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
The Kidneys And How They Work
The kidneys eliminate waste and water from the blood, and they form urine, one of the bodys main ways to rid itself of toxins. But how does waste get into the blood in the first place? It gets into the blood through the normal metabolism of active tissues, such as muscles, as well as from components of foods we eat, such as sugars, food coloring, preservatives, and MSG.
It is necessary to remark that we are using our food as fuel, and so any components that are not good for us are sent directly to the blood as waste. The more junk you eat, the more waste you are forcing your body to deal with. Get it?
If the kidneys are unable to remove this waste, then it builds back up in the blood and damages the body, including the kidneys. It is crucial that our kidneys perform their role efficiently, because just as you do not desire to survive in a home full of waste, neither do your cells.
How exactly do the kidneys remove the waste? The actual process of waste removal occurs inside tiny units in the kidneys called nephrons. Each kidney contains millions of nephrons housing intricate filtering and balancing systems.
Once the waste enters a nephron, it goes into a tiny blood vessel called a glomerulus that intertwines with a urine-collecting tube called a tubule. The glomerulus filters the waste out of the blood, into a collecting duct, and out of the kidney via the ureter to be eliminated through urination.
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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Watch Out For Signs Of Kidney Disease
A person with kidney disease has progressive loss of function of their kidneys. Kidney disease is sometimes called a silent disease because it often doesnt cause symptoms until the disease has progressed significantly. Its not uncommon for people to have lost up to 90% of their kidney function before experiencing symptoms of kidney disease.
Keep an eye out for the below signs and symptoms of kidney disease, and if you have any concerns, see your doctor.
Signs of reduced kidney function can include:
- high blood pressure
- change in how often you need to go to the toilet and how much urine you produce
- changes to your urine for example frothy or foaming urine
- blood in your urine
- increased puffiness around your legs, ankles or eyes
- pain in the kidney area
- tiredness and fatigue
How Is Hydronephrosis Diagnosed
The diagnosis begins with taking a history of the symptoms that the patient experiences. The health care practitioner will ask questions that will direct whether further tests need to be ordered. Reviewing the patient’s past medical history and family history may be helpful.
Depending upon the situation and whether there is acute onset of symptoms, physical examination may reveal tenderness in the flank or where the kidneys are located. The bladder may be found to be distended when the abdomen is examined. Usually, in males, a rectal examination is done to assess the size of the prostate. In women a pelvic examination may be performed to evaluate the uterus and ovaries.
The following laboratory tests may be ordered depending upon what potential diagnosis is being considered.
- Urinalysis to look for blood, infection or abnormal cells
- Complete blood count may reveal anemia or potential infection
- Electrolyte analysis may be helpful in chronic hydronephrosis since the kidneys are responsible for maintaining and balancing their concentrations in the blood stream.
- BUN , creatinine and glomerular filtration rate are blood tests that help assess kidney function.
Intravenous pyelography has mostly been replaced by CT scanning but does have a role in diagnosing some patients and its use is now limited.
The initial care for the patient is aimed at minimizing pain and preventing urinary tract infections. Otherwise, surgical intervention may be required.
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What Are Different Types Of Kidney Infection
Kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, may be classified as uncomplicated, complicated, or chronic kidney infection .
A complicated kidney infection refers to a kidney infection in which there is an accompanying condition that increases the risk of severe infection and ineffective treatment, such as abnormalities of the urinary tract, urinary obstruction, or diabetes. It can also mean there is severe involvement of the kidney, for example, abscess formation, obstruction, or enlarged kidney, or gas is seen in the kidney by an imaging study, such as a CT scan. In these situations, the symptoms may be more severe and less responsive to usual treatments.
A chronic kidney infection may refer to a recurring kidney infection that could be a result of a kidney stone obstructing the ureter or other structural abnormalities in the ureters . These conditions are usually associated with milder symptoms, but they may last longer.
The evaluation of complicated kidney infection and chronic kidney infection typically requires a more thorough evaluation and more extensive testing such as CT scans and X-rays.
Measuring How Your Kidneys Work
It is difficult to calculate the exact rate at which your kidneys work. The best measure of kidney function is called the glomerular filtration rate . The GFR can be estimated using a mathematical formula. This formula uses the level of creatinine in your blood to estimate how well your kidneys are filtering waste from your blood. It can indicate if there is any kidney damage.
The higher the filtration rate, the better the kidneys are working. A GFR of 100 mL/min/1.73 m2 is in the normal range. This is about equal to 100 per cent kidney function. Based on this measurement system, a GFR of 50 mL/min/1.73 m2 could be called 50 per cent kidney function and a GFR of 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 could be called 30 per cent kidney function.
If your doctor orders a blood test to learn more about your kidney function, an eGFR result is provided automatically, along with your creatinine results.
Your doctor may also test for other signs and conditions that may indicate you have chronic kidney disease. These may include tests for:
- protein in your urine
- blood in your urine
- high blood pressure
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What Is Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease, sometimes called CKD, is an umbrella term for several conditions that affect the kidneys, but it generally means permanent and usually progressive damage to the kidneys caused by a variety of conditions.
Learn Your ABCs of Kidney Disease
Johns Hopkins nephrologists Drs. Sumeska Thavarajah and Daphne Knicely offer a free educational class most months, from 5 6 p.m. at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. For more information, call .
When Should I See My Doctor About Kidney Pain
You should see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Worsening, dull pain in one side of your back or flank
- Body aches, fatigue, fever
- Recent urinary tract infection
If you suddenly experience severe kidney pain, with or without blood in your urine, you should seek emergency medical care. Sudden, severe pain can often be a sign of a blood clot or hemorrhage, and you should be evaluated immediately.
Dr. Rondon says if you notice symptoms like a change in your urines color, a fever, or if your pain doesnt improve, seek a doctor. For emergency situations, you should go to the emergency department. For other situations, contact your primary care physician for a referral to a nephrologist or urologist.
For more information on kidney pain, talk to your doctor or visit the UPMC kidney disease webpage. Do you have flank pain? Check out our article on the 3 Common Causes of Flank Pain to learn more.
American Kidney Fund, Kidney Pain
Anton J. Bueschen, Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations, 3rd Edition, Flank Pain
National Kidney Foundation, 3 Early Signs of Kidney Disease
National Kidney Foundation, How Your Kidneys Work
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Kidney Location In Body
Let us talk about the kidney location in the body. As a qualified medical doctor, and based of my knowledge of the human anatomy, I am aware that the kidneys are located in the posterior abdominal wall. By the way, let me clarify that the human abdomen extends from beneath your sternum to just above your pelvis.
Your kidneys are located just below the rib cage, beneath your liver in the back of your abdomen.
For the purpose of deeper understanding, the abdomen can further be divided into the front and back wallsotherwise called the anterior and posterior abdominal walls respectively.
Sometimes, if you have an underlying kidney diseases which cause pain and inflammation, you may begin to experience low back or flank pain. Flank pain could be a symptom of a urinary tract or kidney infection as the case may be. While you experience flank pain during a Urinary Tract Infection, doctors will elicit renal angle tenderness.
Unlike other causes of back pain, kidney pain often will not get better as you move, or even if you massage the area.
Renal stones otherwise called nephrolithiasis is also another common cause of flank pain which is felt in the middle of the back. You should be careful with acute sharp pain in your middle back and it is an important symptom that should make you book an appointment with your doctor.
What Are Kidney Cancer Treatments
Surgery is the most common treatment for people with kidney cancer. The type of surgery depends on the size and stage of the cancer, whether you have two kidneys, and whether cancer was found in both kidneys.
You and your surgeon can talk about the types of surgery and which may be right for you:
- Removing all of the kidney : The surgeon removes the entire kidney along with the adrenal gland and some tissue around the kidney. Some lymph nodes in the area may also be removed.
- Removing part of the kidney : The surgeon removes only the part of the kidney that contains the tumor. People with a kidney tumor that is smaller than a tennis ball may choose this type of surgery.
There are two approaches for removing the kidney. The surgeon may remove the tumor by making a large incision into your body . Or the surgeon may remove the tumor by making small incisions . The surgeon sees inside your abdomen with a thin, lighted tube placed inside a small incision. Sometimes a robot is used. The surgeon uses handles below a computer display to control the robot’s arms.
The surgeon may use other methods of destroying the cancer in the kidney. For people who have a tumor smaller than 4 centimeters and who can’t have surgery to remove part of the kidney because of other health problems, the surgeon may suggest:
It takes time to heal after surgery, and the time needed to recover is different for each person. It’s common to feel weak or tired for a while.
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When Should I Seek Medical Care For Hydronephrosis
A person with acute hydronephrosis usually develops significant pain and needs emergent help with pain control.
Blood in the urine is never normal and should not be ignored. Most often in women, it is due to a bladder infection, but other causes include kidney stones, tumors, and occasionally is associated with appendicitis.
Individuals who have the diagnosis of hydronephrosis who develop a fever need to be seen immediately. If a urinary tract infectionoccurs and there is decreased urine flow, there is the risk of becoming very ill by developing bacteremia.
Hydronephrosis is a true emergency in patients with only one kidney and should the person believe that the lone kidney is at risk, urgent medical care should be accessed.
So Now Is The Time To Pamper Your Kidneys
If youre experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see your health practitioner and have a check-up, including tests to assess your kidney function.
And you should also make sure youre helping your kidneys stay in top shape by doing a thorough cleanse.
Even if you dont have any of these signs, a systemic cleanse is like a spa day for your kidneys. It helps them get in top shape and avoid damage and disease. This is why OsteoCleanse, The 7 Day Bone Building Accelerator was developed in conjunction with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
OsteoCleanse is not just about alkalizing your body, feeling younger and more energized, and removing osteoporosis drugs from your system. It does all of these things in just seven days, but at the heart of OsteoCleanses effectiveness are its kidney-boosting, liver-cleansing effects so youll strengthen and build your bones faster.
Its always a good idea to heed early warning signs and treat your kidneys to a cleanse before damage occurs, and its particularly important to offset the effects of aging on your renal system.
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What Is Renal Cell Carcinoma
It’s the most common type of kidney cancer. Although itâs a serious disease, finding and treating it early makes it more likely that youâll be cured. No matter when youâre diagnosed, you can do certain things to ease your symptoms and feel better during your treatment.
Most people who have renal cell carcinoma are older, usually between ages 50 and 70. It often starts as just one tumor in a kidney, but sometimes it begins as several tumors, or itâs found in both kidneys at once. You might also hear it called renal cell cancer.
Doctors have different ways to treat renal cell carcinoma, and scientists are testing new ones, too. Youâll want to learn as much about your disease as you can and work with your doctor so you can choose the best treatment.
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.
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Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
Kidney pain, or flank pain, typically feels like a dull ache on one side of your upper back. The pain usually begins on your side or back. Attributes of kidney pain, including how severe it is, how often it occurs, and whether its isolated or radiating, vary. Those characteristics can help determine the cause of your pain.
Other associated symptoms of kidney pain include:
- Blood in urine
Why You Get Stones
Part of preventing stones is finding out why you get them. Your health care provider will perform tests to find out what is causing this. After finding out why you get stones, your health care provider will give you tips to help stop them from coming back.
Some of the tests he or she may do are listed below.
Medical and Dietary History
Your health care provider will ask questions about your personal and family medical history. He or she may ask if:
- Have you had more than one stone before?
- Has anyone in your family had stones?
- Do you have a medical condition that may increase your chance of having stones, like frequent diarrhea, gout or diabetes?
Knowing your eating habits is also helpful. You may be eating foods that are known to raise the risk of stones. You may also be eating too few foods that protect against stones or not drinking enough fluids.
Understanding your medical, family and dietary history helps your health care provider find out how likely you are to form more stones.
Blood and Urine Tests
When a health care provider sees you for the first time and you have had stones before, he or she may want to see recent X-rays or order a new X-ray. They will do this to see if there are any stones in your urinary tract. Imaging tests may be repeated over time to check for stone growth. You may also need this test if you are having pain, hematuria or recurrent infections.
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