What is Pyelonephritis?

Pyelonephritis is an infection of one or both kidneys. It's caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract from the bloodstream, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli). Symptoms usually include fever, chills, flank pain, burning with urination, and frequent and urgent need to urinate.

Common Causes of Pyelonephritis

Urinary tract blockage due to an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or tumors can cause Pyelonephritis. Poor hygiene, sexual intercourse, and other causes can also lead to Pyelonephritis.

Treatment for Pyelonephritis

Treatment includes antibiotics and, if needed, hospitalization for management of pain and supportive care. Additionally, if an underlying medical condition is causing the infection, such as a UTI, kidney stone, or tumor, the underlying cause must be treated.

Risk Factors for Pyelonephritis

There are several risk factors for developing Pyelonephritis including:

  • Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth
  • Individuals taking certain medications, such as immune-suppressant drugs and steroid medications
  • Individuals with impaired immune systems
  • Individuals who have diabetes
  • Individuals who have kidney stones
  • Individuals with anatomical abnormalities of the urinary tract
  • Individuals with chronic urinary tract infections

Preventing Pyelonephritis

There are several steps individuals can take to reduce their risk of developing Pyelonephritis:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to flush bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Avoid chemical or herbal urinary tract cleansers.
  • If you are sexually active, use a condom and washing before and after sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate promptly after intercourse.
  • Avoid tight fitting undergarments or clothing that can trap moisture.
  • Practice good hygiene to keep bacteria from entering the urinary tract.