nocturnal kidney pain


In general, kidney pain that occurs mainly at night has no significantly different causes than kidney pain that can also be felt during the day. It should not be forgotten that pain in the kidney area is often interpreted as pain emanating from the kidney, although it does not come from the kidney at all. Impairments in the area of ​​the spine and / or muscles can cause pain in the flank area, which is misinterpreted as kidney pain.

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Pain in the kidney area that only occurs at night is suspicious of pain that does not actually originate from the kidney. Back pain comes into play here as it is not infrequently caused by lying incorrectly at night or by sagging mattresses. If the pain persists in isolation at night and in the morning after getting up, spinal problems are very likely the cause. The pain can appear all over the back and radiate into the flanks, so it is initially likely that the pain may be related to the kidneys.

Read more on this topic at: Pain in the spine

Spinal problems often lead to muscular tension over the course of the process, which intensifies the pain.Otherwise, kidney pain that occurs at night has the same causes as that that occurs during the day. Bilateral kidney pain occasionally occurs as part of a bladder infection, but is not a typical symptom of such. Unilateral kidney pain can have several causes. The presence of kidney stones must be considered in particular. The passage of stones from the kidney through the lower urinary tract often leads to colic-like pain, which is called renal colic. The pain comes and goes in waves and is often accompanied by restlessness and nausea.
Occasionally bloody urine (hematuria) is seen. Another cause of unilateral kidney pain is pelvic inflammation (Pyelonephritis). It not infrequently arises from a postponed cystitis and in many cases is accompanied by fever, chills and severe exhaustion. If you suspect kidney inflammation or kidney stones, you should consult a doctor.

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Diagnosing kidney pain is not always easy. If the pain persists for a long period of time or is very severe, a doctor should be consulted. As a rule, they will first ask a few questions, for example whether the pain is unilateral or bilateral, when it occurs, how long it has existed and whether there are any accompanying symptoms. Then the physical examination takes place, here, for example, attention is paid to pounding kidney pain.
The doctor hits the kidney bed with the edge of his hand and checks whether this is painful. If this is the case, this can be an indication of the presence of inflammation of the kidney. In addition, a rough examination of the spine and muscles is carried out to decide whether there is actually back pain or muscle pain that simulates the kidney pain. Other possible examinations to establish a diagnosis are a blood test, an ultrasound examination of the abdomen with an assessment of the kidneys and possibly further imaging diagnostics such as magnetic resonance imaging. However, this is rarely used.

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Concomitant symptoms

The symptoms that accompany nocturnal kidney pain depend on the cause. If back pain is the triggering factor, limited mobility, increased pain with certain movements and improvement during the day can occur. If the kidney pain is based on an acute inflammation of the kidney, it often quickly leads to increasing fatigue with fever and chills. If kidney stones are the cause, restlessness, nausea and vomiting as well as blood in the urine are often added.

Right kidney pain

Kidney pain that really comes from the kidney often only occurs on one side. The cause is then independent of which of the two kidneys is affected. So there are no causes that specifically only cause right or left kidney pain. Possible causes of one-sided kidney pain, even at night, are, for example, kidney stones, inflammation of the kidney pelvis or a tumor of the kidney. In malignant kidney tumors, pain usually only occurs in advanced stages.

Read more on this topic at: Kidney pain on the right side

Kidney pain on the left

The causes of left kidney pain are the same as those in the right kidney area.

Read more on this topic at: Kidney pain on the left side

Kidney pain on both sides

Bilateral nocturnal kidney pain rarely indicates kidney disease. Spinal problems are far more often the actual cause of the pain. These can arise from poor posture or degenerative changes in old age. Typical for spinal problems caused by poor posture at night or a sagging mattress are complaints that subside during the day. Therapeutically, heat applications, physiotherapy and changing the mattress come into question. Diseases emanating from the kidney itself are usually one-sided and are therefore usually associated with one-sided kidney pain.

Pain when lying down

Kidney pain that occurs mainly when lying down and at night is a relatively high probability that the spine or muscles are impaired. The spine can be affected from the cervical spine to the lumbar spine; in the case of deep-seated complaints, the lumbar spine is usually affected. The cause of pain that occurs mainly at night can be a wrong mattress or wrong lying position. Muscle pain in the sense of tension can also be the cause of nocturnal pain in the kidney area that mainly occurs when lying down. Spinal problems often lead automatically to tension in the muscles, a vicious circle that can sometimes only be broken with consistent physiotherapy.

Pain in pregnancy

Nocturnal kidney pain that occurs during pregnancy usually has the same causes as in non-pregnant women. Another cause can be compression of the urinary tract in advanced pregnancy. This means that the uterus, which continues to enlarge during pregnancy, presses on the urinary tract and can thus impair the flow of urine from the kidneys to the bladder. This can cause the urine to back up into the kidney pelvis, which can then cause pain. However, this cause of kidney pain is rather rare. Most of the time during pregnancy - if at all - there is only a slight build-up in the area of ​​the urinary tract, which is usually not painful.

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What to do?

If kidney pain persists over a long period of time, a doctor should be consulted. Before this is necessary, however, an attempt can be made to contain the pain through various measures. First of all, it should be checked whether the pain is not possibly coming from the back. Under certain circumstances, buying a new mattress and / or a new pillow can help.
The application of heat is also often helpful, especially when the pain is caused by muscle tension. Heat can be applied with a hot water bottle or a cherry stone pillow, and a warm bathtub is also an option to alleviate the discomfort. If symptoms such as chills, fever or severe colicky pain occur, a doctor should be consulted promptly.

What might also interest you: Kidney pain: what to do?


How long kidney pain lasts depends heavily on the cause. If the pain comes from the spine or the muscles, it can disappear after a few days / nights, but it is not uncommon for regular use of heat and physiotherapy to provide permanent relief. If inflammation of the kidney is the cause of the pain, antibiotic treatment is usually necessary to treat the cause. After the start of antibiotic treatment, the symptoms usually subside significantly within a few days. If kidney stones are the cause, acute renal colic usually lasts a few minutes to a few hours. However, the colic can recur if stones repeatedly form. Therefore, a doctor should be consulted to decide how stone formation can be prevented or to what extent it is necessary to remove the existing stones.