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Kidney Pain affects millions of people in the world. Pain in general causes severe discomfort. It makes you feel weak and deprived of energy. You can lose your confidence and ability to function well. So, it pulls you back from achieving your best. How to know if the pain is serious?
Let’s check the signs, symptoms, and causes of kidney pain. You can also get insight into the various treatment available. Eliminate the discomfort from the body. Hence, you can lead a happy life.
What Is Kidney Pain
Kidney pain may point to mild or severe issues in one or both the kidneys. It is one of the indicators that may warn you to take action. So, never ignore the pain. Kidney disease is very common among people. Surprising, isn’t it? Most people ignore the symptoms leading to fatality.
Known as the quiet disease, it is well-known for the lack of warning signs. So, it results in people overseeing the problem. You are experiencing kidney pain if you feel the following
- Pain under the ribs
- Experience pain to the right/left side of your spine
- Pain at the sides
- Groin/abdomen pain
Before you delve deep into the subject, you need to know some interesting facts. Around 10% of the population in the world is affected by kidney disease. Therefore, the chronic kidney disease is the cause of death of millions of people.
It is really Serious! Most people do not access the medical facility at the right time resulting in their death. According to the data from WHO, more than 2 million people get treated for advanced kidney diseases. So, it includes dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Function Of Kidneys
Why is kidney so important? In simple terms, it helps maintain the balance in your body. So, it regulates the potassium, salt, and acid content in the human body. It also performs the following:
- Produce Vitamin D
- Waste Removal
- Balance Fluids
- Control Blood Pressure
- Metabolizes Calcium (with hormones)
Identifying Kidney Pain
You can get confused with the back pain and kidney pain. You can locate the kidneys with ease as it is under your rib cage on the back side. So, it is easy to get confused about the pain. But, the symptoms will ease the identification.
Therefore, analyze the symptoms you have to identify the exact source of pain. You can distinguish the pain based on the following:
- The exact location
- The type of pain
- Severity of pain
So, you can identify if your back/kidney is causing the problem by checking the three criteria.
Differentiating Kidney Pain And Back Pain
The main cause of kidney pain is the presence of stone or infection. If you have stones/infection in the tubes of the kidney, you can experience severe pain.
Location Of Pain
You can feel the pain in your flank. The exact location is the area of the sides of your spine. You may feel discomfort between the hips and bottom side of the rib cage. You may also experience pain on one side or both sides of the body.
Type of pain
If you have an infection, then you may feel a dull ache. But, with the presence of kidney stones, you can experience sharp pain. So, you can differentiate the pain type with ease. The pain due to infection is constant. It does not go away without treatment.
The interesting fact about kidney stones is that the pain fluctuates. So, the pain can increase or decreases with the stone movement.
Severity Of Pain
The kidney pain can spread from the back to your lower thigh or inner thighs. You can classify the pain based on the severity. It ranges from severe to mild. So, the presence of kidney stones can cause severe pain. The infection causes only mild pain.
You cannot ease the pain with shortcuts. The pain is eradicated from the body only with correcting the issue. So, the stones must pass or cure the infection to eliminate the pain. Back pain can change with movement. But, kidney pain remains constant.
Accompanying Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
If you suspect kidney stones or infection, then you can experience the following:
- Chills and Fevers
- Dark Urine/ Cloudy Urine
- Blood in urine
- Urgency to urinate
- Pain while urinating
- The appearance of gravel (small stones) in urine
- Infection in the bladder
You may experience pain in the back frequent. It is more common than the kidney pain. So, you can experience back pain with the following problems:
You can feel the pain anywhere on your backside. The common location of pain in the lower back or the buttocks. So, the back pain occurs on any side of the buttocks.
Type of pain
The muscle pain characterized by a dull ache stays constant. But, you may feel a sharp burning sensation with nerve injury/irritation. The sharp pain can spread to the buttocks, lower leg, and your foot.
The muscle pain will affect your body on one or both sides. But, the nerves pain restricts itself to a single side. So, the nerve pain can spread to the leg.
Severity Of Pain
The duration of the pain is the factor that determines the severity. The acute pain lasts for days or weeks. The intermediate pain has a span of six weeks to three months. The chronic pain has a long duration. So, it lasts more than three months.
You need to seek medical attention as the pain can worsen with movement. You cannot sit or stand for a long time. Subsequently, you need to walk around or switch positions to feel better.
Accompanying Symptoms Of Back Pain
So, with back pain, you can experience other symptoms like:
- The painful area looking swollen
- The area of pain feeling tender
- Muscle Spasm
- Weakness or numbness in the both/one of the legs (common with nerve issue)
Seek Doctor’s Help
If you have back pain along with issues in urine/bowel movements, then it is serious. So, seek the help of the doctor immediately. The feeling of something pressing the spine may refer to a condition known as cauda equina. Ignoring the issue can lead to long-term nerve damage. Therefore, get treatment as soon as possible.
Causes Of Kidney Pain
The main cause of kidney pain is an underlying disease. The pain also called as flank pain can affect the kidney function. So, other than people born with a genetic abnormality, diseases cause the pain
You can experience pain in varying degrees depending on the problem. So, you can expect pain as:
The sharp pain (renal colic) caused by kidney stone can make you uncomfortable. You may feel severe pain when the stone tries to pass through the tube. Other causes of kidney pain are:
- Kidney Infections
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Kidney Cancer
- Kidney Stones
- A Tumor
- Blood Clots in Kidney
- End-stage renal disease
- Polycystic Kidney Disease
- Congenital Malformation (partial/complete urine flow)
- Drugs/Pesticides Harming Kidney Tissue (Advil, Ibuprofen, Mortin)
- Pregnancy Kidney Pain
- Blunt trauma or penetrating trauma causing kidney bleeding (hemorrhage)
- Kidney pain during pregnancy
So, when should you seek help? Some symptoms can act as the warning bells to take action immediately. You need to contact your doctor immediately to avoid complications. Therefore, the symptoms that act as a danger sign are:
- Protein in urine
- Blood presence in urine
- Frequent urination at night
- Painful or difficult urination
- Swelling of feet and hands
- Puffiness around the eyes
- High Blood Pressure
Seek An Medical Appointment
If you have the mentioned symptoms, then seek a professional medical appointment. The doctor can evaluate and suggest treat your condition. You need to contact your family doctor or a general physician immediately if you suspect infection or kidney stone. So, the doctor may advise for a test that may include the following:
- BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)
- Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
- Therefore, the abnormal creatinine levels or GFR> 60 (ml/min/meter2) required specialist treatment. Your doctor can refer you to a urologist to check the infection in the urinary tract.
Kidney Pain Diagnosis
Due to Infection
Your doctor may ask you to provide the urine sample. It will check for the following:
- Blood in urine
- Pus Cells
The doctors may also take your blood sample. So, the blood taken to the lab for culture detects the presence of bacteria or other organisms. The presence of bacteria will confirm the infection. The normal tests performed for detecting issues are:
- Physical examination
- Kidney Function Test (creatinine and BUN)
- Urine test
- Pregnancy Test (if applicable)
Due to Kidney Stones
The doctor will detect the kidney stones in your body by performing the following:
- Abdominal/Pelvic CT (Contrast)
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
The tests can find the cause of kidney pain. So, it helps differentiate the renal and non-renal causes of the pain. Based on the detection, you receive the treatment to eliminate the pain.
Due to Kidney Laceration
A traumatic injury to the lower back in the past may cause kidney pain. The traumatic event may vary from an auto accident, blunt trauma, to workplace injury. So, you may have lacerated kidney, causing the pain. The trauma can leave you will issue to the kidney. Hence, to confirm the issue, the doctor may perform the following tests:
- CT Scans
- Voiding Cystourethrogram (A type of X-ray taken with a bladder full or while urinating after injecting a contrast dye)
Kidney Pain Treatment
Oh God! You will remember the almighty every time you are in pain. Pain can cause severe discomfort. So, to reduce the discomfort, you can follow some home remedies to ease the pain. To reduce discomfort while you recover from a kidney infection, you might:
- Place a heating pad on the location of pain. Appling heat can ease the pain. So, focus on the abdomen, back or side to get relief.
- Take a pain-killer. If you have a fever, then take Tylenol (non-aspirin pain reliever) or Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.)
- Drink water. Staying hydrated will ease the pain. The water can flush the bacteria from the urinary tract.
- Avoid coffee, alcohol, or caffeine products till the infection gets cleared. Excess caffeine can increase the urination frequency.
Remember it is not a permanent solution. You can follow it until you see your doctor to reduce the pain.
Treatment For Kidney Infections
Once your doctor confirms the infection, you need treatment. So, the antibiotics act as the first line of treatment. The type of drugs and the duration of use depends on your condition. Therefore, the doctor takes a decision based on the severity and type of bacteria detected in the urine tests.
You can see the difference within a few days of taking antibiotics. But, you need to continue the consumption of the entire course (a week or longer). The doctor repeats the urine culture to check if the infection has cleared. So, you can confirm the eradication of bacteria from your body completely. Else, you need to take antibiotics again.
For severe kidney infections, you need to stay in the hospital. Your doctor may advise you to get full-time medical attention. So, it includes the intravenous administration of antibiotics and fluids. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor decides the duration of stay. Subsequently, you can get back to your normal life after getting the all-clear.
Recurrent Kidney Infection
Getting repeated kidney infection? Then, you need to see a kidney specialist (nephrologist) to detect the underlying medical issue. Some people may have a genetic abnormality like a misshapen urinary tract. It leads to repeated infections. Therefore, the doctor may suggest surgery to correct the structural abnormality.
The kidney pain can affect anyone, anytime in their life. Hence, it is important to follow some points to keep the issue at bay:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Prevent infections by adopting good hygiene
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Avoid over-the-counter pills
- Monitor blood sugar and pressure regularly.
Do not underestimate the severity of kidney pain. Ignoring the sign and symptoms may lead to severe complications. So, take action immediately to eliminate the pain. Seek emergency medical care in case of pain with/without blood in urine. Severe conditions like a blood clot or hemorrhage can cause such symptoms. Therefore, take necessary action.
Kidney diseases tend to attack silently. Therefore, you need to maintain caution to know the subtle symptoms. Listen to your gut. Go to a doctor immediately to reverse the issue.