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.
Potential Causes Of Pain In Lower Back Kidney Area
When experiencing back pain, musculoskeletal problems are usually the culprit. Occasionally, however, pain in the lower back kidney area is a symptom of kidney-related troubles. If you experience pain in your lower back as well as pain radiating to your side and your groin, your kidneys are a likely culprit. If urinary problems or a fever accompany the pain, a kidney problem is even more likely. Heres everything you need to know about pain in the kidney area .
What Is A Kidney Infection
A kidney infection, medically known as pyelonephritis, is a common type of urinary tract infection , caused when bacteria have entered the bodys urinary tract and traveled from the bladder into one or both kidneys. Since a kidney infection commonly develops from an untreated bladder infection, the two share the same signs and symptoms.
Common urinary tract infection signs and symptoms include:
- Bad smelling urine
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Types Of Back Pain And Kidney Pain
Back pain is classified into neck pain, upper back pain, lower back pain or tailbone pain anatomically. It can be acute if it lasts for less than 4 weeks, sub acute if lasting for 4 to 12 weeks and chronic if present for more than 12 weeks.
Kidney pain is usually very severe and if caused due to kidney stones are known as colic which indicates its wave like occurrence as opposed to steady pain. Pain due to kidney infection is indicated by pain in flank area. All types of kidney pain are usually accompanied with fever, nausea and vomiting.
Can You Tell If You Passed A Stone
Dr. De cautions people to be careful with the phrase passing a stone. Theres the passing the stone from the kidney to the bladder, which is the painful part, she says. Then theres the bladder out the urethra, which generally doesnt cause pain. Often, people only know they urinated out a stone if they are straining their urine or see it in the toilet. If you have severe pain or severe nausea or vomiting, head to the ER.
You may be given a urine mesh screen or a pee strainer, which you place on top of the toilet seat to collect any material in your urine. Your kidney stone may look like a grain of sand or a piece of gravel. You should keep any stones you collect in a cup with a lid or a plastic bag to keep them safe and dry until you can give them to your doctor for analysis. Your doctor will more than likely give you information on how to reduce your risk of kidney stones like:
- Drinking plenty of water.
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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.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 21, 2015, and was last reviewed on October 1, 2019.
Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain
The kidneys are organs that sit on both sides of the body, right below the rib cage. They rest against the back muscles, which can make it difficult to tell whether youre experiencing kidney pain or back pain. However, you can distinguish one from the other by looking at where the pain is located, how severe the pain is, and what the accompanying signs are.
So what is the difference between back pain and kidney pain? Kidney pain often affects a higher area of the back compared to back problems which tend to occur on the lumbar spine. If your kidney has a problem, the pain wont go away until it is resolved. On the other hand, back pain can lessen when you adjust the position of your body or if you rest for a couple of days.
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Causes Of Kidney Infections
Kidney infections are a result of bacteria entering the kidneys. While there are many causes for a kidney infection, the most common is from a pre-existing infection in the urinary tract, like a bladder infection.
The urinary tract, or urinary system, comprises organs that extract, hold, and transport waste as urine from your system. The organs include two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra.
Kidneys process blood to produce urine. The urine travels via the ureters to the bladder, where it is stored, waiting to release during the urination process through the urethra. When bacteria end up in the urethra, they can travel to the bladder and cause an infection that turns into a kidney infection when it moves to one or both kidneys.
Infections in the urinary tract are most commonly caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli. About 90 percent of uncomplicated urinary tract infections are caused by E. coli, a bacteria that can be found in the colons of humans and animals as well as their fecal waste. E. coli can spread to the genitals and into the urinary tract through improper wiping or toilet backsplash. Bacterial transfer can also occur during sex.
Other conditions that prevent the natural urine flow can increase the risk that an infection may occur, such as blockages to the ureters from a large kidney stone.
Right Side Rib Pain: Appendicitis
In this section we will talk specifically about appendicitis , one of the most common causes of acute pain under the right ribs, a condition that if not treated quickly can be life threatening.
This pathology can be identified by acute pain , different from typical belly pain, only on the right side. The first of its symptoms is a kind of dull pain in the navel and in the pit of the stomach. At this point it can be confused with an upset stomach, however, as the hours go by, this pain increases and is located on the right side , becoming disabling. Here you will find the symptoms of appendicitis .
One of the best ways we have to identify if we are really suffering from appendicitis is to try to press hard on the area that hurts with our fingers. In case of appendicitis, the pain will become very intense and, generally, people cough or cry out. Another way to diagnose it is by walking, since when people suffer from acute appendicitis, people cannot walk upright, but rather shrink back on themselves so that the pain decreases.
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When Back Pain Can Indicate Kidney Cancer
Its not unusual for kidney cancer to cause back pain, but then again, back pain is a very common symptom of aging and stress. Any severe pain should be cause for concern, but where you feel the pain will help to determine if your kidneys are to blame:
- Pain at the site. Poor posture, muscle strain, and spinal problems can cause consistent aches or shooting pains in any area of your back, but the pain of kidney cancer often presents just below the ribs in the back .
- Flank pain. Some patients may feel pain in the side, or flank the area between your upper abdomen and your back. It may be more prominent after a twisting motion, and it will likely only affect one side of the body.
- Painful lump. In some cases, a mass or lump can be found in the side or lower back. It may be painful to the touch, or it may just be disconcerting to see. In any case, a visible abnormality should be investigated right away.
- Pain with weakness. When back pain occurs with weakness in a specific area, you should pay a visit to your doctor. Progressive muscle weakness could be a sign that the tumour has grown or metastasized, and is pressing on nerves.
While certain pains can be serious warning signs, they may also point to nothing more than a mild illness or strain. Only a doctor can determine whether your back pain is something to worry about, and the better you can communicate your symptoms, the better your medical team can get to the bottom of the issue with the appropriate tests and scans.
Where Do I Feel Kidney Pain
You feel kidney pain in the area where your kidneys are located: Near the middle of your back, just under your ribcage, on each side of your spine. Your kidneys are part of the urinary tract, the organs that make urine and remove it from your body. The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.
You may feel kidney pain on only one side or both sides of your back. Having pain in these areas does not always mean there is something wrong with your kidneys. Because there are muscles, bones and other organs around your kidneys, it can be hard to tell what exactly is causing your pain. If you have constant pain you think may be caused by your kidneys, talk to your doctor.
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Back Pain Vs Kidney Pain
Kidney pain and back pain are often confused with each other but there are several important differences. While back pain can be dull, aching and continuous or intermittent and sudden, kidney pain usually occurs in waves or cycles and is accompanied with other symptoms like chills, fever and pain while urination. At times, back pain and kidney pain can be similar in symptoms but their causes and indications are very different.
What Dissolves Kidney Stones Fast
Your doctor can determine whether a juice may cause side effects for you or your baby.Water. When passing a stone, upping your water intake can help speed up the process. Lemon juice. Basil juice. Apple cider vinegar. Celery juice. Pomegranate juice. Kidney bean broth. Dandelion root juice.More items
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Evaluation And Treatment Of Flank Pain
After noting symptoms, the doctor examines the person and usually does a urinalysis to check for red blood cells or excess white blood cells. White blood cells in the urine suggest an infection. If an infection is suspected, a urine culture is usually done. A person with very severe, cramping pain and blood in the urine is very likely to have a kidney stone. A person with milder, steady pain, tenderness when the doctor taps over one kidney, fever, and excess white blood cells in the urine is likely to have a kidney infection.
If a kidney stone is suspected, the doctor often does computed tomography or ultrasonography to determine whether a stone is the cause, the size and location of the stone, and whether it significantly blocks urine flow. An intravenous contrast agent is not used for the CT scan. If the doctor is not sure of the cause of pain, often CT that uses an intravenous contrast agent or another imaging test is done.
The underlying disorder is treated. Mild pain can be relieved by taking acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Pain from kidney stones may be severe and may require use of intravenous or oral opioids.
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Are There Tests To Diagnose The Cause Of Kidney Pain
If you experience kidney pain, your healthcare provider typically will order lab tests to check for abnormalities in your blood or urine. Imaging tests will also be used to visualize the kidneys indirectly.
Other specialist procedures may directly visualize the kidneys or obtain tissue samples via a biopsy if cancer is suspected.
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What Does It Feel Like When Your Kidneys Hurt
People often mistake kidney pain for back pain. But there are some key differences between kidney pain and how it feels compared to back pain.
Kidney pain vs back pain
Back pain usually affects the middle of your back, over your spine, and most commonly in the lower back. Spine-related issues can also cause back pain to sometimes radiate down your legs.
In comparison, kidney pain is typically located higher on your back and it often feels deeper. Most of the time, kidney pain symptoms occur under your ribs, to the right or left of your spine. Kidney pain may also radiate to other areas, such as your abdomen or groin. Sometimes, hip pain is confused with kidney pain, but hip pain is lower down in your back than kidney pain.
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 , and 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 .
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Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
A person with kidney stones experiences sudden and painful flank pain. The pain usually comes in waves and radiates to the groin. The pain continues until the stone leaves the body. If the stone is small enough, it will leave when a person urinates. Larger stones require surgical removal. Other symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Pain when Urinating
If experiencing potential kidney stones, a trip to the doctor to ensure the stones can pass through the urinary tract is necessary.
Visit The Spine & Rehab Group For Spinal Pain
If youre experiencing severe symptoms of back pain, its best to consult with a doctor immediately.
With over 15 years of experience, our doctors at the Spine & Rehab Group can help diagnose and alleviate your spinal pain with non-surgical but effective treatment plans. For a healthy spine, book an appointment online with any of our NY and NJ locations today.
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Where Does Your Back Hurt With A Uti
A back pain you cant ignore An upper UTI can cause intense back pain as the infection reaches the kidneys. People will get pain in the lower back and groin area. Back pain comes with two other symptoms: high fever and vomiting. Upper infections happen when a lower UTI goes unchecked or does not respond to antibiotics.
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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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
See your doctor if you have persistent pain in the kidney area, or if you have back pain along with any of the following symptoms:
- Fever or chills.
- Nausea or vomiting such that you cannot eat or drink.
- Oddly colored pee.
- A repeated urgent need to pee that is unusual for you.
- The appearance of solid material in your pee.
- A general feeling of illness or lethargy that wont go away.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Kidney pain may be mild or severe. Sometimes its harmless, but in most cases, it means that you have a problem somewhere in your urinary system. If you develop back pain along with fever, vomiting, pain when you pee or other worrisome symptoms, see a healthcare provider right away. They can find out whats causing your kidney pain and figure out how to treat the problem.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/31/2022.