Will a urinary tract infection hurt my kidneys?

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine

If you have a urinary tract infection and it is treated quickly it will not hurt your kidneys. However, if it is not treated it can spread to your kidneys. Kidney infections are very serious.

Signs of a kidney infection include:

  • Pain and burning with urination, frequency, urgency, blood in the urine AND
  • Flank pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea and
  • Vomiting

If treated right away, a UTI is not likely to damage your kidneys or urinary tract. But UTIs that are not treated can cause serious problems in your kidneys and the rest of your body.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center

Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Urinary tract infections left untreated or patients with chronic urinary tract infections can have kidney damage.  The kidneys filter blood and form urine, and the urine then travels through the ureters to the bladder.  The bladder collects the urine prior to exiting through the urethra.  Patients who have chronic bladder infections can have the bacteria assend up the ureter into the kidney causing kidney damage.