12 Signs You May Have a Kidney Infection

Signs of Kidney Infection include increased urinary frequency, urgency of urination, burning with urination, fever, lower back pain, groin pain, offensive smelling urine, blood in urine, nausea and vomiting, generalized weakness, pain during sexual intercourse, and cloudy urine.

For many people, a kidney infection can be an extremely irritating time, from the discomfort or burning, to the embarrassing need to find the closest bathroom- constantly throughout the day.

Luckily, they are not very likely to be very serious as long as you treat them in a timely manner, but ignore symptoms and you could make things bad very quickly.

In contrast to a UTI (urinary tract infection) which can occur anywhere along the length of the urinary tract; that is from the kidney to the bladder and urethra, kidney infections only affect the kidney. Symptoms are generally similar, though persons with kidney infections have more local pain than someone with an infection of the bladder or urethra.

Common signs that you may be suffering from a kidney infection include:

12 Signs You May Have a Kidney Infection

12 Signs You May Have a Kidney Infection

1. Increased Urinary Frequency

The first obvious sign that you may have a urinary tract infection or kidney infection is the need to urinate several times in the space of a few minutes. This goes on and on until you start to address the underlying infection.

Urinary frequency is common to both types of infection, so this is usually one sign that needs to be observed in conjunction with others to come to a diagnosis of a kidney infection.

2. Urgency Of Urination

Many adults are able to control the urge to urinate, giving them sufficient time to find an appropriate rest room. However, persons with kidney infections tend to lose this ability to hold their urine, making it necessary for them to go to the nearest washroom immediately. Failure to do so can result in an embarrassing accident in the most inconvenient places.

3. Burning With Urination

Urine by nature is an acidic substance, but one that our urinary tract is capable of transporting without much issue. Persons with kidney infections or UTIs typically lose some degree of this protective effect, as bacteria may cause inflammation in the kidneys that lead to persons being extra sensitive to the passing urine stream.

Burning usually occurs during urination and shortly afterwards, which even though not very painful by itself is still uncomfortable.

4. Fever

If a kidney or urinary tract infection is mild it is unlikely that you will experience fever. However, based on the fact that kidney infections tend to develop after you’ve been sitting on a UTI for a while, they’re more likely to occur with fever.

A fever is indicative that your body is gripping with an infection and actively trying to get control of it. Do not be afraid to use over-the-counter fever reducers to reduce your body temperature, as fever is not something that you need to wait out- that belief is an old wives tale.

5. Lower Back Pain

Based on the anatomical position of the kidneys, any process that causes inflammation of this organ, such as an infection will occur with associated pain. The pain may be dull and throbbing, or more intense and penetrating. Regardless, this is a very reliable indicator that you probably have a kidney infection, especially if it occurs with other symptoms such as urinary frequency.

Start off by taking an over-the-counter pain killer, but consult your doctor as soon as possible to diagnose if an infection is positively the cause of your pain.

6. Groin Pain

Groin pain is localized and usually occurs as a result of the burning sensation left behind from urinary tract infections or kidney infection. Pain may also be more severe, resembling that of menstrual cramps or belly pain when you have consumed bad food.

Just keep in mind this pain does not affect the abdomen, but is much closer to your urethra, or in the pelvic region.

7. Offensive Smelling Urine

While normal urine smells bad enough, when you have a kidney infection this putrid odor is normally amplified several times over. It only makes sense, while you have an active bacterial infection brewing, the waste materials produced by these organisms coupled with your natural waste gives a highly unpleasant sulfur smelling odor.

8. Blood In Your Urine

While blood in your urine may occur for a number of reasons, when it comes to kidney infections it is almost always because that the bacterial infection has worsened from the initial stage. Inflammation along any part of the urinary tract will result in some degree of bleeding, microscopic or otherwise, but if it is highly visible and you have pain characteristic of a kidney infection, it should not be ignored.

Women are more likely to see bleeding from these types of infections as there urinary tract is generally longer, with a greater surface area.

9. Nausea And Vomiting

Though nausea and vomiting are very inconspicuous symptoms, when they occur with other common symptoms of kidney infections such as back pain and urinary frequency, you should not ignore it. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible, since the dehydration that follows vomiting could complicate recovery much more, and even lend itself to more serious problems.

10. Generalized Weakness

As men tend to be diagnosed with UTIs and kidney infections at a lower rate than women, they do not always understand that weakness is a common sign to look for, especially when occurring with other signs that indicate a kidney infection.

Similar to the way that the flu or common cold will  leave you feeling weaker, so too will kidney infections which can be considered many times more serious than infections that tend to resolve on their own most of the time.

It is important to take time off from work for recovery or while being administered medication in order to rest up and support your body’s immune system in their fight against the pathogens.

11. Pain During Sexual Intercourse

Another inconspicuous sign that you may be experiencing a kidney infection is pain during intercourse which is not normally present. This occurs for a number of reasons, such as inflammation along the urinary tract or vagina, or to the tenderness caused by the infection at this time.

Even more obvious is if the pain persists after intercourse, and extends to the back or abdomen. This is usually indicative of a kidney infection of some sort. Tests will need to be performed to rule out the presence of a sexually transmitted infection as well, since many symptoms overlap.

12. Cloudy Urine

Cloudy urine is more commonly associated with the presence of a sexually transmitted infection, but even kidney infections if left long enough will have a high bacterial density that cause cloudiness in the urine.

Hopefully, you do not have to see this sign, as this means you have had infection for a while before you noticed it.


Kidney infections should not be messed around with. At the first indication that something is obviously wrong, even if it is just a mild urinary tract infection, consult your physician. It is usually much easier to tackle infections early on, than to wait and see how things turn out.

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