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Difference Between UTI and Kidney Infections

kidneyUTI vs Kidney Infections

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is more common in women than in men, because women have a shorter urethra situated nearer to the anus, which is a place of refuge for bacteria. Elderly persons are at risk of developing the infection due to incomplete emptying of urine, related to prostate or bladder illness. In a normal person, the urine is sterile, or free from infective organisms such as bacteria, fungi or viruses. Urinary tract infection takes place when the bacteria from the digestive tract hold onto the urethral opening, and start to reproduce. The bacteria E. coli is the most common type of bacteria to cause UTI. If the condition is not treated immediately, the bacteria may travel up the urethra, and eventually cause kidney infection.

The names of UTI depend on the location where the infection occurred. It is characterized by pain or a burning sensation, the urgent and frequent need to urinate, a low fever (fever may not be common to everyone, especially if the location is in bladder or urethra), cloudy urine, painful sexual intercourse, nocturia, lower pelvis pressure, a burning sensation when urinating and foul urine odor. Not everyone who is diagnosed to have a urinary tract infection manifested signs and symptoms, until the condition was far advanced. A fever indicates that the infection has already spread to the kidneys. Usually there is a low urine amount despite the urgency in voiding. The laboratory test done is the same as for a kidney infection; urinalysis and urine culture. The patient is instructed to obtain urine in a clean catch method, placed in a sterile container. The drug used for treatment, typically an antibacterial drug, depends on the urine test and the history of the patient. Usually UTI is curable within one or two days if there are no complications.

Kidney infection is diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms, as well as with the results from a laboratory examination. The test usually involves urinalysis (the chemical, physical and microscopic urine inspection) and urine cultures (a test done to identify bacterial presence in the urine). A urine sample is taken to determine if it contains bacteria, pus or blood. A kidney infection is also known as pyelonephritis, and is usually associated with urinary tract infections. In fact, it is a particular type of urinary tract infection.

The bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the common cause of kidney infection. The symptoms are a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit for two days or more, chills and shaking, back or side pain, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal pain and confusion. These symptoms are related to bladder infections as well. The treatment consists of antibacterial drugs, and rest may be required for between one and two weeks, or until the urine suggests that the kidney is clear of bacteria.


1. In kidney infection, the fever symptom is usually above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, while in urinary tract infection it is a low grade fever, or sometimes there is no fever.

2. In kidney infection, treatment lasts between one and two weeks, while in UTI, it is curable within a day or two, provided there are no complications.

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