for urine tests to identify the type of bacteria present in your urine. This helps them select the most suitable drugs for you. The signs and symptoms of an infection will take a few days to ease a bit, but you may have to take antibiotics for a week or longer. Be sure to complete the course of antibiotics even if you start to feel better after a few days. In serious cases, you will have to pay a visit to the hospital. Your doctor will give you antibiotics intravenously to treat your infection.

Lifetime and Home Remedies

You can also take some homecare measures to relieve pain and discomfort. For instance:

  • Apply heat on your back, abdomen, or side to reduce pain and pressure.
  • Take painkillers to reduce pain and fever. Take acetaminophen and avoid aspirin.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids to help eliminate bacteria from your urinary tract. Do not drink alcohol or coffee though.

Reduce Your Risk of Kidney Infection

What does a kidney infection feel like? Now you know the answers already,but that's not enough. You need to take some steps to reduce the risks in the first place:

  • Drink plenty of water to help get rid of any bacteria present in your urinary tract.
  • Never hold the urge to urinate.
  • Always empty the bladder after you have an intercourse. This will help clear any bacteria present in the urethra, which will reduce your risk of infection.
  • Never wipe from back to front after using the bathroom. This way, you will be making it easier for bacteria to enter your urethra.
  • Do not use feminine products, such as douches or deodorant sprays in the genital area because they irritate your urethra and make you more susceptible to infections.
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