Kidney problems are usually characterized by flank pain and urinary problems. The following write-up provides information on the medical treatment and remedies for kidney pain relief.
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that are located just below the rib cage, towards the back in the upper section of the abdomen. The kidneys not only perform the vital function of filtering out the wastes or toxins from blood, they also maintain the balance of fluids in the body. A host of health problems can arise if the kidneys fail to perform their task. The loss of kidney function would sooner or later give rise to kidney pain, which is pain that is felt in the flank region. While drug therapy can certainly help in alleviating pain that may be arising from the kidneys, making the right lifestyle choices can surely help in preventing the recurrence of kidney problems in future.
Medical Conditions that May Cause Flank Pain
Though the formation of kidney stones is one of the most common causes of pain, distressing symptoms could also be attributed to a kidney infection or chronic kidney diseases such as cancer or polycystic kidney disease.
- Kidney stones are stone-like deposits that form due to the crystallization of minerals and salts in urine. When these hardened deposits get lodged in the ureter, the passage of urine gets obstructed thereby causing the urine to back up in the kidneys. This causes the kidneys to swell up.
- Flank pain could also be indicative of a kidney infection. Such an infection in the kidney is medically referred to as pyelonephritis. The underlying cause of a kidney infection may actually be a urinary tract infection, which may spread from the bladder to the kidneys. Painful urination, burning sensation during urination or other symptoms that are associated with a urinary tract infection are most likely to be experienced by a person suffering from a kidney infection.
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a serious condition that is characterized by pain in the flank region. This condition is associated with the development of cysts in the kidneys that cause the kidneys to enlarge. If left untreated, a patient suffering from PKD may even become susceptible to kidney failure.
- Malignant growth in the kidneys could also cause pain in the kidney region.
Relying solely on the use of painkillers for getting rid of pain is certainly not the best way to handle this health problem. A thorough medical checkup must be conducted to diagnose the underlying medical condition.
- While use of antibiotics would be required to resolve a bacterial infection, extensive treatment would be required for serious kidney problems.
- If the patient is experiencing recurrent bouts of severe pain, doctors may analyze the patient’s condition and recommend suitable treatment options that may involve the use of advanced medical procedures such as dialysis or surgery.
- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy or percutaneous nephrolithotomy may be suggested for removing kidney stones.
- While shock wave therapy involves the use of shock waves for breaking down the stones, percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure wherein a surgical instrument called nephroscope is inserted through a small incision in the back to break up and extract the kidney stone.
Though drug therapy or other treatment options may help in treating the kidney problem, making certain lifestyle-related changes will also prove beneficial. While some of these natural remedies can help in reducing the intensity of pain, some of them may help to prevent pain in future. Here are some guidelines on how to prevent kidney problems.
The salts and minerals that are present in urine are more likely to crystallize into kidney stones if one doesn’t drink adequate amounts of water. If you increase your intake of fluids, the greater is the likelihood of the stone getting flushed out along with urine.
- Since fruits such as grapes, cranberry and watermelon have a high water content and act as great diuretics, consumption of such fruits will prove beneficial.
- Drinking two ounces of lemon juice is also believed to help in breaking kidney stones.
- Watermelon is rich in potassium and is also believed to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
- Cranberry helps to increase the acidity of urine and eliminates the presence of harmful bacteria which might cause kidney infections.
Foods to be Avoided
Consumption of foods that are rich in calcium oxalate can put one at an increased risk of developing kidney stones. One must refrain from consumption of such foods.
- It would be in one’s interest to avoid excessive consumption of chickpeas, beet, spinach, okra, sweet potatoes, coconut, cauliflower, turnips and carrots.
- Since caffeinated drinks can cause dehydration, it would be best to cut down on intake of tea and coffee.
Drinking herbal teas or infusions that contain herbs with diuretic properties would promote urination and help in flushing out smaller kidney stones.
- Herbs such as goldenrod, bearberry, oak bark and gravel root can also help in the treatment of kidney stones and infections.
- Couch grass is another herb that acts as a demulcent. Since it has a soothing effect on the inflamed lining of the urinary tract, it helps in providing relief from pain that may be arising due to inflammation.
Massage with Aromatic Oils
While one may use herbs for cleansing the kidneys, massaging at the flank area can also help in alleviating the pain to some extent.
- Thyme, juniper, fennel, rosemary and eucalyptus oil are some of the oils that are often used as aromatic oils. All one needs to do is put a few drops of any of these essential oils in warm bath water. Soaking your body in this warm bath water will certainly provide relief.
On a concluding note, pain in the flank region may be an indicator of kidney stone or other kidney disorder. So, people who have been experiencing flank pain must get a thorough medical checkup done. A timely diagnosis and treatment can definitely pave the way for a quick recovery. Since inadequate water intake is one of the most common causes of kidney problems, one must stay well-hydrated at all times. Kidneys perform various vital bodily processes and malfunctioning kidneys can definitely give rise to various health problems. So, follow a healthy diet and drink lots of water to keep your kidneys in good condition.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.