Kidney Pain – causes and what you can do about it

Kidney Pain

Kidney pain can be very intense. In this article we explore some of the causes of kidney pain and look at some things you can do to avoid it.

Kidney pain - how bad is bad?

How bad can kidney pain be? Mount Sinai Medical Center reports that when they ask incoming patients to describe the level of their pain on a scale of 1 to 10 people often say “people often say eleven or twenty or a thousand to stress their point about the extent of the pain that cycles through their body”. I have never had kidney pain at the one thousand level, but it is something I would want to avoid.

When asked to rate their kidney pain on a scale of 1 to 10 people often say "eleven" or "twenty" or a "thousand" to stress their point about the extent of the pain that cycles through their body"

Causes of kidney pain

So what causes kidney pain?  

Kidney pain is often caused by kidney stones and/or an infection of the kidney.

Kidneys are designed to handle the emission of waste products from our blood. The kidney is, in fact, a highly advanced blood filter that ejects waste from our body via urine. 

As you will be aware Urine is a fluid. Solids in the kidney and urinary tract can be problematic.

Kidney stones are made of very hard matter. As the stone forms and moves from the kidney and through the urinary tract it will likely cause pain. The pain comes from the hard stone interacting with the very sensitive kidney and/or the urinary tract. 

Another reason for kidney stone induced pain may be due to blockage. If the kidney stone blocks the flow of urine, the urine may back up in the kidney. This causes pressure in the kidney resulting in pain.

Kidney pain due to infection usually starts within a few hours of the infection beginning.

Is kidney pain serious?

Kidney stone and infection induced pain can both be serious. 

A kidney infection that is not treated will likely progress. If the kidney infection is not treated your kidney may be permanently damaged.

Kidney stones if left untreated may also damage your kidney. Untreated kidney stones may atrophy and its function severely reduced. Due to the likelihood of severe pain medical intervention is likely to happen before this point.

Symptoms associated with kidney pain

Apart from kidney pain other symptoms may be present. These symptoms may include:

    • Blood in your urine
    • A change in your urine pH
    • presence of leukocytes or nitrites in your urine
    • Physical symptoms such as fever, shivering, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination or a burning sensation when urinating

What to do about kidney pain

If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to consult your doctor or emergency room so you can obtain professional medical advice.

A home urine test can also be done. A home urine test can determine a change in urine pH, presence of blood, leukocytes or nitrites. If a urine test is positive for any of these you should visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

#makekidneysgreatagain

#makekidneysgreatagain

One of our goals with Puriapp is to promote Kidney Health. The Kidney is often a forgotten and ignored organ of our body until it shows signs of damage. Sadly, once damage appears  it is often too late to cure this and we enter long term diesease management. So with this in mind PURI wants to #makekidneysgreatagain

Now this hashtag is clearly a play on a famous political slogan. But no matter what your opinion on politics we can agree that having a healthy great body is a good thing.

The kidney acts as the filter for our blood. It removes waste products and excess water, and helps to regulate our blood pressure also.  It filters about 180 litres of blood per day. Lets put that in perspective: you have about 8 litres of blood in your body, so your blood is being filtered about 20-25 times per day! Or about once per hour. Like the heart, liver and other organs, the kidney never rests and is constantly working to keep our system in balance.

So where does this filtered waste product go? This is the next logical question. The kidney is the start of the Urinary tract, and the the waster products are evacuated from the body every time we urinate.  Waste water and particles are stored in the bladder until we pee, where it is evacuated.

And what happens when the kidney starts to fail? This is commonly called CKD or Chronic Kidney Disease. It is the destruction of the fine filters in our kidney, often due to large particles such as protein being forced through this fine mesh and causing permanent damage. Other causes can be due to hypertension, where high blood pressure causes excess pressure on the fine filters and over time will damage the kidney, or diabetic patients can suffer CKD as a late stage complication due to excess glucose being evacuated through the urinary tract.

Sufferers of CKD at the most extreme stages of the disease will have to undergo dialysis and will need a transplant to survive. In more moderate stages it is important to change diet and lifestyle to ensure the disease does not progress.

You will find more information on our website about all these issues and more, but in the mean time lets start to raise the status of this important organ and work to #makekidneysgreatagain

Why Urine test strips need to meet the modern world…

Modern Urine Strips

Urianalysis strips have been around since the 1950’s when progress in the understanding of how certain chemicals react with compounds in Urine. This knowledge was packaged in useful strips where medical professional and patients could get insight into their health through the simple process of dipping this stick in their Urine.

For the last 60 years, millions upon millions of strips have been dipped in Urine and the colored pads  on the strip compared to a colored grid on the test strip packaging. This simple procedure has informed patients and doctors about the health of their patients and has given insights into the status of Urinary Tract Infections, Kidney Function, presence of Blood in the Urinary Tract and other health issues.

These results have been recorded by the doctor or the patient in the patient’s health record, or often looked at and if OK, the result has been thrown discarded in the bin with the used test strip.

Now nearly 70 years later the technology has not radically changed. There have been improvement in production techniques and each manufacturer make claims as to why their strip is the best. However, for the average patient and consumer, using a urine test strip has remained largely unchanged and the results can be confusing with the interpretation left up to the doctor.

However, this seems to be changing.

While the reagent technology has not changed significantly the resources available to record and interpret the results has improved greatly with the introduction of mobile technologies.

We have seen various companies producing proprietary strips that will read the colors on a test strip via the mobile phone camera and will automatically record the results on the mobile phone.  The advantage of this technology is the removal of potential human error, but sometime at the cost of being more complicated than reading manually on the side of the packaging, or introducing hygiene issues where re-usable color comparison charts come in contact with the urine soaked strip.

The other disadvantage with this technology is that the mobile application is only compatible with the manufacturer’s strip, meaning that the user is locked into purchasing this strip and it can be difficult to transfer data out of their database, or if the app can be used on multiple strips, there is often bulky equipment such as a light controlled chamber, which allows the app to read another manufacturer’s strip.

What you will find with PURI is that the PURI app is compatible with any urine strip, and the database of urinalysis templates is growing every week, meaning that you will be able to use nearly any urine test strip with PURI. Users can also request that new templates be added.

The data input is intuitive and copies the dimension and colors of the manufacturer’s comparison charts, allowing users to input their data with just a few screen touches.

Users of PURI Urinalysis App will also find that they can easily share their results with their contacts within the app, or they can email the results to their doctor or carer. All of this functionality is free to download.

For users and patients looking for a bit more functionality, for less than the price of a coffee a month, users can subscribe. This enables results to be seen on a graphical interface allowing easy interpretation of results, allows users to save their favorite strips which speeds up input, and one of the best features is a timer function which tells the user when to take the test reading which radically simplifies testing and improves results.

So for those patients who want to improve their Urinalysis and take better control of their Urine testing data give PURI app a try and tell us what you think.

You can download PURI app on Google Play or the  i-tunes app store.