Kidney Infection

(Infection, Kidney; Pyelonephritis)

Definition

Kidney infections may occur in one or both kidneys.The kidneys remove waste from the body through urine. They also balance the water and mineral content in the blood. An infection may prevent them from working properly.
Anatomy of the Kidney
Glomerulonephritis
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Kidney infections are caused by a bacteria. The specific type of bacteria can vary. The bacteria most often comes from an untreated bladder infection .

Risk Factors

Bacteria may be introduced to the urinary tract and ultimately the kidneys by:
  • Sexual activity
  • Conditions that block or slow the flow of urine such as:
    • Tumors
    • Enlarged prostate gland
    • Kidney stones
    • Birth defect of the urinary tract, including vesicoureteral reflux
  • Having a test to examine the bladder— cystoscopy
  • Having a catheter or stent placed in the urinary tract
  • Conditions that impair bladder emptying like multiple sclerosis and spina bifida
Other medical conditions that increase your risk of infection include:

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