Kidneys are any of the two bean-shaped organs situated just below the rib cages. As you must know, these are excretory organs that filter wastes from the blood and release them from the body. A pain in the kidney region typically arises when there is some ailment or interference in normal activity in the region.
Location of kidney pain
A lot of people have no idea where kidney pain is felt. They mistake pains in the back or stomach as pain in kidney area. There is also a misconception about the location of the kidneys. Many people believe the kidneys to be located somewhere in their lower abdomen region. Actually, it is placed just below the diaphragm on each side of the body. So where do you feel kidney pain? If you are feeling a pain in the flanks, in the lower back portion under the rib cages, you may be suffering from kidney pain. It is important for you to pinpoint the location of your pain. You may just be mistaking the pain from a ligament sprain or a muscle pull injury as pain in kidney.
Picture 1: Image showing location of kidney inside human body.
Kidney Pain Symptoms
Watch out if you are suffering from any of the following symptoms:
- A piercing pain in the upper back region.
- Urinary problems like abnormal colour of urine or blood in urine.
- Feelings of nausea and vomiting.
- Noticeable swelling in hands, feet or face.
- Frequent urination or painful urination.
- Fever, loss of appetite and drastic weight loss.
- Pain the back, side or groin region.
- Excessively bad smelling urine.
- Painful menstruation.
- Joint pain
- High blood pressure.
- Abnormalities in nail.
Are you having any of these symptoms? You may be suffering from a pain in the kidney region. The last two symptoms may appear if you are suffering from a kidney infection.
Picture 2: Pain in kidney is often misunderstood with lower back pain.
Causes of Kidney Pain
What causes kidney pain? If you are having a shooting pain in your kidney, you may be suffering from health conditions like:
- Kidney stones – Sometimes, an imbalance of minerals and fluids lead the urine to be solidified into crystals. These are known as kidney stones. These block the urinary duct and stop the flow of urine. When the urine finds it hard to get an outlet, it causes pain in kidney.
- Arteriosclerosis – This condition happens when fats are accumulated in the artery walls. It blocks the blood flow and the arteries get hardened. Hardening of arteries may cut off blood supply to the kidney region and cause severe pain.
- Kidney infection – It is a kind of urinary infection that affects the urethra or urinary bladder and goes up to the kidneys. In this condition, the kidney tissues get swollen. If it is not treated in time, it may lead to permanent damage of the kidneys.
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) – The urinary system consists of kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. When any of these is affected, a person can develop a urinary tract infection. This may lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, feeling of chill in hands and feet, fever and abdominal pain. This health problem is especially common to women.
- Polycystic kidney – This happens when the kidneys get too enlarged. The enlargement happens gradually for some years until the person starts experiencing the pain. It is usually a hereditary disease. In case of a polycystic kidney condition, the pain is felt in the front abdomen instead of the back.
- Kidney cancer – It causes the kidney capsule or nerve to stretch, causing pain.
There are some other health conditions that are found to be the causes of kidney pain. These are:
- Kidney haemorrhage,
- Renal vein thrombosis
Kidney Pain Treatment and Home Remedies
So how do you stop kidney pain? When your pain shoots up, visiting a doctor can be the only perfect solution. However, in the long run there are some things you can do yourself to reduce or even prevent your pain. Yes, the good news is there are several home remedies and lifestyle modifications you can try to get freedom from kidney pain. These are:
- Changing your diet – Foods play a major role in maintaining the balance of body minerals. If your kidney pain is the result of stones, you should have foods high on water content. These include fruits like grapes, watermelon and cranberries. Watermelon is high in potassium, a mineral that prevents kidney stone formation. Grapes are low in sodium chloride and albumin while cranberry kills the bacteria in your body with its acids. You should also cut down on foods rich in calcium oxalate, such as cauliflower, turnips, chickpea and carrot.
- Drink a lot, but drink good – Drink a lot of water and fluids. This will make you urinate more and flush your system. Lower your tea or coffee intake to a minimum. You should also avoid carbonated drinks which are known to irritate the bladder. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. If you are already suffering from a kidney stone disease, try to drink 12 to 14 glasses of water a day.
- Eat foods rich in amino acids – Amino-acid rich foods help counteract kidney pain. Egg whites have high amino acids and protein and less phosphorus. If your kidney is hurting, it is essential that you have more egg whites.
- Herbal remedies – Artichoke, parsley, goldenrod, gravel root and oak bark are important if you are suffering from kidney stones. These hep remove stones in kidney and repair any swollen tissues in the region.
- Aromatherapy – Taking a hot bath with fragrant oils like sandalwood or eucalyptus oil, juniper or thyme can prove beneficial for your body. It will help your body relax and recover after severe pain in your kidney.
These are some Kidney Pain remedies that you can try on yourself at home.
Self-medication and your kidney
Many people have a habit of popping paracetamol tablets for prevention of Kidney Pain. While that is okay if your pain is within limits, consulting a good doctor is the best solution. If your kidney hurts too much, medication from an experienced doctor will be the ideal way to tackle the situation. In case of advanced situations, dialysis or even a surgery may be required. Do not try self-medication if you find your pain difficult to control. Trying to manage too sharp a pain without the necessary knowledge may cost you your life.
Urinary problems and kidney
Urinary problems form a major part of kidney diseases. Are you suffering from problems in passing urine along with a pain in the flanks? You are most likely to be suffering from a kidney problem in that case. Frequent urination or excessive urination is a condition that is often associated with kidney problems. Both men and women suffer from this problem, even though women suffer more. If you are passing excessive urine lately, you may be suffering from
- Urinary tract disease
- Kidney Stones
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Inflammation of the bladder
Millions of people around the world suffer from urinary problems. The key to treat urinary problems is good diagnosis and effective treatment. Neurological tests as well as urinary examinations like urinalysis, crystometry and crystoscopy can help analyse the nature of the disease. In some cases, ultrasonography is needed to have a better view of the body structure. You can even try some home remedies like abdominal exercises for improved bladder control. Of course, you need some expert advice and guidance to do that. Try and consult your doctor in this regard.
Alcohol and kidney
Alcohol is one substance that is constantly associated with kidney pain. Many people often complain of having kidney pain after drinking excessive alcohol. The reasons are simple. Take a look.
- Alcohol affects the anti-diuretic hormone thereby causing pain in the kidney area.
- Alcohol drastically increases the urinary output thereby causing dehydration.
- It is known to increase blood pressure. People with high blood pressure often suffer from kidney problems.
- Alcohol increases obesity. The excessive fat may clog your arteries and make your body develop serious kidney ailments.
So it is important that you cut down on beverages high on alcohol content. Even if you are not a victim of kidney pain, you may soon become one. As per a recent study, over 20 million Americans suffer from kidney pain. Alcohol is one of the reasons. If you are already suffering from kidney problems and taking medicines, alcohol may interfere with the drugs and complicate your health issues.
Kidney pain is a very common health condition experienced by millions of people. But control and prevention of kidney pain is possible through effective medication and a sound lifestyle. Consult your doctor or a health expert for specific treatment.
Written by Shoummojit
on October 4th, 2010. The article was last updated on September 5th, 2011