Kidneys are considered to be one of the most vital organs in our body that is responsible for blood purification and removing toxins from our body through urine. Any change in this system or the functioning of the kidneys may cause kidney pain and discomfort. The most common area affected during this pain is the pelvic and the lumber region. Most cases of kidney pain causes urinary problems like slight bleeding during urination, burning sensation during urinating, inability to pass urine and more.
Where is kidney located?
Kidney is located under the diaphragm on both sides of the spine and above the gluteal area. It’s basically a bean shaped structure and weight approx 150g in males and 135 g in females. It is 3 cm thick and 6cm wide. Most people find it difficult to believe that their kidney is located approximately on the higher back, just under the lower ribs.
Kidney Infection: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Kidney Infection
Kidney pain can result from various reasons. Understanding the main symptoms and causes is the key to protect and relieve kidney pain. Typically, Kidney pain occurs due to an injury, inflammation, infection or enlargement. The pain resulting from infection generally happens around the lower abdomen, lower back or the flank area, just below your ribs and can extend right till your testicles. Most people mistake the pain from arthritis, spinal problems and muscle strain to be kidney pain. However, infection and kidney stones are the major reason for kidney pain.
Infection in the kidney is usually followed by various other signs like a burning sensation while urinating, a urinary tract infection, blood traces while urinating, uncontrollable bladder, nausea and fever.
If you have kidney stones, the pain comes and goes, but conditions like uterus enlargement kidney cancer and polycystic kidney diseases usually develop without any pain at all. In such cases, any bleeding from the kidney can be easily detected as it is related to trauma.
What Are The Main Causes Of Kidney Pain?
Kidney pain usually develops due to an injury or infection and the most common causes are:
- Renal Trauma
- Polycystic disease
- Horseshoe kidney
- Kidney cancer
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney infection
- Blood clot in the kidney veins
- Kidney swelling due to held up urine
- Kidney stones/ renal colic
Kidney stones is one of the most common reasons for kidney pain as these are crystals or stones that block the flow of urine resulting in acute pain in the tract as well as the kidneys. However, it’s not necessary to experience pain under all circumstances, since kidney diseases develop without any pain.
What Symptoms Can I Expect?
One of the most common symptoms of kidney disorder is uncontrollable pain in the lower back, lower abdomen, and flank region. This is usually a one-sided pain. Typically kidney pain is followed with various other symptoms that help one to clearly detect an infection or kidney disorder.
Here Are Some Classic Symptoms Of Kidney Pain:
- Increase in Blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss
- Chest pain
- Low red blood cells
- Dull Lower back pain
- Swelling on feet and legs
- Decrease in urinating
Where Do I Experience Pain?
Kidney stones – The exact location and type of pain related to kidney disorder depends on the type of problem. For instance, pain occurring from kidney stones will be felt along the lower abdomen, flank area and the groin. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, the pain can last for as long as 30- 60 minutes. These are calcium deposits that piles up in the ureter, the tube that links the ureter to the bladder. They block the flow of urine and it is the pressure of the held up urine that causes pain. The pain is generally periodic and not a steady continuous pain.
Once the problem is detected, a tube is inserted in the urinary tract for allowing urine to pass. This lessens down the pain to a great extent.
Pyelonephritis – This pain typically comes along with fever, pain during urinating, high palpitation, fever, pain in the abdomen and back, pain in ankle. This infection is caused when the bacteria travels up the urinary tract into the bladder and then infects the kidney.
Renal Colic – this pain is usually felt in the flank region as it is caused due to kidney stones and is difficult to be left undiagnosed. Although, the pain may last for only a couple of hours or a dull pain throughout the day, patients know it very well as they experience pain during urinating.
Polycystic disease – this is a hereditary disease which leads to enlargement of the kidneys over a period of time. If this condition is allowed to develop with proper treatment, it leads to kidney failure. This can cause a dull pain in the lower abdomen.
Kidney Cancer – two most common kidney cancers are – UCC (urothelial cell carcinoma) and RCC (renal cell carcinoma) among the other types that occur. Kidney cancers are usually rare, accounting to just 2% of all the other types of cancer. When the cancer grows it presses or puts pressure on the surrounding nerves and organs, causing pain.
So how do you know if your pain is a real kidney pain?
Well, there is no sure shot way to know this, but there are probable symptoms associated with it that help you to be sure on your pain.
Here are some symptoms that you may see associated with your pain:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bad smelling urine
- Increased blood pressure
- Blood traces while urinating
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Swelling on hands, face and feet
- Incapability to pass urine
Apart from this, if you experience a dull one sided pain in the upper back of your spine accompanied with urinary symptoms and fever – this can be a real kidney pain. A kidney infection is the major cause for such pains.
Are Kidney Stones The Cause Of Kidney Infection?
Kidney stones do cause pain but should not be misunderstood for kidney infection. Kidney stones are generally painless as long as they remain inside the kidney. It is only when they move out of the kidney and travel through the urinary tract that it becomes painful. This is what doctors call ureteral colic.
When should I see a doctor?
Although, kidney pain cannot be completely diagnosed at home, there are few symptoms to immediately see your doctor.
You should call for an immediate appointment when you have:
- Persistent, mild one side pain on your back or flank
- Any sudden fever, lethargy or body aches
- Any previous history of urinary tract infection.
It is usually a blood clot in your kidney that causes the sudden pain in your lower abdomen and there are probabilities of blood traces in your urine. Although, this is uncommon, any alteration in the regular functioning of your kidney should be considered as an emergency.
Tests and Examinations (diagnosis):
Once you see the doctor, they will perform a physical examination of your lower abdomen or your back.
Here are tests that are generally prescribed:
- Blood test – this is to check the uric acid, calcium, electrolyte level and the phosphorus in the blood.
- Kidney function test – various integral kidney function tests are performed.
- Urinalysis – this test is done to observe red blood cells in the urine as well as any crystals.
- Kidney Stone Examinations.
If you have kidney stones, it can be diagnosed through these tests.
- x-rays of the abdominal
- kidney MRI
- Retrograde pyelogram
- CT scan
How To Find Relief From Pain?
Pyelonephritis is one of the major causes of kidney pain. Although, you may find numerous over the counter medicines, here are some precautionary steps to avoid kidney pain:
- Increasing intake of water
- Stop holding back urine or bladder urges
- Urinating at regular intervals
- Practicing hygienic sex
- Good exercise that can give your body increased activity
- Reduction of salt intake
- Intake of water content fruits and vegetables
- Switching to a much healthier diet
- Stopping food that is hard to digest
- Curb junk food
- Refraining from alcohol
- Stop smoking
Medical Treatments For Kidney Pain Are:
- Prescribed medicines and drugs
- Surgery if the stone cannot be removed by medicines
- Diuretics to get rid of small stones
- Lithotripsy is another medical way to remove stones
The type of kidney pain experienced will totally depend on the cause and your condition. Dull, aching pains are symptoms of kidney cancer or kidney disease, while sharp pain is usually the symptom of kidney stones or infection.
Kidney infection cannot be taken lightly, as improper care can lead to severe damages. The moment one experiences any sort of pain or above mentioned symptoms, it is vital to call the doctor for a checkup.
Although, there is no sure shot way on diagnosing kidney infection at home, associated symptoms are the best way to know that you might be having a kidney pain.
The appropriate treatment for kidney pain can only be ascertained after being sure on the cause.
Home Remedies for Kidney Pain
If there are no serious problems or abnormality in your kidney functioning, simple home remedies for kidney stones are prescribed to improve your condition.
Here are some home remedies for kidney pain:
Diet – the first and foremost thing to be changed is your diet. Increase in water consumption is always recommended and decrease in any food that lead to production of kidney stones. Foods that may lead to kidney stones are – cauliflower, chick pea, turnip and carrots. These foods develop calcium oxalate crystals.
Avoid dehydration – beside the high increase of fluid in your diet, proper attention should be given to consume vegetables, fresh fruits that have high water content. This includes watermelon, cucumber, salads, lettuces, grape fruits and grapes.
Amino Acids – Foods that have right amino Acids like egg whites rejuvenate renal tissues and relieve pain to a great extent. You could also resort to amino acid supplements if you wish.
Curb Alcohol – Persistent and long term alcohol consumption can alter your metabolic system as well as your kidney functioning. If you have kidney problems, its best to stay away from alcohol as it increases your urinary output which puts pressure on anti-diuretic hormone. Alcohol is also responsible for weight gain, diabetes, cholesterol levels and effects the liver functioning. It also causes hypertension, which again destroys or effects the renal functioning.
Herbal remedies – Consuming herbal tea and herbal supplements will help you to get rid of harmful toxins in the body. Herbs like parsley, gravel root and oak bark are good to reduce and curb kidney disorders.
Massage – flank massage helps increase the blood flow in the area and gives you a soothing feeling. Keeping a warm bottle on the affected area increases rejuvenating of renal tissues and gets rid of any discomforting problems.
Aromatherapy – A good aromatherapy with natural herbs like eucalyptus oil, sandalwood, juniper, thyme helps soothe the pain and reduce any chronic kidney disorder.
Anti-oxidant foods – Consuming food that have high water content and anti-oxidant feature to remove free radicals from your body is a great idea. Foods like cranberries, watermelon, grapes and more have anti-oxidant feature that help in reducing any kidney related pain.
There are numerous medical and surgical ways to help treat a kidney pain. A few among them are:
- Over the counter pain killers
- Antibiotics to treat bacterial infection
- Shock wave lithotripsy
Kidney is one of the most active organs in our body and requires immediate attention in case of any problems noted. Although, there are various medical treatments available for kidney pain, it is always best to prevent any issues by following home remedies.