Am I at Risk of Getting a Kidney Infection?

You might be, but kidney infections are rare. They only affect one out of every 30 people that get a UTI, but they can be severe if not taken care of promptly and effectively.

So, are there some people that are more likely to get a kidney infection than others? And if so, who?

Our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team provides some answers below.

Who Has a Greater Risk of Getting a Kidney Infection?

They can happen at any age, but kidney infections are much more common in women. In fact, women are six times more likely to get a kidney infection than men. This is because a woman’s urethra is shorter, making it easier for bacteria to enter the body and reach the kidneys.

Younger children are also susceptible to developing kidney infections because they may be born with an abnormality of the urinary tract or have a condition called vesicoureteric reflux, where there is a backflow of urine from the bladder up to the kidneys. We’ve listed a few more risk factors below.

More Kidney Infection Risk Factors

  • Pregnancy. The urinary tract shifts in pregnancy and may make it easier for bacteria to get to the kidneys.
  • A weakened immune system. This includes people with diabetes, HIV or AIDS, and those taking drugs that suppress the immune system.
  • Having problems emptying your bladder completely, which is called urinary retention.

What Should I Do If I Do Get a Kidney Infection?

Visit your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms we’ve listed below. Although it’s rare, kidney infections can result in serious, life-threatening complications, such as sepsis (blood poisoning) or kidney scarring.

Once you visit the doctor, he or she will likely prescribe antibiotics to help take care of the infection. Once you start taking antibiotics, you should feel completely better in about two weeks.

Common Symptoms of Kidney Infections

  • Pain in your abdomen, back, groin or side
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Frequent urination or the feeling that you have to urinate
  • Burning or pain while urinating
  • Pus or blood in your urine
  • Bad-smelling or cloudy urine
  • Chills
  • Fever

Don’t wait to get the medical care you need! Make an appointment or walk in today at our AFC Urgent Care Hixson center.