Your kidneys are the 2 bean-shaped organs that filter waste products out of your blood and make urine. Sometimes a kidney gets infected by bacteria.
Most kidney infections are caused by bacteria that normally live in your large intestine. The bacteria get into your kidneys from the outside by traveling up your urinary tract:
You're more likely to get kidney infections:
If something is blocking your urinary tract so it's hard for urine to flow out
If you have kidney stones
If you have a urinary catheter (a thin, flexible tube that's put into your urethra to drain your urine)
If you have diabetes or a weak immune system
During pregnancy (because pressure from the growing baby can block urine flow)
Your doctor can tell if you have a kidney infection based on:
Your doctor may do blood tests to see if the infection has spread to the bloodstream.
Your doctor may also do imaging tests (CT scan or ultrasound) of your kidneys and urinary tract. The imaging tests are to look for blockage and other abnormalities that might have caused the kidney infection. You may need imaging tests if you:
Your doctor will:
You may need to stay at the hospital to get antibiotics by IV for a few days if you:
After you leave the hospital, you will take antibiotics at home.
If you have kidney stones or a problem with your urethra, doctors will treat those problems.