Encyclopedia Home / P / Pyelonephritis


  • Alternative Names

    Urinary tract infection - complicated; Infection - kidney; Complicated urinary tract infection; Kidney infection

    • Back pain orflank pain
    • Chills with shaking
    • Severe abdominal pain (occurs occasionally)
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
      • Higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit
      • Persists for more than 2 days
    • General ill feeling
    • Chills with shaking
    • Mental changes or confusion*
    • Skin changes
      • Flushed or reddened skin
      • Moist skin (diaphoresis)
      • Warm skin
    • Urination problems
      • Blood in the urine
      • Cloudy or abnormal urine color
      • Foul or strong urine odor
      • Increased urinary frequency or urgency
      • Need to urinate at night (nocturia)
      • Painful urination
    • Vomiting, nausea

    * Mental changes or confusion may be the only signs of a urinary tract infection in the elderly.

    Signs and tests

    A physical exam may show tenderness when the health care provider presses (palpates) the area of the kidney.

    • Blood culture may show an infection.
    • Urinalysis commonly reveals white or red blood cells in the urine.
    • Other urine tests may show bacteria in the urine.

    An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or CT scan of the abdomen may show swollen kidneys. These tests can also help rule out underlying disorders.

    Additional tests and procedures that may be done include:

    • Kidney biopsy
    • Kidney scan
    • Kidney ultrasound
    • Voiding cystourethrogram