Kidney Pain: Causes Symptoms And Treatments
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Kidney pain can have many causes. It may be a sign of an infection, injury or another health problem, such as kidney stones. Because of where your kidneys are in your body, kidney pain is also often confused with back pain. Talk to your doctor to find out what is causing your kidney pain and to find the right treatment.
What Is Kidney Pain
Kidney pain is discomfort that comes from the area where your kidneys are. It’s often described as a dull ache, you feel in your sides, back, or belly. But pain in these areas isn’t always a sign of a kidney issue. It’s easy to mistake kidney pain for ordinary back pain. But there are some differences in how kidney pain feels and where it’s located compared to back pain.
Kidney pain has many possible causes, and some could be serious. It’s important to let your doctor know if you notice pain that you think may be coming from one or both of these organs.
Where are your kidneys?
Your kidneys are two small organs shaped like beans. You have one on each side of your body. They’re each about the size of your fist. They’re below your rib cage on both sides of your spinal cord.
Your kidneys have important jobs. They clean out water, acids, and waste from your blood. They make urine so your body flushes out the waste. If they’re diseased or damaged in some way, they can’t do their work to maintain a healthy balance of salts, minerals like calcium, and water in your blood.
Your kidneys also make hormones that help you manage your blood pressure, keep your bones strong, and make red blood cells.
So it’s important to watch for any signs of kidney disease or damage, like pain.
How To Get Relief From Kidney Stone Pain
When pain does occur, it can be so severe that many patients have to go to the closest emergency room to seek immediate treatment. Often a single dose of pain medication given by an ER doctor is enough to alleviate the pain for a prolonged period of time, allowing the stone to pass, says Lieske.
While narcotic pain medications can be carefully given for this purpose, studies suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs milder pain medications with fewer side effects can be as effective. A review of 36 clinical trials that compared NSAIDs with stronger pain medications for kidney stone pain relief found that NSAIDs were equivalent when it came to pain reduction and led to fewer side effects. 30977-6/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 7)
Tamsulosin is also widely used to help relax the muscles of the ureter, increasing the chance of passing the stone and helping reduce symptoms of pain, Bechis notes. However, new evidence suggests this medication may not add as much benefit as previously thought, he adds. A study published in July 2015 in the Lancet found that tamsulosin didnt help stones pass. 60933-3/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 8)
How long does kidney stone pain last? It depends on how long it takes to pass the stone.
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How Is Kidney Pain Treated
Treatment of kidney pain depends on what condition is causing it. In order to pinpoint a cause, a number of tools are available to help your doctor make a diagnosis:
- Urinalysis: Checks for the presence of blood, excess white blood cells , proteins, and certain chemicals that are linked to various kidney disorders.
- Imaging tests:Ultrasound or a CT scan provides an image of the physical structure of the kidneys and urinary tract, sees if stones are present, and helps determine if blood flow is adequate.
Feeling Faint Dizzy Or Weak
Why this happens:
Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to feeling faint, dizzy, or weak.
What patients said:
I was always tired and dizzy.
It got to the point, like, I used to be at work, and all of the sudden I’d start getting dizzy. So I was thinking maybe it was my blood pressure or else diabetes was going bad. That’s what was on my mind.
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Swelling In Hands Or Feet
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and/or hands.
What patients said:
I remember a lot of swelling in my ankles. My ankles were so big I couldn’t get my shoes on.
Going to work one morning, my left ankle was swollen, real swollen, and I was very exhausted just walking to the bus stop. And I knew then that I had to see a doctor.
Is It Kidney Pain Or Back Pain
Because of where your kidneys are in your body, it is easy to confuse kidney pain and back pain. How can you tell the difference?
- Can happen on one or both sides
- Likely will not go away when you shift your body or rest
- Is usually felt in your lower back
- May shoot down one leg
- Feels more like a stabbing pain
- Gets worse when you do certain activities, like bending over or lifting something heavy
- May ease when you shift your body or rest
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When Should You See Your Doctor
Your doctor can determine the size of your stones using an imaging study. If they determine that its very large or youre having signs of severe infection, it may not be safe to attempt and pass the stone at home.
Lithotripsy is a procedure that includes the use of shock waves to separate the stone into smaller sized pieces. This makes the stone much easier to pass. If this doesnt separate the stone or the stone is in a location where lithotripsy might not work, your doctor can use more invasive methods.
This consists of inserting an unique scope called a ureteroscope into your urethra. Your doctor will advance it upward till they access the stone. Another procedure, known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy, includes making a small incision in your back to access the kidney and get rid of the stone.
You must look for emergency treatment for your kidney stone if any of the following occurs:
- You have a fever or chills, which can indicate the existence of infection.
- You stop producing urine.
- You have a history of kidney removal and have just one kidney.
- You have severe queasiness or vomiting.
- You develop confusion or severe tiredness.
- Although these symptoms are unusual with a kidney stone, they can take place.
- Even if your pain is mild, you should still seek emergency situation attention.
Discomfort In The Sides
This is due to inflammation, Dr. Mohan says. The kidneys are covered with a capsule and it becomes engorged if there is an infection. The nerves of the capsule become activated and cause pain, Dr. Mohan adds. Some patients have complained of sharp pain just below the ribs where the kidneys sit. Sometime that uncomfortable feeling moves to the lower abdomen. That kind of pain is sometimes followed by tenderness.
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Pain That Comes And Goes In Waves And Changes In Intensity
As the kidney stone moves through your urinary tract, youll feel pain differently. With a backache, the pain is usually constant.
Kidney stone pain typically starts high up, near the kidney, migrates toward the abdomen and then eventually moves down toward the groin as the stone moves further down the ureter, says Mike Nguyen, MD, a urologist at Keck Medicine of USC and associate professor of clinical urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Kidney stone pain is typically severe and can be sharp or dull. It usually occurs suddenly, without any provoking events.
Mike Nguyen, MD
Signs Of Acute Kidney Injury
Acute kidney injury is a rapid or abrupt decline in kidney function and is considered a medical emergency. It occurs when there is direct injury to one or both kidneys, a blockage in the ureter or another condition causing insufficient blood flow to the kidneys.
In adults, kidney failure can be caused by:
- Low blood pressure that occurs very suddenly and/or is severely low
- Tenderness or pain in the area of the the lower ribs
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What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
“A kidney stone is a hard mass that’s made up of minerals , certain salts and other byproducts. They can form when these substances accumulate in the area of your kidneys where urine is produced,” explains Dr. Kannady.
Kidney stones can be as small as the point of a pen or as large as a ping pong ball.
“Typically, a person doesn’t start noticing the symptoms of a kidney stone until it moves from the kidney into the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder,” Dr. Kannady adds.
Kidney stone symptoms include:
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen, typically on one side
- A burning sensation or pain while urinating
- Urinating frequently
- Feeling like you’re urinating incompletely or in small amounts
- Urine that is brown, red or pink, which indicates the presence of blood
- Smelly or cloudy urine
- Feeling queasy or nauseous due to the intensity of the pain
- Signs of infection, including fever, chills and vomiting
Kidney Pain Definition And Facts
- The function and purpose of the kidneys are to remove excess fluid and waste products from the body.
- The kidneys are organs that are located in the upper abdominal area against the back muscles on both the left and right side of the body.
- Kidney pain and back pain can be difficult to distinguish, but kidney pain is usually deeper and higher in the and back located under the ribs while the muscle pain with common back injury tends to be lower in the back.
- Common causes of kidney pain are mainly urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. However, there are many other causes of kidney pain, including penetrating and blunt trauma that can result in a “lacerated kidney.”
- If a woman is pregnant and has kidney pain, she should contact her doctor.
- Symptoms of kidney pain may include
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What Are A Few Of The Kidney Conditions And Illness That Cause Kidney Pain
A number of the causes of kidney disease that lead to kidney pain are because of gotten underlying illness that might acutely or chronically affect kidney function. Other illness are present at birth. Some people might be born with an abnormality that is genetically identified that impacts the kidneys.
Kidney pain or flank pain can be acute, fairly constant, and sharp. This is described kidney colic. This sort of pain is normally seen when a kidney stone or other problem obstructs the tube that drains the kidney. Nevertheless, other procedures can cause chronic dull hurting with sometimes sharp kidney pain.
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.
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Signs Of A Kidney Infection To Know And When To Go To The Hospital
Youre probably not constantly on the lookout for signs of a kidney infection. But getting a urinary tract infection can open you up to also getting an infection in one or both kidneys, which means this is an illness that should be on your radar. Yep, it’s an unfortunate truth: A urinary tract infection can lead to a kidney infection, which is medically known as pyelonephritis and can be incredibly serious. So if youre experiencing symptoms of a UTI and thinking, Eh, I can wait a few more days to get those antibiotics, think again. Heres what you need to know about the signs of a kidney infection, its underlying causes, why its so important to get treatment as soon as you can, and more.
Where Is The Pain Of Pancreatitis Felt
The most common symptom of both acute and chronic pancreatitis is pain in the upper abdominal area, usually under the ribs. This pain:
- May be mild at first and get worse after eating or drinking
- May become constant, severe, and last for several days
- Tends to worsen while lying down on the back and lessen while leaning forward in a sitting position
- Often radiates throughout the back
- Is not aggravated by movement
- Is not dull or located in the lower abdominal area
The abdominal pain may also differ depending on the cause of the pancreatitis.
The pain of gallstone pancreatitis, for instance, is usually sudden, stabbing, and may radiate to the back.
The pain of alcoholic pancreatitis, on the other hand, may develop more slowly and be less localized.
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Can That Pain In Your Calf That Keeps Coming And Going On And Off Possibly Be A Dvt
A deep vein thrombosis classically causes calf pain thats hard to ignore.
DVT refers to deep venous thrombosis, a blood clot forming usually in the lower legs, often resulting from prolonged slowing of blood flow after prolonged sitting or standing, explains Morton Tavel, MD, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, and author of Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks: A PHYSICIANS ADVICE.
The prolonged sitting includes that which occurs on lengthy plane trips in which the flyer remains seated instead of periodically getting up and walking around to prevent blood pooling in their legs.
It also includes sitting for extended periods in a motor vehicle, legs cramped in a tight space a situation ripe for DVT formation.
Other risk factors include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, use of birth control pills, older age and recent joint replacement or abdominal surgery.
So when unexplained pain starts in a calf, those who are DVT-informed cant help but wonder if the new pain, ache or soreness is coming from a blood clot.
More alarming is if the unexplained pain is constant, regardless of activity. If the calf hurts even at rest, this brings on anxiety to anyone who knows about deep vein thrombosis.
When To See A Doctor
Once youve determined whether your pain is coming from your back or your kidneys, consider seeing your doctor for evaluation and treatment.
You should always be seen if you think you have a kidney infection or kidney stone.
You might be able to treat acute back pain thats mild without seeing your doctor, but if it doesnt get better, is more than mild pain, or spreads, you should see your doctor.
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What Is A Kidney Infection
Kidney infections are technically a type of UTI, since kidneys are part of your upper urinary tract, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . These infections are typically caused by bacteria called Escherichia coli that is usually found in the large intestine but can wreak havoc when it finds itself in the urinary tract.
Kidney infections are one of the most common urologic conditions that we see in general urology practice, Fara Bellows, M.D., a urologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. Still, kidney infections are no joke.
This is a serious organ infection, and people need to take care of it, urologist David Kaufman, M.D., of New Yorks Central Park Urology, tells SELF. Bladder infections are really uncomfortable, but kidney infections can be deadly.