Person holding their lower back in discomfort, symbolizing kidney infection symptoms.
Kidney Infection

Can You Have a Kidney Infection Without a Fever

Kidney infections, also known as pyelonephritis, are a serious medical condition that require prompt treatment. Typically, they are associated with symptoms such as fever, chills, and back pain. However, there are cases where kidney infections can occur without a fever, making their diagnosis more challenging. In this article, we will explore the signs, symptoms, and treatment of kidney infections, with a focus on the possibility of these infections occurring without a fever.

What is a Kidney Infection?

A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and travel up to the kidneys. The most common bacteria responsible for kidney infections are E. coli, which normally inhabit the intestines and can enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Once in the kidneys, the bacteria can cause inflammation and infection of the renal pelvis and kidney tissue.

Symptoms of a Kidney Infection

The classic symptoms of a kidney infection include:

  1. Fever: A high fever (above 100.4°F or 38°C) is a common symptom of a kidney infection. However, in some cases, especially in older adults or individuals with weakened immune systems, the fever may be mild or absent.
  2. Pain: Pain in the back, side, or groin is another hallmark symptom of a kidney infection. This pain can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by tenderness in the affected area.
  3. Urinary Symptoms: Other urinary symptoms may include a frequent need to urinate, pain or burning during urination, and cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
  4. Nausea and Vomiting: Some people with kidney infections may feel sick to their stomachs, throw up, or lose their appetite.
  5. Fatigue: Fatigue and general malaise are common symptoms of many infections, including kidney infections.

Can You Have a Kidney Infection Without a Fever?

Yes, it is possible to have a kidney infection without a fever, although it is less common. In some cases, especially in individuals with certain risk factors or underlying health conditions, the body’s immune response may not include a fever. This can make the diagnosis of a kidney infection more challenging, as fever is often a key indicator of an infection.

Risk Factors for Kidney Infections Without Fever

Several factors may increase the risk of developing a kidney infection without a fever:

  1. Age: Older adults may have a blunted fever response, making it less likely for them to develop a fever in response to an infection.
  2. Chronic Health Conditions: Individuals with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or HIV may have a weakened immune system, which can affect their ability to mount a fever response.
  3. Medications: Certain medications, such as corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, can suppress the immune system and reduce the likelihood of developing a fever in response to an infection.
  4. Urinary Tract Abnormalities: Structural abnormalities in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate, can increase the risk of urinary tract infections and kidney infections without fever.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect you have a kidney infection, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Your healthcare provider will likely perform a physical exam and may order urine tests, blood tests, or imaging studies to confirm the diagnosis.

Antibiotics are usually used in the treatment of kidney infections in order to eradicate the causative germs. Hospitalizations could be required in some circumstances, particularly if the infection is serious or if you have other underlying medical issues. Even if you begin to feel better, it is crucial to take all the medicines as instructed in order to make sure the infection is entirely removed.

In addition to antibiotics, your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, plenty of fluids, and rest to help alleviate symptoms and support your recovery.

Preventing Kidney Infections

To reduce your risk of developing a kidney infection, you can take the following steps:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.
  2. Practice Good Hygiene: Wiping from front to back after using the bathroom can help prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the urethra.
  3. Urinate After Intercourse: After a sexual encounter, urinating can aid in the removal of microorganisms that may have entered the urinary tract.
  4. Avoid Irritants: Avoid using products that may irritate the urinary tract, such as douches or feminine hygiene sprays.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help to support overall immune function and reduce the risk of infection.


Kidney infections are a serious medical condition that can cause significant discomfort and complications if left untreated. While fever is a common symptom of a kidney infection, it is possible to have this condition without a fever, especially in certain populations. If you suspect you have a kidney infection, it is important to seek prompt medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. By taking steps to prevent kidney infections, you can help to protect your urinary tract health and overall well-being.

Janvi Dhiman holds a Master's degree in Biotechnology and has a background in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies from Amity University, Noida. Her passion lies in making meaningful contributions to the healthcare and research sectors. Currently, she is a valued member of our team, serving as a Research Analyst and a medical content writer at DiseaseInfoHub.

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