10 Possible Causes of Kidney Pain

The kidneys are a vital part of the body’s filtration system. They are responsible for filtering away the blood, salt, water, and waste in the body. When they don’t work properly, pain can develop that can precede long-term damage to the kidneys and other organs if not treated promptly. It can even lead to permanent kidney failure. Anyone experiencing internal pain that does not pass in a day or two should speak to a doctor. Many issues could be to blame for kidney pain.

Kidney Blockages

One of the most obvious and usually the first go-to problems of a blockage is kidney stones. Kidney stones are hard deposit that is made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. Other causes of blockages can be scars from infections, congenital disabilities that kink in one or both of the ureters, or plaques of cholesterol blocking your kidney’s blood vessels.

Kidney Failure

Allergic reactions to medications such as antibiotics like penicillin and vancomycin cause nephritis and kidney damage. Nephritis is inflammation of the kidneys. Inflammation of the kidneys can be deadly. Something as simple as a sore throat, strep throat or an infection can cause your kidneys to go into full failure. Inflammation of the kidneys can be passed down in families. Another cause of kidney failure is the use of recreational drugs use. Finally, one source that many many never question is the use of dyes in x-ray tests. If you already have damage to your kidneys the dye in the imaging could pose a tremendous threat to your kidneys.

Urinary Tract Infection

The most common cause of kidney pain and subsequently a kidney infection is a urinary tract infection (UTI). You can get a urinary tract infection when E.coli or another bacteria is introduced to the urinary tract system either through eating, drinking or personal hygiene. The kidneys are compromised when the UTI travels further up the urinary system and enters the ureters and kidneys. You can experience symptoms such as pain that is deeper and higher in the back, fever, tenderness in the back, shaking, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, cloudy urine or urine odor. If you have these symptoms or this diagnosis, the best measure to get it out of your system as quickly as possible is to drink plenty of water, take vitamin C, use heat to help with the pain, keep emptying your bladder, and change your diet.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease is a cyst that forms on the kidneys that is a fluid-filled bubble and replaces healthy kidney tissue. Individuals will most often experience pain on the back side and in the abdomen. The pain can come on severely and suddenly or as a dull ache. Individuals who have polycystic kidney disease should take their diet seriously. Some information to follow is to avoid processed foods and sugary drinks, moderate your intake of fats, moderate your proteins, minimize your carbs, especially bread and pasta, and maintain a diet high in fiber. One recommended diet is the DASH DIET. Failure to eat right can make your kidney works harder.

Renal Vein Thrombosis (Blood Clots)

Renal vein thrombosis or blood clots in the kidneys are formations of clots that prevent or limit the blood from properly draining. This leads to a reduction of drainage from one or possibly both of the kidneys. If left untreated the clot can travel to other organs within the body. Some causes of blood clots are dehydration in adults, nephrotic syndrome, hypoalbuminemia, hypercholesterolemia, edema, cancer, renal transplants, and blunt trauma. Nephrotic syndrome is a loss of protein in the urine. It typically strikes individuals aged 40-60 and is twice as like to hit males as it women. The treatment of the blood clots is a blood thinner or what is otherwise called anticoagulants.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is known as CKD and produces pain in the mid back, abdomen, and at times in the lower region of the back. It is a variety of diseases that attack at the same time. High blood pressure also called hypertension and diabetes are typically the two main diseases that attack together. In the United States, these two diseases account for 70% of all known kidney failures.

Kidney Cancer

Cancer of the kidneys occurs when malignant tumors form on the tissue of the kidneys. They can function on only one part of one kidney. However, it is difficult on the body. There are four stages of kidney cancer. In the first stage, the tumor is small under 7cm and contained in the kidney. In the second stage, the tumor has grown but is still all within the kidney. There is no evidence of it spreading to the lymph nodes or other sites. In stage III, the malignant tumor has left the kidney and may now extend into the adrenal glands and nearby tissue or organs and perhaps the lymph nodes. In the final stage IV, the tumor can now be of any size and well beyond the scope of the kidneys.

Lupus Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Lupus (SLE) Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is the process of the immune attacking the kidneys as it would an infection or foreign matter. This process causes scarring and inflammation to the small blood vessels that filter the waste in your kidneys. There is no known cause for this disease, but viruses or pollutants may play a role. Anyone can get this painful disease, but it appears in 90% of the women who are diagnosed. The signs are all different but may include blood or protein in your urine, edema, weight gain and high blood pressure.  Some treatments for SLE include steroids, Diuretics, and a change in your diet.


The heavy use of anti-inflammatory medicines has the potential to inflame your kidneys and cause pain. They can cause what is known as interstitial nephritis. Individuals using over-the-counter medications may think they are not at risk, but that is not the case in many situations, they are over them just as much. The use of conventional pain medication containing Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and others are prescription drugs. Always be aware of the medicines that you are taking Your pharmacist should be your best friend even when it comes to over-the-counter medications. They can all affect your kidneys and cause kidney pain.


Diabetes is a possible cause of pain in the kidneys. It is the immune system destroying the cells that make the hormones that control the blood sugars. Forty-four percent of new patients with kidney disease have diabetes. The known preventions for diabetes are no sugars and good blood pressure. These two preventions alone could protect your blood vessels, limbs and eyes. High blood pressure is also known to be a contributing factor leading to diabetes. It is caused by extra stress on the blood vessels including the nephrons. Hypertension is the number two cause of kidney failure. Normal blood pressure is 13/85, keep it in check for better kidney health. Finally, a protein is found in your urine. If you have protein in your urine, your blood pressure will run in the normal range of 125/75.