Flank pain is discomfort felt between the ribs and hip. It usually involves one side of the body only. Most of the time, flank pain is due to a problem concerning the kidneys. This is especially true if it comes with signs and symptoms such as skin rash, fever, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, pain during urination and blood present in the urine.

However, there are many other conditions that may bring about flank pain. It’s important to immediately see a doctor if the discomfort is persistent or worsens, and also causes palpitation, extreme thirst, mouth dryness dark urine and decreased urine production. Below are some conditions that usually produce flank pain, among other symptoms:

Kidney Stones

Also known as renal calculi, kidney stones are growths out of crystals that usually form in the kidneys but may also develop in other parts of the urinary system. It is said that kidney stones is one of the most painful medical conditions out there.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

A disorder that runs in families, polycystic kidney disease involves the formation of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys. Treating it is important because it can cause various complications such as cataracts, anemia and high blood pressure.

Pyelonephritis

Bacterial infection of the kidneys causes the bean-shaped organs to swell, which can lead to kidney damage and even death. Antibiotics are given to treat pyelonephritis, the type of which will depend on the kind of bacteria behind it.

Hydronephrosis

Unlike pyelonephritis, kidney swelling when hydronephrosis strikes is due to an obstruction like a tumor, enlarged prostate or a kink in the part where the pelvis of the kidney meets the ureter, preventing the normal drainage of the urine.

Urinary Tract Infection

UTI for short, this is the bacterial infection of the urethra, bladder, ureters or kidneys. Treatments for UTI include antibiotics and painkillers. Drinking plenty of water and cranberry juice are some effective home remedies for UTI.

Renal Kidney Cancer

Also known as renal cell carcinoma or hypernephroma, it’s one of the most common forms of kidney cancer among adults. Surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy — or a combination of these — is the usual treatment for the disease.

Hypercalcemia

Simply put, hypercalcemia means there’s too much calcium present in the bloodstream. Since the kidneys help purify the blood, they can be affected by it. Some symptoms of hypercalcemia are flank pain, and excessive thirst and urination.

Costochondritis

Sometimes referred to as Tietze’s syndrome, costochondritis is the inflammation of cartilage situated in the rib cage. Other than trauma to the chest, other causes of costochondritis are certain types of arthritis and bacterial or viral infection.

Acute Appendicitis

One very common cause of flank pain is acute appendicitis, which is the inflammation of the appendix. Most of the time, undergoing the knife or appendectomy is warranted in order to remove the appendix before or after it ruptures.

Shingles

This infection is caused by the virus known as varicella-roster, which is the same one responsible for chicken pox. Aside from the appearance of rash and blisters on the skin, shingles also usually cause fatigue and weakness.

Hodgkin’s Disease

Called HD for short, Hodgkin’s disease is actually a kind of lymphoma — blood cancer that originates from the lymphatic system. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common treatments for HD, depending on its stage.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Also referred to as NHL, it’s more common than Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The main difference between the two is the absence of the Reed-Sternberg cell in NHL. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplant are the usual treatments.

MRSA

Short for methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, this highly contagious disease is caused by the uncontrolled multiplication of staph bacteria. While very serious, fortunately, it can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

 

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