Where do kidneys ache?

Where Do Kidneys Ache? – Understanding Kidney Pain and its Causes

The human body is made up of several critical organs that perform different vital functions. One of these organs is the kidney. The kidney is an essential part of the urinary system that filters blood, eliminates waste products, and balances fluids in the body. However, sometimes the kidney may experience pain or discomfort, which can indicate a severe underlying issue. This article aims to provide a comprehensive explanation of where kidneys ache, what causes kidney pain, and how to prevent kidney problems.

What Are the Kidneys?

Before exploring the causes of kidney pain or where kidneys ache, it’s crucial to understand the anatomy and function of the kidneys. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs situated on either side of the spine, just below the rib cage. They are about the size of a fist and are responsible for filtering the blood to remove waste products and excess fluids, which then leave the body as urine.

What Is Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain or renal pain is pain that emanates from the kidneys or the surrounding areas. This pain can be mild or severe, often described as dull, aching or sharp, and tenderness, discomfort, or pressure. Kidney pain may also accompany other symptoms such as painful urination, fever, nausea, or vomiting.

Symptoms of Kidney Pain

Kidney pain can manifest itself in various ways, and it’s important to know these symptoms as they can indicate a kidney problem. Below are some symptoms of kidney pain:

  • Dull, aching pain in the side, back, or flank
  • Sudden, severe pain that comes in waves
  • Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin
  • Painful urination
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Fever, chills, or nausea
  • Loss of appetite or vomiting

Where Do Kidneys Ache?

Kidney pain can manifest in different areas of the body. Generally, kidney pain occurs in the flank region, which is the area between the lower ribs and the hips at the back of the body. The pain may radiate from the flank area and reach the lower abdomen and groin.

Left Kidney Pain

Kidney pain on the left side usually indicates a problem with the left kidney. You may experience pain in the left flank area, left lower abdomen, or left groin. Pain in the left kidney may also be accompanied by other symptoms such as painful urination or blood in the urine.

Right Kidney Pain

Right kidney pain is a sign of an issue with the right kidney. Pain in the right kidney may present as pain in the right flank area, right lower abdomen, or right groin. Other symptoms that may accompany right kidney pain include nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Causes of Kidney Pain

Kidney pain can be caused by various factors. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney infections
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Kidney cancer
  • Polycystic kidney disease

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of your urinary system, including your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Kidney pain from a UTI typically presents as a dull ache on one side of your back or flank and is often accompanied by other symptoms such as frequent and painful urination, fever, and chills.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard, solid masses that form in the kidneys and can cause severe pain. If the stone is small, you may not experience any pain, but if it’s large or causes a blockage, it can lead to sudden, severe pain in the flank, lower abdomen, or groin. Other symptoms of kidney stones include nausea, vomiting, and pain during urination.

Kidney Infections

Kidney infections can cause pain in the flank, lower back, or groin area. Kidney pain from an infection often comes with other symptoms like frequent urination, fever, and fatigue.

Enlarged Prostate

Men with an enlarged prostate are at higher risk of developing kidney infections which can, in turn, cause pain. An enlarged prostate can also obstruct the urinary tract, leading to pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen and groin.

Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer often causes a dull, persistent ache on one side of the back or flank area. Other symptoms may include blood in the urine, weight loss, and fatigue.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes fluid-filled cysts to form in the kidneys, leading to kidney pain, high blood pressure, and organ failure. Kidney pain from polycystic kidney disease is usually persistent and may spread to other areas of the body.

Preventing Kidney Pain

While some causes of kidney pain are out of our control, many measures can be taken to prevent kidney pain. These measures include:

  • Drinking plenty of water to flush out toxins and waste from the body
  • Eating a balanced diet to maintain optimal kidney health
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Exercising regularly to improve overall health
  • Maintaining good hygiene to prevent urinary tract infections
  • Seeking medical attention as soon as symptoms arise


Kidney pain can be a sign of an underlying health issue and should not be ignored. Knowing the symptoms, causes, and preventive measures can help you manage kidney problems effectively. If you experience kidney pain or other symptoms like bloody urine, fever, or nausea, it’s best to see a doctor immediately to get the right diagnosis and treatment.


  • Q: Can stress cause kidney pain?
  • A: Stress can cause muscle tension, which can result in pain in different areas of the body, including the kidneys, but it is not a direct cause of kidney pain.
  • Q: What does kidney pain feel like?
  • A: Kidney pain can feel like a dull ache, tenderness, or soreness in the flank, lower back, or groin area. It can also present as a sharp, stabbing pain that comes in waves.
  • Q: Can dehydration cause kidney pain?
  • A: Dehydration can cause kidney pain, as it results in kidney stones that cause discomfort and inflammation of the kidney tissue.
  • Q: Can kidney disease cause back pain?
  • A: Yes, kidney disease can cause back pain, particularly in the flank area. The pain can be caused by kidney stones or infections, among other factors.


  • “Kidney Pain” – MedicineNet
  • “Kidney Stone Disease” – National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • “Kidney Cancer” – American Cancer Society
  • “Polycystic Kidney Disease” – National Organization for Rare Disorders