What Are Kidney Cysts? Kidney Cysts Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Kidney cysts are one of the many factors that affect the kidney health. A cyst is a small fluid-filled sac which forms inside the kidneys. Kidneys are responsible for filtering out the wastes from the bloodstream and dispose it out from the body in the form of urine. An individual can suffer from both single cyst and multiple cysts.

The human kidneys are affected by two types of cysts – simple cysts and polycystic kidney disease. A simple cyst is formed of thin walls and is usually an individual cyst filled with a water-like fluid. A simple cyst doesn’t harm the kidney health nor does it affect its functioning.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), on the other hand, is an inherited condition in which the patient suffers from multiple cysts inside his/her kidneys. PKD can harm the kidneys in a bad way. The more it grows the more harm it does.

However, the cysts don’t cause any symptoms and are usually harmless. An individual may not even realize that he/she has cysts in his/her kidneys until he/she has undergone a test for some reason.

The size of a kidney cyst and what does it mean

In normal cases, the cysts are too small to be seen with the naked eye. The doctors use microscope to examine such cysts. However, in case of PKD, the cysts can sometimes grow as large as a tennis ball. Larger cysts pose as a threat to other organs as they can press against the nearby organs causing severe pain.

Kidney Cyst Symptoms

Simple cysts are known for not causing any symptoms but in case of PKD, when the cysts grow larger and become infectious; it can cause the following symptoms.

For Simple Cyst –

  • Dark urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Uncontrollable bladder
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Upper abdomen pain
  • Back pain, upper body pain, pain in the side between the pelvis and ribs. Happens when the cyst tends to pop or burst.
  • Fever

For Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) –

  • Blood in the urine
  • Upper body pain, pain in the sides and back
  • High blood pressure

Kidney cysts causes and risk factors

The mystery behind how simple cysts are formed is still a mystery. The doctors don’t know the exact reason why simple cysts are formed, but they do have few possible explanations.

A human kidney is composed of millions of tiny tubules that collect the urine. The theory says that when these tubules get blocked due to some reason or swell up or fill with liquid, cysts may start to grow.

Another theory suggests that when small pouches known as diverticula filled with liquid starts forming in the weakened areas of the tubules, it may trigger the cyst formation.

Cysts are likely to affect an individual when he/she gets older. 40 years is the cyst triggering age. By the age 40, 25% of the people are likely to get affected by the simple cyst. However, men are more prone to developing cysts in their kidneys as compared to women.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), on the other hand, is caused mostly because of the inheritance. Those with a family history of cysts are more likely to get affected.

Cyst Complications

Cysts are not that complicated but sometimes it can lead to;

  • High blood pressure
  • Burst cyst
  • Infection in the cyst
  • Blockage of urine
  • PKD, on the other hand, can easily damage the kidney health with time.

Cyst Treatment

Urologists are the one who deals with patients suffering from kidney complications. The urologist will take the urine and blood sample of the patient to see how his/her kidneys are functioning.

For diagnosing cysts, the urologist will perform the following tests:

  • Computer Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan
  • Ultrasound

Simple cysts can be easily cured by consuming probiotic kidney health supplement and other healthy foods. Also, there are several medications for cysts prescribed by the doctors.

In case of PKD, the treatment includes:

Surgery – cysts are removed laparoscopically by making small multiple incisions.

Sclerotherapy – in sclerotherapy, the doctor drains out the cyst. The doctor uses an ultrasound for navigation and the patient is given simple anesthesia as it can be a painful affair.

Cysts are harmless and there is no case registered where it has caused serious problems.