Last updated: January 13, 2012

Symptoms of kidney infection in women

Symptoms of kidney infection in women: Overview

Symptoms of kidney infection in women

Image courtesy of: National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)

Symptoms of kidney infection in women can vary greatly. As a internal medicine specialist working in the ICU, I admit many patients with kidney infections. The only effective way to describe the symptoms of kidney infection in women is to describe the real patients that I took care of. Although symptoms of kidney infection in women can be described as a list of common symptoms, the individual patient can have unique variations based on the age, medical history and lifestyle of that patient. I will be describing several cases to show you how these patients were diagnosed and treated in real life.

 Symptoms of kidney infection in women: A 25 year old otherwise healthy female patient

Miss Y is a 23 year old otherwise healthy college student studying to be a Nurse in the local community college. She is sexually active with her boy friend of last 5 years. She does not smoke cigarettes and only drinks alcohol occasionally. She did not have any usual symptoms of kidney infection in women in the past. She did not have any other medical problems in the past. She does, however, volunteer at the local hospital and has been in contact with patients having symptoms of kidney infection in women. She is very good at personal hygiene and washes her hand with soap and water after she visits any of the patients with symptoms of kidney infection women.

On day, she felt somewhat lousy and did not feel like she wanted to go to college. She could not pin point any specific symptom but just felt wiped out and did not have any energy. She called her boy friend and told him she was not feeling OK. He told her to skip college that day just take some rest. He then visited her and made her some chicken soup. She did not seem to have any appetite and noticed she was having some pain in her back when she walked. As she forced herself to drink the soup, she felt very sick to her stomach. She threw up the soup and felt completely wiped out. Her boy friend helped her to bed and noticed she was very warm and calmly. She then asked him to take her temperature and was surprised to find that she had a high fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. She took some Tylenol and tried to sleep it off. But she was tossing and turning in her bed as the pain in her back worsened. Now it was more localized to the right side of her back and seemed to be going down to her right side. 

As a nursing student, she looked up her text book and located the list of common symptoms of kidney infection in women. She found three symptoms in the list that matched with what she was having. But there were several other symptoms in the list of common symptoms of kidney infection in woman that she did not have.

She became sicker by the hour and finally they decided to get some help. Her boy freind drove to the emergency department. She was very weak she arrived. The ER doctor was concerned about her when the nurse told him that her blood pressure was very low. He immediately went to her and got the story of how her symptoms started. He knew she had the very typical story of the symptoms of kidney infection in women of her age group wihout any prior medical history. He then ordered some blood test, urine tests and then gave her some fluids through her veins as she appeared dehydrated. The test results came back and her diagnosis was confirmed.

The ER doctor then called me as I was the on-call doctor that day working in the ICU. Her blood was still somewhat low and we decided to put her in ICU and started her on an antibiotic called Levofloxacin. We infused her with a total of 5 liters of IV fluid before her blood pressure came back to normal. She was in hospital for 2 days before she felt good enough to go home. She was given some pills to take daily for 2 weeks. She was able to to back to college after 5 days.

The case of Miss Y is how young and healthy patients present with symptoms of kidney infection in women. I hope this patient centered approach to teaching will help you understand the real life symptoms of kidney infection in women instead of just memorizing a list. Please check back soon as I will be uploading more patient stories to tell how how symptoms of kidney infection in women differ based on the unique features of the patient.