When To See A Doctor For Kidney Pain
Kidney pain that you feel in your middle back or that radiates to your abdomen or groin is usually an indicator of a serious health condition.
According to Dr. Charles Patrick Davis, you should visit your doctor promptly if you suspect kidney pain. Some of the warning signs of kidney disease or problems are:
- Sharp flank pain that comes on suddenly
- A dull, constant one-sided pain in your back or side
- Blood in your urine
Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone
Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.
Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.
The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:
Causes And Risk Factors
Doctors dont know exactly what causes simple kidney cysts. They do have a few possible explanations. For example, each kidney has about a million tiny tubules that collect urine. Cysts may start to grow when a tube becomes blocked, swells up, and fills with fluid. Another possibility is that cysts start when pouches called diverticula form in weakened areas of the tubules and fill with fluid.
Youre more likely to have kidney cysts as you get older. By age 40, about 25 percent of people will have them. By age 50, about 50 percent of people will have kidney cysts. Men are at greater risk than women of developing kidney cysts.
PKD is an inherited condition, meaning its caused by changes to genes that are passed down through families.
Usually cysts dont cause any problems. However, sometimes they can lead to complications, including:
- infection in the cyst
- blockage of urine out of the kidney
- high blood pressure
PKD can damage the kidneys over time. About half of people with this condition will develop kidney failure by age 60.
To diagnose a kidney cyst, you might see a specialist called a urologist. Your doctor may take a blood or urine sample to see how well your kidneys are working.
You might also need one of these imaging tests:
If the cyst is small and doesnt cause any problems with your kidneys, you might not need to treat it. You may just have imaging tests done every 6 to 12 months to make sure the cyst hasnt grown.
You May Like: Reducose Weight Loss
What Are Kidney Stone Symptoms In Women
Although kidney stones are more common in men, women do suffer from this condition. Kidney stone symptoms in women are usually very similar to, or the same as, kidney stone symptoms in men. Pain, problems urinating, and flu-like symptoms are the most common symptoms. Because they are very similar to the symptoms experienced before a womanâs menstrual cycle, these may be ignored at times.
Pain is one of the most common kidney stone symptoms in women. It often starts out as a mild to moderate cramping, usually located in a womanâs side or lower back. This area is roughly where the kidney is located.
As the kidney stone moves down the urinary tract, the pain may worsen, becoming sharper and more intense. It will also usually be felt in the lower region of the abdomen, or in the pelvic or groin area. Pain while urinating is another kidney stone symptom in women.
Additionally, other problems with urination are also kidney stone symptoms. Frequently feeling the need to urinate is another common symptom. Women with kidney stones who feel this usually do not actually have to urinate. This sensation occurs when the kidney stone passes into the duct that carries urine outside of the body, known as the ureter. When the stone pushes on the walls of this duct, a person may feel like she needs to urinate.
Donât Miss: Liver Detox Drink Cranberry Juice
Pressure Or Pain In The Lower Back
In some cases, a stone may become stuck in the ureter. The ureter is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. A blockage here causes urine to back up in the kidney, resulting in pressure and pain sensations in the lower back. These symptoms may occur on the left or right side, depending on which kidney is affected.
According to the University of Chicago, pain or pressure are usually the first signs of a kidney stone. In some cases, the symptoms may be very subtle and build up slowly. In other cases, they may come on suddenly, with no early warning signs. This pain can be severe and may lead to nausea or vomiting, or both. People often experience sharp, stabbing pain, and common measures such as rest or lying down do not relieve it.
Read Also: Can Seltzer Water Cause Kidney Stones
What Causes Hydronephrosis
Hydronephrosis isnt a disease. Instead, it can be due to internal and external conditions that affect the kidney and the urinary collecting system.
One of the most common causes of hydronephrosis is acute unilateral obstructive uropathy. This is the sudden development of an obstruction in one of your ureters, which are the tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder.
A blocked ureter can cause urine to go back up into the kidney, which causes swelling. This backflow of urine is known as vesicoureteral reflux .
Other potential causes of a blockage include:
- a kink in the ureteropelvic junction, which is where the ureter meets the pelvis of the kidney
- an enlarged prostate gland in men, which can be due to benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostatitis
- pregnancy, which causes a compression due to a growing fetus
- tumors in or near the ureter
- a narrowing of the ureter from an injury or birth defect
Renal Tumors Or Cysts
Renal tumors or cysts do not typically cause pain unless the growth is advanced or the disbursement is extensive. The three most common growth abnormalities include:
- Renal adenoma: A type of benign tumor that can grow to a substantial size
- Renal cell carcinoma : A type of cancer that usually begins in the tubules of the kidneys
- Polycystic kidney disease : An inherited disorder in which benign, fluid-filled cysts proliferate throughout the kidneys
The pain would most often be unilateral and accompanied by hematuria, either visible or invisible .
If cancer is involved, persistent malaise and unexplained weight loss are telltale signs suggestive of an advanced malignancy.
PKD may also be symptom-free until such time as the formation of cysts causes structural damage to the kidney. In addition to flank pain, usually bilateral, PKD may cause progressively worsening symptoms, including headaches, high blood pressure, hematuria, abdominal pain and swelling, recurrent kidney stones, recurrent UTIs, and renal failure.
As opposed to many of the other renal conditions, PKD is associated with excessive urination rather than impaired urination. The most common form of PKD, known as autosomal dominant PKD, manifests with symptoms when patients are in their 30s and 40s. Around 10% will advance to renal failure.
Read Also: Is Pomegranate Juice Good For Your Kidneys
Can Kidney Stone Symptoms Come And Go
The length of time a stone can hang around is the primary reason that a person may feel like kidney stone symptoms come and go.
Once you start feeling the pain of a kidney stone, it can take anywhere between one to four weeks for the stone to actually pass. In the meantime, the pain can seem sporadic. Here’s why:
“During a bout of kidney stones, the initial pain is typically caused by the stone making its way through your very narrow ureter tube. There can also be pain if the stone lodges itself there and blocks urine flow out of the kidney, which results in pressure buildup and painful swelling,” explains Dr. Kannady.
As your body tries to move the kidney stone through your ureter, some of your pain may also be from the waves of contractions used to force the kidney stone out. The pain may also move as the kidney stone moves along your urinary tract.
“Once the stone makes it to your bladder, the pain might subside to some degree and you may notice urinary symptoms in its place. The final push from your bladder to outside of your body can reignite sharp feelings of pain, as the stone is now passing through another narrow tube called your urethra,” says Dr. Kannady.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you feel feverish and have pain that will not go away in your tummy, lower back or genitals.
Contact a GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.
If you cannot get a GP appointment and need urgent medical attention, go to your nearest urgent care centre .
If you do not have a local UCC, go to your nearest A& E.
Recommended Reading: Grapes Kidney Stones
When Should Call A Doctor For Kidney Pain
Individuals should not postpone seeing a doctor about kidney pain or flank pain. Although flank pain is often seen in underlying problems with the kidney, there are many other diseases that can mimic kidney pain, and a physician can help with an accurate diagnosis of underlying problems that result in kidney or flank pain. Any acute onset of intense kidney or flank pain should be evaluated immediately.
Warning signs that kidney disease is present and may result in kidney pain or flank pain are the following:
- High blood pressure
- Swelling of the hands and feet and/or puffiness around the eyes
- Testing that shows an abnormal creatinine, blood urea nitrogen , or glomerular filtration rate less than 60
In addition, if an individual has diabetes or any of the congenital problems that lead to kidney dysfunction, the individual should be routinely checked for the onset of kidney dysfunction or kidney failure by their physician.
Causes Of Kidney Stones
The most common cause of kidney stones isdehydration. Youre not drinking enough water to dilute the concentration of minerals in your urine . Recommended water consumption is about two liters or half a gallon of water a day.
Water is the best fluid to drink in order to prevent kidney stones, Dr. Abromowitz explains. But water from a well is very high in solutes, which increases your chance of kidney stones. So i f you’re drinking well water, you ought to have a purification system on it. Every year I see patients who develop a kidney stone for this reason.
Other kidney stone risk factors include:
- Too little or too much exercise
- Being overweight
- Eating food with excess salt, sugar, and animal protein
- Weight loss surgery
- Kidney infections. Infections increase the risk of kidney stones by slowing urine flow or changing the acid balance of urine.
- Family history of kidney stones
- Some drugs used to treat AIDS, seizures, and migraines can cause kidney stones.
Recommended Reading: Carbonation And Kidney Stones
What Does Kidney Pain Feel Like
Your kidneys are fist-sized organs shaped like beans that are located at the back of the middle of your trunk, in the area called your flank. They are under the lower part of your ribcage on the right and left sides of your backbone.
Their main job is to filter waste out of your blood and produce urine to remove that waste along with extra fluid from your body.
When your kidney hurts, it usually means theres something wrong with it. Its important to determine whether your pain is coming from your kidney and or from somewhere else so that you receive the right treatment.
Because there are muscles, bones, and other organs around your kidney, its sometimes hard to tell if its your kidney or something else causing your pain. However, the type and location of the pain and other symptoms you are having can help point to your kidney as the source of your pain.
Associated Symptoms Of Kidney Pain May Include:
- Pain during urination
- Flank pain- pain in the middle back near the sides. Can be noted on either the right or the left side.
Image 4 : A clear depiction of where the flank pain is represented.
|Pain location||Starts as a dull pain and continues to be a sharp stinging or burning pain as the stones move. This pain will come and go in waves||Remains as a dull ache and is usually confused with back pain.||If pain is noticed it will remain dull and usually be accompanied by bloody urine.|
You May Like: Ginger Tea Dissolves Kidney Stones
Don’t Miss: Mayo Clinic Kidney
Passing A Kidney Stone
Small kidney stones may pass on their own without treatment. A doctor may recommend drinking more fluids to help flush the stone out of the system.
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe the medication Tamsulosin. This drug relaxes the ureter, making it easier for stones to pass. Some people may also require over-the-counter or prescription pain relief medication.
According to the AUA, a person should wait no longer than 6 weeks to pass a small kidney stone. They should seek medical attention sooner if they experience worsening pain or an infection.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to place a ureteral stent to allow urine to bypass the stone, with or without removing the stone at the same time. According to the Urology Care Foundation, doctors usually reserve surgery for stones that may have caused or lead to infection or stones that do not pass and block urine flow from the kidney.
Complications Of Kidney Infections
Most kidney infections are treated successfully without complications, although some people may develop further problems.
Complications of a kidney infection are rare, but you’re more likely to develop them if you:
- are a child
- rapid heartbeat
Blood poisoning is a medical emergency that usually requires admission to a hospital intensive care unit while antibiotics are used to fight the infection.
If you’re taking certain medications for diabetes, such as metformin or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, they may be temporarily withdrawn until you recover. This is because they can cause kidney damage during an episode of blood poisoning.
Don’t Miss: What’s A Kidney
How Do I Recognize Back Pain From Kidney Stones
Back pain caused by kidney stones is a unique type of pain caused by tiny stones blocking the flow of urine between the kidney and the bladder. You can recognize the difference by the type of pain felt. Back pain due to another condition tends to cause muscle aches and soreness in the spine or muscle tissue. Back pain from kidney stones, however, comes in cycles and is described as very intense pain that begins on the right or left side. Kidney stone pain often moves from the original location to the lower abdomen and may even be felt, at times, in the groin area as a stone moves about inside the ureter.
Besides back pain, a person with kidney stones may also experience nausea, vomiting, fever and urine tinged with blood. For some, kidney stones also produce back and abdominal spasms. It is not uncommon for individuals with kidney stone pain to also have symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
In order to clearly diagnose back pain caused by kidney stones, a medical professional will perform a urinalysis and an x-ray to determine if a stone is present and to determine whether or not it is likely that it may naturally pass during urination. If it is too large to pass, a stone may need to be removed via surgery or dissolved using medications. Once stones have passed, dissolved, or been removed, any pain should subside.
Type And Severity Of Pain
Muscle pain feels like a dull ache or soreness. Certain body movements can trigger or worsen muscle pain, the intensity of which can range from mild to severe and may fluctuate in response to stretching.
People with nerve pain may experience a burning or stabbing sensation that travels to other areas of the body.
Sciatica is a form of nerve pain that affects the back. People develop sciatica when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed, which causes a burning pain in the lower back that radiates through the buttocks.
Bone pain can result from vertebral fractures or an irregularly shaped spine. This type of pain comes on suddenly. Bone pain ranges from moderate to severe and usually worsens in response to movement.
Also Check: Kidney Sickness Symptoms
Blockage Of Blood To The Kidney
A blockage of blood to the kidney is called a renal infarction or a renal vein thrombosis. This happens when the blood supply to and from the kidney is suddenly slowed or stopped. There are several causes, including a blood clot.
Blood flow blockages to the kidney typically happens on one side. Symptoms include:
- severe side or flank pain
- lower back pain or ache
- stomach tenderness
- blood in the urine
Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Adpkd
- How will this disease make me feel?
- Do I need any more tests?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
- What are my treatment options?
- Do the treatments have side effects?
- What do you expect for my case?
- What can I do to keep my kidneys working?
- If I have children, will they get the disease?
- Do my children need to get a genetic test?
Also Check: Can Soda Pop Cause Kidney Stones