When To See Your Doctor
Kidney pain is almost always a sign that something is wrong with your kidney. You should see your doctor as soon as possible to determine whats causing your pain.
If the condition that has caused kidney pain isnt treated promptly and appropriately, your kidneys can stop working, which is called kidney failure.
Its especially important to see your doctor right away if your pain is severe and started suddenly because this is often caused by a serious problem such as renal vein thrombosis or bleeding into your kidney that needs emergency treatment.
Fever And Chills Along With Your Back Pain
This could also mean that you have a urinary tract infection.
If you have any of these symptoms, along with your back pain, you should call your doctor right away.
If your pain is unbearable, is associated with fevers or chills, or you have nausea and vomiting that is preventing you from keeping down fluids or medications, you should seek immediate medical attention, Nguyen says.
When Back Pain Means Kidney Problems
Millions of Americans per year suffer from back pain. Often, the cause is muscular, like a strain or pulled muscle, or skeletal, like degenerative disc disease, but other times, back pain could be a symptom of something larger.
If you have back pain near the kidneys, you could have an infection or more serious condition that could need immediate attention. Our team can help patients identify kidney pain symptoms so they know when to make an appointment at Affiliated Urologists.
The kidneys can be found on both sides of the body near the top of the abdomen. They rest near the back muscles and sit just below the ribcage. This means that when patients have a kidney condition, they usually feel pain in their backs as opposed to the stomach area. Its possible for patients to only feel pain on one side of the upper back where the kidneys are. Sometimes, back pain is felt on the side of the body as well as the back.
What it means
Kidney pain could mean a wide variety of things. It could mean something as easy to treat as dehydration, but this is not typically the case. Kidney pain felt in the upper back can also be caused by a kidney infection, kidney stones, or even cancer.
What to look for
Kidney Cancer If a patient is experiencing back pain paired with loss of appetite, weight loss, or fatigue, they may have kidney cancer. However, if a patient has these symptoms, it does not always mean cancer. It could mean another, less-serious issue with the kidneys.
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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.
Back Pain Or Kidney Stone
According to Dr. Charney, if youre feeling kidney pain, its probably coming from one of two places : Either because of distension of the ureter or capsule that surrounds the kidneys.
The ureterstubes attached to each kidneytransport urine from the kidneys to the bladder. All that urine contains salts and minerals, and if the minerals clump together and block one of the ureters, youve got yourself a dreaded, infamously painful kidney stone.
ureter because there is a stone blocking it, says Dr. Charney. Not only that, he says, but when there is a blockage due to the stone in the ureter, the urine may back up into the kidney and that may expand the capsule of the kidney and cause pain.
When it comes to where the pain is located, it is typically just on one side. It is routinely categorized as a dull ache. Dr. Charney adds that the pain is always theremore or less bothering you. Sound familiar? Thats because chronic back pain, especially the kind caused by nerve compression, is usually on just one side too .
However, when it comes time to pass a stone, youll know it.
Stone ache can just be faint pain unless that stone is trying to pass, says Dr. Charney. Then it can be severe and last for several minutes before it goes away. Whenever the pain is too excruciating to bearand really, any time you suspect a kidney stonehead to the emergency room. Treatment is available and of course, better safe than sorry.
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Who Is At Risk Of A Kidney Infection
Certain medical conditions may increase your chances of having a kidney infection. These include:
- Conditions that may weaken the bodys immunity, such as diabetes and HIV.
- Frequent bladder or other urinary tract infections . A UTI in a pregnant female is a particularly serious condition and should be immediately brought to medical attention.
- Structural problems in the kidney that may alter the flow of urine, such as kidney stones, congenital structural problems of the urinary tract, and tumors present inside or outside the urinary tract.
- Females are at greater risk of a UTI since they have a shorter urethra compared to males.
What Causes Kidney Malfunction
A major culprit of kidney problems is an acidic diet . A brand-new study sheds light on the renal problems that can be caused by a high-acid, meat-rich diet.
The study followed 1,500 people with kidney disease for a period of 14 years. Participants who ate a diet high in meat came very close to experiencing complete kidney failure, while those who ate more fruits and vegetables did not even come close to kidney failure. Researchers estimate that an acidic diet can make it three times more likely for your kidneys to fail.1
Says lead study author Dr. Tanushree Banejee,
Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failuredialysis treatmentsmay be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.1
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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.
What Causes A Kidney Infection
The commonest cause of kidney infection is the bacteria called E coli . The mode of infection is ascending of the germ from the anogenital area.
The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters , urinary bladder, and the urethra . These bacteria can enter the urinary tract via the urethra. The infection can occur during sexual intercourse or because of poor hygiene habits after bowel movements. On entering the urethra, the bacteria can migrate upwards to infect the bladder and the kidneys . Although pyelonephritis is rarer than cystitis, it is a serious condition and needs prompt medical management. Kidney infections can even occur in the absence of a bladder infection. This may be seen in conditions, such as kidney stones , and with weak immunity, such as diabetes and HIV.
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Telltale Signs You Have A Kidney Stone
Most people have two kidneys located behind their abdominal organs along the middle of their back. The purpose of your kidneys is to filter blood and send any waste thats collected into your urine.
Sometimes, these waste products build up and form small, hard deposits called kidney stones. Stones develop inside kidneys, but they exit the body through the urinary tract.
Because the ureter is small, passing a stone can cause complications inside the urinary tract, as well as a range of unpleasant symptoms from abdominal pain to nausea. About 1 in 10 Americans will experience at least one kidney stone in their lifetime, but learning to recognize the telltale signs of a kidney stone isnt always easy especially if youve never had one.
Our team at Advanced Urology in Redondo Beach, Culver City, and Los Angeles, California, is here to help. While small stones might pass without your knowledge, larger stones can cause excruciating pain. Make an appointment at Advanced Urology if you have
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.
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What Are Your Kidneys Good For
You can easily regard your kidneys as sort of constant waste processor. What exactly do they do? The two kidneys filter around 1,750 litres of blood every day. They remove waste and excess water. They additionally regulate your blood pressure, and they stimulate the production of bone tissue and red blood cells.
Causes Of Bilateral And Unilateral Kidney Pains
Flank pains experienced in either one side otherwise known as unilateral, or both sides, which is referred to as bilateral is caused by various reasons .
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Fatigue Being Tired All Of The Time
Why this happens:
Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin , or EPO, that tells your body to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less EPO. With fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, your muscles and brain tire very quickly. This is anemia, and it can be treated.
What patients said:
I was constantly exhausted and didn’t have any pep or anything.
I would sleep a lot. I’d come home from work and get right in that bed.
Kidney Pain Location And Sensation
Most people tend to associate pain in the area between the ribs and hips as either digestive problems or muscular back pain. However, kidney pain isnt always felt in the same place as the kidneys location.
Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on MedicineNet explains that renal or flank pain can be felt anywhere between the lowest rib and the buttocks. The pain may also radiate to the groin or abdominal area. Depending on the underlying cause of the kidney pain, you may feel the pain in just the left or right side of your back. However, sometimes kidney pain affects both sides of the back.3
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Upset Stomach Nausea Vomiting
Why this happens:
A severe build-up of wastes in the blood can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.
What patients said:
I had a lot of itching, and I was nauseated, throwing up all the time. I couldn’t keep anything down in my stomach.
When I got the nausea, I couldn’t eat and I had a hard time taking my blood pressure pills.
Feeling Tired Or Sluggish During The Day
Everyone has a day when they feel tired maybe you didnt get enough sleep, or ate the wrong foods, or some other temporary factors are at play. But sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. The main function of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells, and red blood cells carry energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, thereby reducing the number of red blood cells and making you feel weak and tired out.
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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.
Can A Kidney Stone Feel Like Back Pain
How Kidney Stones Feel Like Kidney Stones. Anyone who has ever experienced the pain associated with kidney stones knows how important it can be to find medical attention. The kidneys. She still goes to Journal Club every week, because thats what just gives me energy. Shes also leading the company as they develop practical applications of synthetic biology. Editors Note:
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Symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain and possibly fever and chills. You might also see blood in your urine. The pain comes and goes as the kidney spasms, trying to get rid of the stone from inside your kidney. It may feel like you have pulled a muscle in your back. If you are at this stage then expect the spasms between 1 to 4 TIMES AN.
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Shortness Of Breath After Very Little Effort
Why this happens:
Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
What patients said:
At the times when I get the shortness of breath, it’s alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, can’t breathe, can’t walk anywhere. It was bad.