Is a recurring urinary tract infection a symptom of kidney disease?

Patient: I have experienced frequent urinary tract infections for the past several years (about one every 2-4 months) more recently when I do get an infection it goes straight to my kidneys without even having symptoms of a UTI. I’ve had about 4 kidney infections in the past 2 years. I’ve noticed recently I experience flank pain whenever I start to get a little dehydrated. It’s almost a daily thing now and as a result I’m very diligent about drinking at least 2 liters of water a day. On days when I don’t drink enough I feel a dull flank pain. I’ve also started to notice I have a full pain just about every morning when I wake up. My question is, could this be a symptom of kidney disease or a different underlying condition? Should I be concerned and should I see a doctor soon?

Doctor: Welcome to Ask The Doctor. It seems you are suffering from a Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Most common causes are:

1. Stones in Renal Tract

2. Diabetes.

Flank pain can be because of ureteric stones and in most of the cases, ureteric stone can precipitate Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Diabetes should also be ruled out in case of UTI. So, you should get an ultrasound of the abdomen and a urine culture. If any stones are found you would be treated based on size, site of the stone. Also important here is to get a fasting blood sugar tested to rule out for diabetes that can cause UTI. If urine infection is found, you will be given antibiotics based on the culture report. For acute pain relief you can take Drotaverine tablets. So, as far as your query is concerned, your kidney’s can get affected with recurrent UTI episodes. You should see a doctor and share my opinion with your doctor.