A kidney infection is a serious condition that is characterized by back, side or groin pain, frequent urination, burning during urination, pus or blood in urine and fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. A kidney infection is often a result of harmful bacteria spreading from the bladder or urethra to one or both of the kidneys, most commonly caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, according to Medical News Today.
Treated using antibiotics, a kidney infection has many of the same symptoms as a bladder infection, such as painful and frequent urination, but is considered to be much more serious, according to WebMD. While bladder and urinary tract infections are typically characterized only with pain relating to urination, a kidney infection involves more widespread pain. In some cases, a kidney infection is associated with confusion, nausea and vomiting, according to WebMD.
A physical examination and urinalysis are the most widely used methods to diagnose a kidney infection, according to WebMD. A kidney infection can lead to life-threatening complications, including the the spread of the infection to the blood or permanent kidney damage. Because of this, seeking treatment in a timely manner is important, according to the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, patients with kidney infection must be hospitalized for treatment, according to Medical News Today.