Pyelonephritis (Renal pelvis inflammation)

Bladder infections may cause pathogens to rise to the kidneys, leading to an acute onset of pain and fever. The main treatment is administration of antibiotics, alleviating pain with painkillers, and prescribing sufficient fluid intake, if necessary as infusions.

Questions about the diagnosis and treatment of pyelonephritis:

Pyelonephritis is usually an ascending infection where bacteria from an inflamed bladder infect the kidneys via the ureters. Women are much more susceptible to this type of infection than men.

Typical symptoms of renal pelvis inflammation are unilateral or bilateral side (flank) pain, combined with a fever. There are often also signs of cystitis, such as painful and frequent urination. These symptoms can precede a kidney inflammation by a few days to a few weeks. Not all of the symptoms mentioned necessarily have to occur.

Consultation with a urologist should take place at the latest when side (flank) pain and fever occur.

In addition to the physical examination, a kidney ultrasound is the most important type of examination to confirm the diagnosis and to exclude possible collections of pus (kidney abscesses). There are often other causes for the complaints, such as ureteral stones. These cause urinary retention, which, if left undetected and untreated, can lead to serious complications such as blood poisoning. The urologist will therefore arrange for additional X-ray examinations in case of any doubt.

The key to successful treatment is the intravenous administration of a suitable antibiotic for at least 7-10 days. Adequate fluid intake should also be ensured. If a fever is present, a bladder catheter should also be inserted for a few days to ensure free drainage of infected urine from the urinary tract.

With the right treatment, the disease normally lasts 1-2 weeks. With untreated infections, a chronic infection can develop unnoticed, which can lead to abscesses and permanent kidney damage.

About this page:


Prof. Dr. med. Sven Lahme
Urology specialist

Medical director of the Goldstadt-Privatklinik.
Specialist for Urology, Mini-PCNL and robot-assisted da Vinci procedures.

Member in Scientific Societies and Reviewer of scientific journals.

Creation Date: 08.03.2020Modification date: 08.03.2020