Common Symptoms of Kidney Problems
Back Pain, Flank Pain, Burning Urination

One of the most common symptoms of kidney problems is back pain. Kidney back pain is usually felt in the back or flank just below the ribs. Anything that causes swelling or inflammation of the kidney will cause pain in this area.

  

  

"nerve endings that will cause pain"

Each of your kidneys is covered and protected by a tough fibrous layer of tissue called the renal capsule. This layer of connective tissue has many nerve endings that will cause pain anytime the renal capsule is stretched or strained.

Back pain is one of the most common symptoms of kidney problems because anything that causes swelling will cause pain. Other symptoms can develop slowly as the function of your kidneys begins to deteriorate.

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Other common symptoms of kidney problems include:

  *Burning or difficulty during urination

  *Increased frequency of urination

  *Passage of blood in the urine

  *Puffiness around the eyes, or

  *Swelling in the hands and feet

  *High blood pressure

"if you are having any of these symptoms"

The most common kidney problems will cause some combination of these symptoms at some point.

Some of these conditions will cause only minor symptoms or no symptoms at all until the kidneys are damaged. Your doctor can evaluate your kidneys with a few simple tests during a routine medical checkup.

So if you are having any of these symptoms do not wait to tell your doctor.

The Most Common Symptoms of Kidney Problems

Kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, can occur when bacteria colonize or infect the kidney. This most commonly occurs when a bladder or urinary tract infection goes untreated. The same bacteria that infect the bladder can travel up the urethra to infect the kidney. Your doctor will want a urinalysis to check for bacteria and then start you on an appropriate antibiotic.


Kidney stones may develop when there are excessive amounts of certain minerals in your urine. These minerals crystallize to form stones that may be very small or very large. Small stones can be very painful as they pass through the urinary tract. The pain of the kidney stone will usually start in your back and then slowly migrate to your flank, around onto your abdomen, and down into your groin as the stone gradually moves through your urinary tract. Larger stones will require treatment by your doctor


Diabetic kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy, can occur when your blood sugar is not well controlled. After years of hyperglycemia the kidneys become permanently damaged. This is the leading cause of kidney failure in the United States. 1/3 of juvenile diabetics will develop diabetic nephropathy after 20 years. Type two diabetics can also develop this disease. Back pain is not a common symptom of diabetic kidney disease.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, may damage the kidneys leading to chronic kidney failure. The fragile filtering units, called glomeruli are easily damaged when the blood is forced through them at excessive pressures. If the kidneys become swollen or inflamed you may have back pain but in many cases there are no symptoms until your kidneys have been irreversibly damaged.


Glomerulonephritis is a disease that damages the glomeruli that are the kidneys filtering units. This disease may be inherited or caused by infection and will cause your kidneys to eventually lose their function. If there is any inflammation or swelling you will have back pain. Other possible symptoms from decreased kidney function include dark urine (hematuria or blood in your urine), foamy urine(proteinuria or protein in your urine), high blood pressure, swelling in your hands or feet, fatigue, or decreased urination.


Polycystic kidney disease occurs when your kidney develops cysts within the kidney. This can occur in children or adults and symptoms will include back or flank pain, hypertension, or blood in the urine. Polycystic kidney disease eventually overwhelms the kidney making it unable to function.

Analgesic nephropathy can develop when taking large amounts of over the counter pain medications such as aspirin and acetaminophen and ibuprofen cause damage to your kidneys.

All of these different medications are passed through your kidneys and taking excessive amounts on a regular basis for long periods of time can damage your kidneys. You should never take these medications regularly without discussing it with your doctor.

Thousands of Americans have damaged or destroyed your kidneys by using excessive amounts of these pain medications.


Interstitial nephritis and is inflammation of the tubules, glomeruli, and other tissues of the kidney. This may be from allergies or a side effect of certain medications. Penicillin, ampicillin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often associated with interstitial nephritis. This will cause back pain and a reduction in kidney function and urine output.

"Some symptoms of kidney problems can be treated effectively..."

If you are having any symptoms of kidney problems, or think you may have any of these conditions you need to see your doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and do a physical examination to evaluate your symptoms. He may order imaging studies such as xrays or CT scans to check for kidney stones and check the size of your kidney. He may also order blood tests and urine tests to check for infection and evaluate how well your kidney is functioning.

Some symptoms of kidney problems can be treated effectively; other conditions may gradually progress to kidney failure. In many cases your doctor may recommend a special diet or medication to halt or slow the progression of your disease.

"your best opportunity for effective treatment"

If your kidneys begin to fail you can be started on dialysis, where a machine will take over the job of the kidney, or a kidney transplant may be a possibility.

In any case, ignoring your symptoms of kidney problems is never a good idea. Early diagnosis provides your best opportunity for effective treatment.


  

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