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Pyelonephritis: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 20, 2024

What is the treatment?

Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection. It is mainly a type of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which means that it begins in the urethra or the bladder. It can travel to both and to the kidneys, infecting it. The infection is usually accompanied by back pain, pain in the groin, fever, chills, frequent urination (and burning while urinating), along with other symptoms, and is considered dangerous. It requires immediate attention and you may even have to be hospitalized to prevent the condition from escalating. This condition is more common in women than in men as women have a shorter urethra. Women are also more susceptible to UTIs in general.

The main line of treatment when it comes to pyelonephritis is antibiotics. Since this is an infection that is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are the best option to eliminate the bacteria and the infection as well. However, in some cases where the condition is extremely severe and escalating fast, hospitalization is recommended to the patient on an immediate basis. This usually happens if the symptoms have been allowed to persist for too long and the infection has been ignored. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment the minute to think something is off. Once the kidney infection reaches your blood stream, it can be fatal as it can cause blood poisoning.

How is the treatment done?

In order to diagnose you successfully, your doctor will require a urine sample. The sample is then tested for the presence of bacteria and infections and once the same are confirmed, you will get your diagnosis and your course of treatment. As stated earlier, antibiotics are the main line of treatment. You will be prescribed a specific antibiotic by your doctor. The dosage will depend on your medical history and the severity of the infection you have. The same factors will determine how frequently you will need to take your medication.

In extreme cases, the patient is hospitalized. Once you have been admitted, you will be administered an IV drip. A needle will be stuck in your arm for the drip to be attached to. The drip will contain antibiotics and fluids that will help clear your infection. The time period that you will be asked to remain in the hospital depends largely on how severe the infection is.

If your kidney infection is being caused to do some underlying medical condition that you have, the course of treatment will focus more on clearing that condition, as opposed to just clearing the infection. This is because the ultimate goal is to prevent the infection from returning again and again.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If you have been diagnosed with a kidney infection, you are eligible to seek out medical treatment to make it go away. The minute you feel any of the signs and symptoms of this infection, especially the burning sensation that accompanies urination, you should go see your general doctor or a urologist immediately before the condition worsens.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If you have a general Urinary Tract Infection that has not led to the kidneys, specific treatments that are meant for kidney infections may not be viable for you. You can then ask your doctor about the antibiotics that you should be using in order to combat your UTI effectively.


Are there any side effects?

With most antibiotics, the most common side effect is the development of a fever. This is, however, not a cause for alarm. Antibiotics tend to raise the body temperature when you consume them so this side effect is a completely natural one. If you have been hospitalized, you can expect a little bit of pain and bruising where the drip has been inserted into your arm. Due to anxiety, some patients also experience difficulty in sleeping, especially when they are in a hospital.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Kidney infections and urinary tract infections are caused due to a variety of reasons and you can use the following as post treatment guidelines to prevent the infection from ever coming back again. Avoid using female hygiene products such as cleansing soaps and scents in the genitals as they often cause UTIs in women. Urinate the minute you feel the urge to. Often, holding your pee in can lead to UTIs. Drink lots of water or other fluids to keep the excretion through your kidneys constant and regular. You should also go to the bathroom every time you have sex as it helps clear the bacteria present in the urethra and can prevent UTIs. Wiping carefully after a bowel movement can also prevent the spread of bacteria and UTIs. As a general rule, you should avoid sitting on public toilets.

How long does it take to recover?

Once the antibiotics are prescribed, it usually takes a few days for the infection to clear up. However, the course of the antibiotics may go up to a week or two and you should follow the course completely even if the infection clears up before the medication is over.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of antibiotics in India ranges from Rs. 50 to Rs 200, depending on the brand of the medicine that you are using as well as the dosage.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the treatment are permanent. However, UTIs are such common infections and occur so frequently in women that each infection is considered a fresh one, as opposed to the reoccurrence or an extension of the older one.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are a few home remedies that can help you manage your kidney infection. It is important to note that these remedies do not clear your kidney infection – they only make the symptoms more bearable. You can use a heating pad or a hot water bottle on the abdomen as this can help you manage the pain you might be feeling. Using pain medicines can also help because usually the pain of a kidney infection is fairly severe. Moreover, you need to make an effort to stay hydrated as all times as it can help flush out some of the infection from the kidneys. It is important to note that you cannot solely rely on these home remedies and seeing a doctor is vital.

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Written ByDr. Rajeev Sarpal DNB - Urology/GenitoUrinary SurgeryUrology
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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