Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Kidney Infections


Kidney infection or pyelonephritis is a painful and uncomfortable condition usually caused by cystitis, a common bladder infection. Most people with cystitis will not get a kidney infection, but occasionally bacteria can move from the bladder to one or both kidneys. Less commonly, the infection can spread from other parts of the body to the kidneys through the blood or after kidney surgery. If treated promptly with antibiotics, a kidney infection does not cause serious harm, although it will create a lot of discomfort. But if left untreated, it can worsen and sometimes cause permanent kidney damage.


If you have a kidney infection, you may experience: 

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the ribs, back, abdomen or groin
  • Frequent urination or constantly feeling that you need to urinate
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Blood in the urine (pink, brown or red urine)


To diagnose a kidney infection, your medical history and symptoms will be evaluated during a consultation. A urine test will then be requested, which will include a complete urinalysis and urine culture. For male patients with a confirmed urinary tract infection, a urological evaluation may also be needed.

Most kidney infections need immediate treatment with antibiotics to stop the infection from damaging the kidneys or spreading to the bloodstream. Painkillers may also be recommended. If you are considered high risk or have a severe infection, you may need to be admitted for intravenous antibiotic treatment. Most people who are diagnosed and treated promptly with antibiotics feel better after about 2 weeks. People who are older or have underlying conditions may take longer to recover.

Kidney infections usually occur when bacteria, most commonly E. Coli, enter the urethra. The bacteria travel up to the bladder, causing cystitis, and then to the kidneys. E. Coli bacteria live normally in the gut, where they cause no harm. They can be transferred from the anus to the genitals during sex or when cleaning the anus after a visit to the toilet.

A kidney infection can sometimes develop without a bladder infection. For example, if a patient has another kidney related condition such as kidney stones, or if they have diabetes mellitus or a weakened immune system.

Kidney infections can occur at any age and are much more common in women. This is because a woman’s urethra is shorter, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and eventually the kidneys. Younger women are more at risk because they tend to be more sexually active and frequent sex increases their chances of contracting a kidney infection.

The best way to prevent a kidney infection is to keep the bladder and urethra free of bacteria by:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Going to the toilet as soon as the feeling arises
  • Going to the toilet after sex
  • Careful hygiene after using the toilet
  • Washing the genitals every day, as well as before sex
  • Treating constipation – which can increase the chances of developing a UTI
  • Avoiding the use of prophylactics coated with spermicides if you are prone to UTIs


If there are ongoing – recurrent (coming and going) lower urinary tract infections, your medical team may prescribe a low dose of antibiotics to be taken regularly. This may help to prevent the infection from returning or spreading to the upper urinary tract like the kidneys.


The medical and nursing staff of the Departments of Nephrology, Urology and Infectious Diseases are highly specialized and trained for the diagnosis, and treatment of kidney infections. 

The GMI is equipped with everything that you may need during your diagnosis and treatment, including our state-of-the-art radiology department and microbiology laboratory. 

The GMI team will never offer a simple “one size fits all” approach to any patient. We believe each patient’s case is as individual as they are, and strive to find the best solution for each of our patients, taking their specific case and diagnosis, their lifestyle, and choices into account.

24-hour Emergency Helpline

(+357) 25 208 000

Emergencies are not yet accredited of the General Health Care System

(+357) 25 208 000

Emergencies are not yet accredited of the General Health Care System.


Dr. Aris Angouridis

About me:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.