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What To Do If Your Kidneys Hurt

Where Are Your Kidneys

How Do You Know If Your Kidneys Are Hurting?

Your kidneys are located below your ribs, which is why a problem with these organs can often be felt in your upper back or flank, or side area.

The kidneys perform several important functions for your body, including:

  • Removing waste products, excess fluid, and drugs
  • Regulating salt, potassium, and acid content
  • Producing hormones that control red blood cell production, blood pressure, and more
  • Providing vitamin D for bone health

When To See Your Urologist

While it would be nice to avoid the doctors office for kidney pain, its not always possible. Sometimes, the pain is not treatable using an at-home remedy and youll need to see your doctor or urologist to get relief. It should also be noted that just because you experience pain relief, doesnt mean that your infection is gone. To make sure that the infection doesnt spread to other parts of your body and cause further complications, you need to get a proper diagnosis and treat the problem. If you have a high fever, blood in your urine, vomiting, or chills, see your doctor immediately.1 If you experience back, groin, or abdominal pain, see your doctor.3 always better to seek medical treatment early to treat any serious infections and reduce the risks of complications or severe problems.

If you have kidney stones, but the pain is persistent and youre unable to pass them on your own, your urologist will recommend additional treatments. There are a number of different things that can be done to reduce the size of kidney stones and make them easier to pass naturally. Call your doctor if the pain persists and youre unable to pass kidney stones on your own.

Kidney Pain: Causes Why Kidneys Hurt And When To Seek Care

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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.

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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Kidney Diseases

The doctor usually will do a history and physical examination. Initial tests usually consist of a complete blood count , kidney function , urine test, and when appropriate, a pregnancy test. A lacerated kidney may be suspected if the person has experienced a traumatic injury to the lower back.

If kidney stones are suspected, a CT exam or renal ultrasound is done an abdominal X-ray may be ordered but has been replaced in general by ultrasound and CT. As patients with kidney stones often need repeat X-ray studies or have repeat episodes of kidney stones, ultrasound with its lack of radiation is a good study to consider. Abdominal/pelvic CTs with contrast or magnetic resonance imaging and aortogram may be ordered to further define or differentiate underlying kidney and nonrenal causes of flank pain. Such studies are routinely performed if a kidney is suspected to be damaged by a traumatic event .

How Is Kidney Disease Treated

If Your Kidneys Hurt

How kidney disease is treated depends on the particular problem and what’s causing it:

  • Kidney infections are treated with .
  • Medicines to decrease may help with nephritis and nephrotic syndrome.
  • Medicines can treat high blood pressure or help the kidneys make extra pee if fluid or swelling is causing a kidney problem.
  • A person might need to eat a special diet that limits salt or other things.

Occasionally, if medicines and other treatments don’t work, the kidneys can stop working well. They may not clear enough of the body’s waste products and excess water. In that case, a person might need dialysis. This process uses an artificial filtering system to do the job of the kidneys when they can’t.

Some people who need dialysis on a permanent basis might be candidates for a kidney transplant. This means they get a donated kidney from another person. Someone who gets a transplanted kidney no longer needs dialysis to clean the blood of waste products and remove excess water. The donated, healthy kidney takes over the job.

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What Causes A Kidney Infection

Kidney infections are caused by bacteria or viruses.

Scientists believe that most kidney infections start as a bladder infection that moves upstream to infect one or both of your kidneys. Most often, the infection is caused by bacteria that normally live in your bowel. The urinary tract has several ways to prevent infection from moving up the urinary tract. For example, urination most often flushes out bacteria before it reaches the bladder. Sometimes your body cant fight the bacteria and the bacteria cause a UTI. If you dont get medical treatment to stop the infection, the bacteria may infect your kidneys.

In some cases, your blood can carry bacteria or viruses from another part of your body to your kidneys.

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.

You should also see a GP if you have symptoms of a UTI that have not improved after a few days, or if you have blood in your pee.

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.

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Not Drinking Enough Water

Staying well hydrated helps your kidneys clear sodium and toxins from the body. Drinking plenty of water is also one of the best ways to avoid painful kidney stones. Those with kidney problems or kidney failure may need to restrict their fluid intake, but for most people, drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day is a healthy target.

Where Is Kidney Stone Pain Located

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The sharp pain associated with a kidney stone moves as the stone progresses through your urinary tract. The most common places to feel pain are in your:

  • Lower abdomen or groin
  • Along one side of your body, below your ribs
  • Lower back

However, while pain is certainly the most noticeable symptoms of kidney stones, it’s not always the earliest sign or even the most telling sign, for that matter.

“The pain associated with a kidney stone typically isn’t felt until after its already formed and is passing through your urinary tract,” explains Dr. Kannady. “In addition, due to differences in anatomy, men and women describe kidney stone pain slightly differently. Not to mention that pain itself is relative and everyone has a different threshold for it.”

Plus, the intensity of the pain isn’t necessarily a measure of how problematic the kidney stone might be or become. Smaller stones that are likely to pass on their own can still be very painful. And not every kidney stone that requires medical intervention comes with gut-wrenching pain.

“Any time you’re experiencing pain, it’s important to see your doctor. But if you’re experiencing pain, even if it’s only mind, in combination with the kidney stone symptoms above and, in particular, if you have a fever or severe trouble urinating it’s definitely important to see your doctor,” warns Dr. Kannady.

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What Is The Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain

Here are the things you can watch out for to tell if you have back pain or youre having kidney pain:

  • What part of the back hurts? When the pain radiates from the flank, the lower part of the ribcage, there is a chance that it may be a kidney stone. Pain from other parts of your back is probably back pain.
  • How intense is the pain? Back pain is usually tolerable, but it still depends on how much stress or damage your ligaments, muscles, tendons or discs went through. Pain caused by kidney stones is usually a sharp pain, like being stabbed, or a dull pain if it is from a kidney infection. The pain also depends on the severity of the infection or the size of the kidney stone.
  • How long have you been experiencing pain? Most acute cases of back pain usually resolves on its own within days rather than weeks. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications usually relieve back pain. Severe kidney pain usually does not go away with the NSAIDs, and nothing will relieve the pain unless the problem is addressed. If the pain persists, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • How Do You Know If You Have Kidney Pain

    Kidney pain, or renal pain, is usually felt in your back . It can spread to other areas, like the sides, upper abdomen or groin. If you have a kidney stone, you usually feel the pain in your back, side, lower belly or groin.

    Back pain due to muscle problems is usually in your lower back. Pain due to kidney problems is usually deeper and higher in your back, under your ribs.

    Signs that it is a kidney problem can also include fever, vomiting, pain in your sides or painful urination.

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    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.

    Relieving Kidney Pain At Home Urinary Infections

    Kidney Stone Symptoms, Causes and Natural Remedies

    If youre suffering from kidney pain due to an infection in the urinary tract, try the following remedies. If they dont work, make sure to schedule a visit with your urologist to discuss a treatment plan that will ensure the infection doesnt spread.

  • Increase Water Intake

    Hydration is key to flushing out infections of the urinary tract. Not only will staying hydrated help eliminate bacteria, it can relieve pain by reducing the concentration of your urine. Instead of turning to sugary drinks, increase your water intake. Water is always a better option as it causes less irritation. As a general rule of thumb, aim for 8, 8oz glasses a day.2 If youre active or have a strenuous lifestyle you may need more water to stay hydrated.

  • Take Probiotics
  • that helps increase the frequency and amount of urine that you pass.3 This helps further eliminate any bacterial buildup in the urinary tract and fights infection. If parsley juice on its own sounds too gross too handle, try adding it into smoothies with cranberry juice to mask the flavor.

  • Avoid Irritants

    Limit your intake of alcohol and coffee, both of which irritate the urinary tract. Drinking irritants during an infection reduces the effectiveness of your bodys natural healing process and may increase dehydration.

  • Drink Green Tea
  • Relieving Kidney Pain at Home Kidney Stones

  • Add a Splash of Citrus
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    What Is The Treatment For Kidney Pain

    • Kidney pain treatment depends on the underlying cause of the pain.
    • Kidney infections and kidney stones that cause pain are often treated with ibuprofen, ketorolac , acetaminophen , or occasionally with small amounts of morphine . However, these agents treat pain and not the underlying cause of pain.
    • Some patients may spontaneously pass small kidney stones and then be pain-free.
    • Infections like urinary tract infections and pyelonephritis usually require antibiotic treatments in addition to pain medications.
    • If kidney stones completely block a ureter or are about 6 mm in diameter or larger, they may require urologic surgery. Usually, recovery time is fast if kidney stones are removed by retrograde surgical techniques. However, some severe kidney lacerations may require more extensive surgery. Recovery time for these surgeries varies from weeks to months.
    • Other underlying causes of flank pain may need similar pain management and concurrent treatments. However, patients with known kidney problems and/or renal function compromise should not be treated with pain medications that are either filtered through the kidneys and/or may cause further renal damage.

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    What Causes Kidney Pain

    Kidneys drain urine to the bladder via tubes called ureters. Your bladder is emptied via the urethra. Problems in any of these areas can cause pain, and may be caused by:

    If you have had kidney stones in the past, it may not always be necessary to have a computed tomography scan, which exposes you to radiation. Ask your doctor if a CT scan is necessary for you. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

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    How Is Kidney Pain Treated

    The treatment for kidney pain depends on what is causing it. Be sure to call your doctor if you have any kidney pain. Your doctor may do:

    • A urine test to check for signs of infection
    • Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, to see if your kidneys are injured

    Once you know what is causing your pain, your doctor can work with you to find the right treatment.

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    Coronavirus Might Target Kidney Cells

    Where Do You Feel Kidney Pain In The Back?

    The virus itself infects the cells of the kidney. Kidney cells have receptors that enable the new coronavirus to attach to them, invade, and make copies of itself, potentially damaging those tissues. Similar receptors are found on cells of the lungs and heart, where the new coronavirus has been shown to cause injury.

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    Can Kidney Infections Be Prevented

    You can reduce your chances of developing a kidney infection by keeping your bladder and urethra free from bacteria. This can include drinking plenty of fluids, keeping your genitals clean and treating any constipation.

    The symptoms of a kidney infection usually develop quite quickly over a few hours or days.

    Common symptoms include:

    • pain and discomfort in your side, lower back or around your genitals
    • high temperature
    • shivering or chills
    • feeling very weak or tired
    • loss of appetite

    You may have other symptoms if you also have cystitis or urethritis . These additional symptoms may include:

    • pain or a burning sensation during urination
    • need to urinate frequently or urgently
    • feeling that you’re unable to urinate fully
    • blood in your urine
    • cloudy or foul smelling urine
    • pain in your lower abdomen

    Symptoms Of Kidney Pain

    • A dull ache that’s usually constant
    • Pain under your rib cage or in your belly
    • Pain in your side usually only one side, but sometimes both hurt
    • Sharp or severe pain that may come in waves
    • Pain that can spread to your groin area or belly

    Other symptoms that can happen with kidney pain

    The symptoms of your kidney pain depend on its cause. With kidney pain you may also have:

    • Fever
    • Blood in your urine

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    Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

    Kidney disease is called a silent disease as there are often no warning signs. People may lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before getting any symptoms. The first signs of kidney disease may be general and can include:

    • changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed
    • changes in the appearance of urine
    • blood in the urine
    • puffiness of the legs and ankles
    • pain in the kidney area
    • tiredness
    • have a family history of kidney failure
    • have a history of acute kidney injury
    • are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin and 18 years and older.

    Eating Too Many Foods High In Sugar

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    Sugar contributes to obesity which increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two of the leading causes of kidney disease. In addition to desserts, sugar is often added to foods and drinks that you may not consider sweet. Avoid condiments, breakfast cereals, and white bread which are all sneaky sources of processed sugar. Pay attention to the ingredients when buying packaged goods to avoid added sugar in your diet.

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    Kidney Pain Vs 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?

    Kidney pain:

    • Can happen on one or both sides
    • Likely will not go away when you shift your body or rest

    Back pain:

    • 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

    Things To Know About Kidney Pain

    • 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 sides of the body.
    • Kidney pain and back pain can be difficult to distinguish, but kidney pain is usually deeper and higher in the 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
    • vomiting.
  • Kidney pain can be on the left, right, or both sides.
  • Causes of kidney pain are diagnosed with the patient’s history, physical examination, and lab tests, including blood, pregnancy, and urine tests. A CT scan or MRI of the abdomen and pelvis may be ordered.
  • Treatment for the cause of kidney pain depends upon the underlying cause, but in general, ibuprofen , ketorolac , and/or acetaminophen are used for pain. Antibiotics are usually required if the underlying cause is a bacterial infection.
  • Some people can pass a kidney stone spontaneously that resolves kidney pain however, other people may need surgery.
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