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Kidney infection - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

We can't say exactly what will happen if you have a kidney infection. Some people get better quickly with treatment. But these infections can be serious. Some people need treatment in hospital.

What will happen to you depends on several things. These include:[23][24]

  • How bad your infection is

  • How old you are

  • Whether you have other health problems

  • Whether you get the right medicine

  • Whether treatment works for you.

If your doctor thinks you have a kidney infection, you'll probably need to give a urine sample. This can be tested to find out what kind of bacteria are causing your symptoms. Your doctor can then prescribe the type of drug that's best at killing those bacteria. To read more about giving a urine sample, see What are the symptoms of a kidney infection?

Your treatment also depends on whether your kidney infection is complicated or uncomplicated. If your infection is complicated, it means it's more serious for some reason. You might have another medical condition that makes your infection worse, for example.

Being treated at home

If you have an uncomplicated infection, you'll probably be treated at home. If you get the right treatment, you should be feeling much better within a few days. You'll probably be completely cured after two weeks.[25]

About 9 in 10 people with an uncomplicated infection can be treated at home. But your doctor needs to make sure that you:[23]

  • Can take drugs as tablets (you don't need to be given drugs as a drip). For example, if you're being sick a lot you might not be able to take tablets

  • Have good support at home.

If you're treated at home, you'll probably be advised to take paracetamol to reduce pain and fever. To read more, see Painkillers for people with a kidney infection. You'll also be advised to drink plenty of fluids.

You'll need to see a doctor for check-ups. Let the doctor know if you are not getting better, or are getting worse, after a few days.[26]

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Last Updated: December 10, 2010
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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