Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) involve only the bladder and urethra (the lower urinary system). Pyelonephritis results when a UTI progresses to involve the upper urinary system (the kidneys and ureters).
Pyelonephritis is a potentially serious kidney infection that can spread to the blood, causing severe illness. Fortunately, pyelonephritis is almost always curable with antibiotics.
Goodpasture syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys.
The disease occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against collagen in the lungs and kidneys. Collagen is a protein that helps form connective tissue.
Goodpasture syndrome initially causes vague symptoms such as fatigue. But it can rapidly involve the lungs and kidneys. It is almost always fatal if it is not quickly diagnosed and treated.
Pyelonephritis may cause noticeable changes in the urine, such as:
Blood in the urine (hematuria)
Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
Pain when urinating
Increased frequency or urgency of urination
Causes of Pyelonephritis
Most often, the bacteria that cause pyelonephritis are the same as those that cause ordinary urinary tract infections. Bacteria found in stool (such as E. coli or klebsiella) are most common. Uncommonly, bacteria from the skin or the environment cause pyelonephritis.
Conditions that create reduced urine flow make pyelonephritis more likely. When urine flow slows or stops, bacteria can more easily travel up the ureters. Some causes of urine obstruction include: