Kidney Pain

What is Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain, also known as renal pain is pain caused by an infection, injury to the kidney, inflammation or disease. Kidney pain is likely to happen in the upper back just below the ribs and can spread out into the abdomen and groin area.The feeling is usually a sharp pain and may also be a dull ache based on the diagnosis. [1, 2, 3, 6]

Kidney Pain Picture 1

The pain can be so severe that you may be unable to move and you may even be brought down to your knees from the extent of the pain.You may feel the pain when you touch your back or the pain may disappear for a while and then return. Kidney pain may be felt in the lower back if it is caused by kidney stones.


The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that drain urine to the bladder via ureters and the bladder is emptied via the urethra. Kidney pain can result from a problem in these parts, and it may be caused by the following:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an awful and annoying contamination in any area of your urinary system including kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.Women are at higher risk of having UTI compared to men.
  • Hydronephrosis is when urine that is supposed to flow through the ureters into the bladder is blocked due to some complications. This can be extremely fatal and may cause damage to the kidney.
  • Pyelonephritis is an awful and displeasing disease brought about by bacteria that moves from your bladder into both or one of the kidneys. If this isn’t treated it can cause perpetual damage to the kidney.
  • Kidney cysts are fluid-filled sacs which are almost always non-cancerous that rarely cause complications. However, kidney cysts can be associated with an inherited disorder called polycystic kidney disease that may impair kidney function.
  • Kidney stones form when there is an excess of an element in the urine that form stones or a decrease in the volume of urine. Dehydration is a bigger risk element that can cause kidney stone formation. People with gout are at higher risk of having kidney stones.
  • Other causes include bleeding in your kidney, kidney tumor, and renal vein thrombosis.


If you are experiencing the symptoms below, then it is possible you may be having kidney problems and you should go for a medical checkup. These symptoms include:

  • Flank pain
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Painful urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling sick
  • Diarrhea
  • High temperature
  • Blood in your urine
  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Weakness
  • Hypertension

Children experiencing kidney pain or infection may have symptoms such as:

  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Lack of energy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unpleasant smelling urine
  • Bedwetting
  • Jaundice
  • Blood in the urine


The pain in your kidney will be diagnosed based on your medical history, your symptoms, and other medical conditions. Your doctor will talk to you and ask you some questions as he or she examines you. Other ways that your doctor will diagnose you include:

  • A physical examination on your general health.
  • A blood test could be done to determine if your kidneys are clearing away waste from the body normally as usually performed.
  • A urine test may be done to determine if you have a urinary tract infection. This test would also help determine if the infection, in case you have it, is in your kidney or another area of your urinary system.
  • Lab tests including pregnancy, blood, and ultrasound may be ordered.
  • A computer tomography (CT) scan or MRI may be done based on how severe your symptoms are or if you have any risk of complications of a kidney infection.

Kidney Pain Picture 2


Treatment of kidney pain is administered in line with the cause of the pain and ensure to refrain from alcohol and factors that intensify your pain.

  • If you have kidney infection your doctor will administer antibiotics for a one week or two. This will help improve your symptoms and ensure to complete your dose as prescribed. For serious infections, one can be hospitalized and receive antibiotics via an IV (Intravenous) therapy.
  • Painkillers such as paracetamol are recommended to help reduce pain and high temperature.
  • A number of people can pass a kidney stone casually through the ureter which clears up kidney pain, but others may require surgery.
  • Diet restrictions may be required based on the type of kidney disorder one has. Intake of potassium-rich foods may be restricted in some stages and types of kidney disorders due to occurring high blood potassium levels.
  • Intake of salt may be restricted in the case of swelling of the legs, high blood pressure or a tendency of water building up elsewhere such as in the lungs.
  • For other persistent infections, your doctor could refer you to aUrologist, who deals with urinary tract problems.


Not every kidney pain or infection can be prevented but you are unlikely to have it if you do the following:

  • Ensure you go to the bathroom when you feel the urge.
  • Pee after having sex.
  • Do not use or spray deodorant or douches on your genitals.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid using diaphragms or condoms with spermicide, it can cause bacteria growth. Use lubricated condoms to help prevent the urethra from being irritated, which is likely to cause infection.
  • After using the bathroom always wipe from front to back.


  • Drink a lot of water to help keep you hydrated and will also help to flush out bacteria from your kidneys.
  • Ensure to get plenty of rest because a kidney infection can make you very weak not matter how strong and healthy you are.
  • To help reduce discomfort, pain or pressure during the healing process, put a heating pad on your side or back, and abdomen.
  • Use painkillers such as Tylenol or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discomfort or fever. Take as instructed by your doctor.

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