By Healthtrip Team Blog Published on - 23 March - 2022

Understanding the kidney infection symptoms

Often people confuse between back pain and kidney infection pain. The best way to identify kidney pain is to feel tenderness and pain on the sides and lower back. However, that is not always the case. There can be instances when pain is due to the kidney but felt elsewhere. Moreover, the pain can be sharp and sudden, or one might experience constant dull aches.

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This article will help you identify kidney infection pain and how it is different from back pain.

Where Can You Feel The Kidney Infection Pain?

Apart from the lower back or sides, kidney pain can be felt by an individual under the rib cage’s lower part. The pain can be felt on either the right or left side or both sides simultaneously. In addition, kidney pain can be felt in the middle of the upper back. There can be pain in the urinary system and even the bladder.

Also, Read - 7 Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before Back Surgery

Here are some of the areas where kidney infection can cause pain.


If a person experiences sharp stabbing pain at the upper or middle of the pack and it radiates, it is most likely due to kidney stones. The pain can feel like spasms, often spreading to the groin area.


Pain in the groin due to kidney infection occurs. The pain at times radiates to other areas of the body from where it originated. At times males may experience kidney infection pain in their testicles.


When someone experiences a burning or stinging sensation during urination, they are likely to have bladder, urine, and even kidney infections.

Also, Read - How Long Can You Have A Kidney Infection Without Knowing?

Other kidney infection symptoms related to urination may include:

  • Cloudy urine
  • Pain at the bottom of the abdomen while urinating
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Urge to urinate often

Risk Factors

Diving deeper into risk factors can help your readers identify whether they're at higher risk for kidney infections. Consider discussing:

  • Demographics: Explain why women, the elderly, and infants are more susceptible due to physiological differences.
  • Anomalies: Detail how structural issues like kidney stones or reflux can create a breeding ground for infections.
  • Weakened Immunity: Discuss how conditions like diabetes or autoimmune disorders can compromise the body's defenses.
  • Medical Interventions: Mention the risk of infections linked to catheter use or prolonged hospital stays.
  • Pregnancy and Activity: Touch on how pregnancy and certain activities can increase the likelihood of infections.

2. Misdiagnosis Awareness: Help your readers navigate the diagnostic challenges of kidney infections vs. other conditions:

  • Symptom Overlap: Clarify how symptoms may mirror other issues like back pain or digestive problems, leading to potential confusion.
  • Differentiating: Explain how medical professionals utilize tests to accurately distinguish between conditions.
  • Consequences: Stress the importance of prompt and accurate diagnosis to avoid complications.

The Difference Between Kidney Infection Pain and Back Pain

It is difficult to distinguish between kidney infection pain and back pain, mainly when kidney pain can often be felt in the back. However, there are ways to differentiate between the two:


Kidney Pain:

Typically the kidney infection pain is felt on the lower area of the rib cage on the other side of the spinal cord. A person can feel it on each side or both depending on the condition of the infection.

The pain then can radiate to

  • the abdomen
  • sides
  • thigh
  • groin

Back pain:

Back pain is one of the most common issues faced by people. Almost 80 percent of adults will experience back pain at some point. It can happen anywhere in the back, but people feel it in their lower back.

Pain Severity

Kidney pain :

Adding to this, the pain caused due to kidney infection will remain stable; there is a constant dull ache and soreness in the area.

Back pain:

Muscle: If the back pain is due to the muscle, there will be soreness and a dull ache, which will amplify with specific body movements. The severity can fluctuate in response to stretching.

Nerve: When back pain is due to a nerve, there is a stabbing or burning sensation that will travel across the other areas of the body. For instance, sciatica pain starts at the lower back but radiates to the buttocks and even the thigh area.

Bone: Due to irregular-shaped spine or vertebral fractures can cause bone pain. It is experienced suddenly, and the pain usually worsens with a specific movement. The severity can be between moderate to extreme.

When To See A Doctor?

Whether you are experiencing kidney or back pain, it is wise to visit a doctor. In both cases, early detection of the issue can help you recover early. So, if you are experiencing back pain, instead of considering whether it is due to a muscle pull or kidney infection, visit a doctor.


A kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, is a serious medical condition that occurs when bacteria enter the kidneys and cause inflammation.
Common symptoms of a kidney infection include high fever, chills, back pain (particularly in the lower back), pain or discomfort while urinating, frequent urination, and cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
A kidney infection is a type of UTI that has progressed to affect the kidneys. While UTIs usually involve symptoms like burning during urination and frequent urination, a kidney infection often has more severe symptoms, including fever and back pain.
Untreated kidney infections can lead to serious complications such as kidney damage, sepsis (a life-threatening infection that spreads throughout the body), and abscess formation in the kidneys.
Individuals at higher risk include women, pregnant women, people with urinary tract abnormalities or blockages, those with weakened immune systems, and individuals with a history of UTIs.
If you experience symptoms such as fever, severe back pain, or any signs of a possible kidney infection, it's important to seek medical help promptly.
Kidney infections are usually diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, medical history, urine tests, and possibly imaging studies like ultrasound or CT scans.
Treatment often involves antibiotics to eliminate the bacterial infection. In severe cases or when complications arise, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics may be necessary.
You can reduce the risk of kidney infections by staying hydrated, urinating regularly, practicing good hygiene, wiping from front to back after using the toilet, and promptly treating any UTIs.