What does it feel like when your kidneys hurt?

Pretty sure everyone had an experience of falling from riding a bicycle or tripping over some object and obviously cost some kind of wounds. When the skin or limbs get damaged due to some accidents, visibly we can see the sign of scratches, bleeding or swelling and yes, we feel the pain. However, how can someone see or know the exact feeling when the kidney hurts? This is why health screening is important to detect any kidney problems early on and to get the right medical care.

Kidney is probably an organ we do not see much importance in but once it is impaired or problematic, it does cause a multitude of health problems. You will be surprised by how small a kidney is because it is just about the size of a fist yet plays a lot of roles in the body. Although one kidney is enough to have a healthy body, having two kidneys each on the side of the spine is certainly a true blessing of mother nature. Kidney functions to filter and excrete all the body waste and toxins through urination. It also plays an important role in maintaining blood pressure, a healthy bone and to help the body to produce red blood cells. Kidneys can get hurt by so many causes such as infections, inflammations, obstruction along the urinary system starting from the kidney to the bladder and direct trauma to the kidney.

Kidney problems can occur in one or both sides of the kidney. When a kidney is hurt, one of the symptoms typically complaints is pain sensation mainly in the kidney area. Pain ranges from mild dull aches to a sharp severe pain sensation and it does not usually indicate that the worst the pain is, the more the kidney is hurt. Sometimes a person with a failed kidney may not even feel any pain to the kidney area (no flank pain). Flank pain may come in waves or in a constant pattern. This pain may travel or radiate to the genital area or to the abdomen. Back pain can also be experienced.

Beside flank pain indicating the kidney is hurt, it can be accompanied with other symptoms. Such symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, presence of blood in the urine, cloudy urine, foamy urine and painful or difficulty in urination. At times, changes of skin such as cool, sweating, dry, itchy or rash can be associated with kidney problems. Sometimes, patients might even complain of constipation or diarrhoea. Although flank pain is a symptom assumed as a presentation for diseases involving the urinary system, acknowledging other non-specific symptoms such as above can help physicians to pinpoint the exact kidney disease and provide the appropriate treatment.


Example of most common kidney diseases:

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Acute kidney injury (AKI)
  • Nephrolithiasis- kidney stones
  • Acute pyelonephritis- infection to the kidney
  • Kidney cancer or tumour
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)- a genetic disease where the normal kidney tissue is replaced by cysts
  • Lupus nephritis- an autoimmune disease causing the body’s immune system attacking the body’s own cells, commonly among (systemic lupus erythematosus) SLE patients
  • Kidney trauma


Taking care of your kidney is the best way to avoid kidney problems. There are things you can do to have healthy kidneys:

  • Eat a healthy well-balanced diet
  • Practice active lifestyle by doing exercises
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plain water
  • Always check and control the blood pressure and blood sugar
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Be aware of medicine you are taking especially over-the-counter (OTC) by taking the right amount and for the right health concerns










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