Kidney Pain

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Kidney Pain Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain is caused by infection, inflammation, injury or enlargement of the kidney.

Kidney pain can be caused by conditions that block the flow of urine out of the kidney. Pyelonephritis (kidney infection) and kidney stones are the most common causes of kidney pain.

Pyelonephritis is often accompanied by other symptoms of urinary tract infection, such as burning with urination.

Frequent or urgent need to urinate, bloody urine, fever, and Kidney Stones may also cause bloody urine, fever, and nausea with or without vomiting; however, the pain tends to come and go in waves.

The kidneys are paired organs located toward the back of your body.

They are partially protected by your lower ribs.

Your left kidney is slightly higher than your right.

Kidney Pain Symptoms

Cloudy urine.

Foul-smelling urine.

Frequent urination.

Urination at night. (nocturia)

Abnormal heart rhythms. (arrhythmias)


Fever with or without chills.

General ill feeling.

Painful menstrual periods.

Recent infection.

Unintended weight loss.

Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness.

High fever. (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)

Not producing any urine.

Rapid breathing. (tachypnea)

Rapid heart rate (tachycardia) or abnormal heart rhythm.

Kidney pain is sometimes felt alongside dysuria (pain when urinating).

Some people with kidney pain develop a fever, this is often due to infection.

Loss of appetite is common alongside kidney pain in the case of a urinary tract infection.

A possible complication of a kidney infection is an abscess in the kidney, this usually results in severe pain in the flanks and abdomen, possibly radiating to the groin.

Some people with kidney pain may pass small amounts of blood in their urine, this is often a sign of infection or trauma to the kidney.

In very rare circumstances, bacteria from a kidney infection can travel to the blood and cause septicaemia which can be life threatening.

Painful urination is often an associated symptom of kidney pain.

Kidney Pain Causes

There can be many different causes of kidney pain.

In infection in the kidney itself is rare, but can cause significant kidney pain.

Kidney stones are a common cause of kidney pain.

Diabetes can cause damage to kidney tissue which may cause pain in the kidneys.

Congenital defects in the kidney can cause chronic kidney pain.

Chronic kidney disease causes chronic kidney pain.

Vesico-uretic reflux is a common cause of kidney pain in children, this is a deformity of the kidney that causes urine to back flow into the kidney.

Trauma to the kidney such as after a fall can cause pain for several weeks due to swelling and bruising.

A condition called ‘thin membrane disease’ can cause pain in the kidneys and blood in the urine.

Some women who take an oral contraceptive pill may experience kidney pain.

A condition called ‘polycystic kidney’ causes multiple cysts to form in the kidney and can lead to enlargement of one or both kidneys.

A condition called ‘hydronephrosis’ can cause kidney pain.

Having a diet high in salt can cause problems with the kidneys, including kidney stones.

Very rarely, a blood clot can form in the kidney, this will cause similar symptoms as a kidney stone causes.

Dehydration can cause kidney stones due to a lack of fluid in the kidneys.

A rare condition called ‘horseshoe kidney’ can cause serious pain.

Large amounts of caffeine can make kidney pain worse and should be avoided as much as possible.

High cholesterol can cause kidney pain because it affects the small blood vessels in the kidney.

A drug called brinzolamide which is used to treat glaucoma can cause kidney pain as a side effect.

Types of Kidney Pain

Pain coming from the kidneys is usually felt in the lower back, below the rib cage.

Kidney pain sometimes radiates into the groin.

Sometimes kidney pain is also felt in the lower abdomen.

Pain from the kidneys can be felt on one or both sides of the body depending if just one or both kidneys is affected.

Kidney pain can either be acute, meaning it has a sudden onset and lasts only a short time, or chronic, meaning it’s an ongoing issue lasting several weeks or months.

People with kidney disease usually experience a dull achy pain.

People with kidney stones tend to experience a sharp pain with a sudden onset.

Kidney Pain Diagnosis

Full blood Count will determine the number of bloods cells particularly white blood cells. If their count is high, it may show the presence of infection. Also, this test determines the amount of haemoglobin in blood.

Blood cultures and Urine Culture Test determine the causative agent behind infection in case there is a suspicion of renal or urinary tract infection.

Urinalysis is also must as it can tell various important clues helpful for detecting the main etiological agent.

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is the X-ray specially designed for kidney and urinary tract. It is used to detect the size, position and shape of the kidney, urinary tract and ureters. It can also help to locate the stone.

Abdominal X-ray (KUB) gives a portrait of the kidneys, the urinary bladder, and the ureters. Stones can also be detected via it.

Other tests that help to detect the pain in the kidney include CT scan and ultrasound of the kidneys.

Kidney Pain Treatment

Kidney pain can often be relieved by over the counter pain killers.

A person with reduced kidney function should only take painkillers prescribed or advised by a doctor as some painkillers can have serious side effects in people with limited kidney function.

Reducing salt consumption may help relieve kidney pain.

Treatment of kidney pain will usually focus on treating the cause rather than the pain itself.

Although non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications may help with kidney pain, they should not be taken long term as they may damage the kidneys.

People with kidney disease should not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

If you have kidney pain you should not take over the counter pain medication for more than ten consecutive days.

People with kidney stones will be advised to alter their diet to reduce the amount of calcium oxalate in the diet as this is known to cause kidney stones.

Large kidney stones may need to be removed surgically.

Mild kidney pain can be relieved by placing a hot water bottle over the painful area for a time.

Many people with kidney pain find that the pain is very difficult to control, even with painkillers.

People with kidney pain are usually advised to stop smoking as this can make the pain worse.

Some people with kidney pain find that treatments such as aromatherapy can help relieve their pain.

If the kidneys are failing then a patent may have to go for regular dialysis where a machine does the work of the kidneys by removing toxins from the blood.

There are many homeopathic remedies for kidney pain, dependant on cause.

Avoiding dehydration is one of the best things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy.

Kidney Pain Prevention

Reduce the amount of salt to just four to six grams per day.

Reduce the amount of protein in the daily diet.

Reduce the intake of potassium.

Restricting phosphorus.

Limiting fluid intake to only necessary amounts.

Regular exercise.

Limiting or not taking medications that can damage the kidneys, like NSAIDs.

Avoiding alcohol.

Do not smoke.

These lifestyle changes can help a person extend the life of their kidneys.

Kidney Pain Statistics & Facts

The name for pain caused by kidney stones is called renal colic.

Women are six times more likely than men to suffer from a kidney infection.

Vesico-uretic reflux is very common in children but is very rare in adults as it usually resolves in adolescence.

Many people with kidney pain mistake it for back pain since this is where the pain is felt.

Infections in the urinary system can cause confusion as well as pain.

Small kidney stones usually pass into the bladder and are excreted with urine.

Although painful, passing a kidney stone is not usually harmful.

Problems with the kidneys are a rare side effect of strep throat.

Most people make a full recovery from a kidney infection after treatment.

Polycystic kidney is usually a hereditary condition inherited from your parents.

Hydronephrosis is where urine backs up into the kidney and causes enlargement of the kidney.

Hydronephrosis is sometimes referred to as ‘back pressure’.

Glomerulonephritis is a term used for diseases that affect the blood vessels in the kidneys.

Around one in five people will have kidney stones at some point in their lives.

Kidney stones are most common between the ages of 20 and 50.

Sometimes pain coming from the kidney is misdiagnosed as digestive pain.

A common misdiagnosis for kidney pain is irritable bowel syndrome.

The medical term for blood in the urine is haematuria.

People who have had kidney stones in the past should avoid calcium supplements unless expressly recommended by a doctor.

Kidney stones are more common in men than in women.

You are more likely to suffer from kidney stones if you also suffer from gout.

You are twice as likely to have a kidney stone if you have suffered from them previously

Horseshoe kidney is a congenital defect and is always present at birth.

The kidney is one of the most active organs in the human body, they are constantly removing toxins from the blood stream.

If your kidneys stopped working for just two days it would be fatal.

Acidosis is where the kidneys fail to remove enough acid from the bloodstream, this is a very serious condition.

Diabetic nephrology is reasonably common with around 40% of diabetics suffering from some form of kidney damage.

If kidney pain is persistent, the doctor may order blood tests to check kidney function.

Doctors may use an ultrasound to determine the cause of kidney pain.

A CT scan can be used to give doctors a clear picture of the kidneys and determine the cause of pain.

In more complex cases, an MRI scan may be ordered to show a three dimensional image of the kidneys and other organs in order to help diagnose the cause of the pain.

An x-ray can be used to diagnose a kidney stone.

If x-rays and scans cannot determine the cause of the kidney pain, a cystoscopy may be used.

A cystoscopy involves inserting a tube into the bladder through the urethra. A camera can be inserted down the tube to enable doctors to see inside the urinary tract, samples of tissue can also be obtained for testing.

If a urinary tract infection is suspected a simple urine dip stick test will be performed in the doctor’s office to confirm diagnosis.

If a dipstick test confirms a urinary tract infection then the doctor will send a urine sample away to a lab to check antibiotic sensitivity.

Kidney Pain Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain, also called renal pain, refers to pain arising from infection, injury or inflammation of a kidney.

You may feel kidney pain as a dull, one-sided ache in your upper back, often accompanied by fever and urinary symptoms.

Your kidneys are located relatively high in your body, under your lower ribs. It's not unusual to attribute back pain or side (flank) pain to your kidneys.

Pain from the kidneys tends to occur in the flanks or in the lower back just under the ribs although it can extend into the groin and testicles.

Pain from muscle strain, arthritis, and some spinal conditions can easily be mistaken for kidney pain..

Kidney Pain Symptoms

Urgent or frequent need to urinate.

Difficult or painful urination, or burning with urination. (dysuria)

Bloody or pink-colored urine. (hematuria)

Severe kidney pain is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

If the kidneys are not functioning correctly you may experience swelling in the legs and feet due to water retention.

Kidney Pain Causes

A urinary tract infection is a common cause of pain in the kidneys.

High blood pressure can cause kidney pain because the blood vessels in the kidneys are so small.

Exposure to certain pesticides can cause damage to the kidneys and may cause pain.

The anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen can cause damage to the kidneys if taken long term and in high doses. This may cause kidney pain.

Drinking too much alcohol may cause flank pain which sometimes comes from the kidneys, although it is more likely that the source of this pain is in fact the liver.

Kidney Pain Treatment

If a kidney infection is diagnosed as the cause of your pain you will need a course of antibiotics.

If you suffer from kidney pain one of the best things you can do is to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep the kidneys flushed.

Prescription pain medications or anti-inflammatories may be given if pain is severe.

If kidney stones are the cause of the pain a doctor may prescribe a diuretic to increase urine production and help the stone pass through.

If left untreated, a kidney infection can do permanent damage to one or both kidneys.

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