Kidney Pain

Kidney Pain – causes and what you can do about it

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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.

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