How to Tell the Difference Between a UTI Vs. Kidney Infection

UTIs and kidney infections are both painful. Whatever it is, make it stop. I get it. But knowing the differences could actually be life-saving. Yup, untreated kidney infections could cause severe damage to kidneys or worse. A UTI (urinary tract infection) is when bacteria gets into your urinary system. The urinary system is made up of several parts, including your:


  • Urethra (Urethritis)
  • Bladder (cystitis)
  • Kidneys (pyelonephritis)

The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection. Infection of the urethra is also common. The most severe type of UTI is a kidney infection. So technically, a kidney infection is a type of UTI that requires attention fast. All of them can be cured with a course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.

How the Heck Did I Get a Kidney Infection?

It’s a lot easier than you think. In fact, kidney infections are usually the result of a common UTI (bladder or urethra) that was left untreated. If you wait too long to get antibiotics, the bacteria in the urethra can travel up to the bladder and then make its way to the kidneys. If the infection becomes really severe, you may have to make a trip to the ER for intravenous antibiotics. If left untreated, bacteria attacking the kidneys can cause permanent damage and reduce kidney function. There is also a possibility that the infection can enter the bloodstream and spread to other organs, which is called sepsis. You do not want this to happen.

There is one other possible cause of a kidney infection. Kidney stones can block the urinary tract, which traps bacteria and leads to infection. This can quickly become very serious and requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of UTI Vs. Kidney Infection

Common UTI Symptoms:


  • a painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • feeling like you need to urinate often
  • passing only a small amount of urine
  • foul-smelling urine
  • cloudy or bloody urine
  • Lower belly pain and pressure

Common Kidney Infection Symptoms:

A kidney infection can share many symptoms with other types of UTIs but also include these:


  • fever
  • chills
  • lower back or side pain
  • nausea or vomiting

There are many things you can do to prevent UTIs from happening in the first place, including supplements to support the urinary tract. We also suggest taking supplements like Checkable Urinary Tract Balance which is made with a proprietary blend of D-Mannose, Cranberry Juice Powder, Hibiscus, and natural Dandelion herb.

The one takeaway from this should be to NOT ignore the symptoms of a UTI. Call your doctor the minute you start feeling uncomfortable below the belly button to ensure it doesn’t spread to the kidneys. Always drink tons of water to help flush away the bad stuff, and take probiotics for more of the good stuff. Now, go fill up your water bottles.