Six Common Reasons the Kidneys Hurt

Most people think that when the kidneys hurt, it is because of an infection.  While this is certainly one reason, pain felt in the kidney region could actually be from a number of things.  This type of pain is commonly felt in the lower back, which can be a mild discomfort to severe, sharp pain that makes it difficult to move.  If you experience back pain, you should not automatically assume this is associated with the kidneys but it could be.

As mentioned, there are many reasons you would notice that your kidneys hurt but the most common include the six listed.

Kidney Stones – If you have kidney stones, then you would notice that your kidneys hurt, which is typically severe pain that comes in waves. Stones are actually calcium deposits that become lodged inside the ureter. The blockage stops the flow of urine, which then backs up in the kidneys, causing them to swell and produce pain. If the stones are small, they may pass through on their own but if serious or large, surgery may be the only method of eliminating them.

Infection – An infection can also make your kidneys hurt, which would likely start out mild and become more and more intense. This type of infection is known as Pyelonephritis, which involves kidney tissue that becomes infected and inflamed. As the capsule surrounding the kidney stretches and the infection worsens, you would experience sharp pain, as well as nausea, vomiting, and high-grade fever. It is important to get on antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading.

Polycystic Disease – This hereditary disease causes the kidneys to become enlarged over a period of years, making the kidneys hurt. Typically, pain associated with this kidney disease would be in the abdominal area, not in the lower back.

Urine Flow Blockage – Besides kidney stones, urine flow blockages could also be caused by other things. In this case, as the kidney capsule stretches, the kidneys would hurt although the pain would likely be more of a dull ache than stabbing intensity.

Spasms – If you have a full bladder, it would be expected that your kidneys would hurt with pain felt in the lower back or abdomen. Emptying the bladder would eliminate the spasms, usually immediately although it may take a few minutes.

Cancer – While extremely rare, when kidneys hurt it could also be a sign of kidney cancer. For this, a growing tumor would stretch the capsule surrounding the kidney as well as press on nerves. Keep in mind that cancer of the kidneys could be benign or malignant so getting medical attention is imperative.

If your kidneys hurt for more than two days, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.  At that time, tests would be run to determine the exact cause of why your kidneys hurt and depending on the medical findings, appropriate treatments would be offered.  Usually, pain associated with the kidneys is nothing major but it is important to make sure that nothing serious is going on within the body.


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