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Kidney Diseases

Left Kidney Pain

01/26/2010

Question:

About two years ago, I had the same pain on my left side, under my bottom rib. I went to the doctor and did a urine sample for them and it came up that I had a tract infection. I havent had one since. Today, I have no symptoms other then the pain on my left side again under my bottom rib. The pain started yesterday, and is still going today. It isnt really painful, but it is uncomfortable. If it helps, I have been on a diet for almost a month, called South Beach. In the first two weeks of this diet, you cant have any sugars or breads. You slowly take that out of your body and it starts your body off new with introducing foods to it again. We have stayed on this phase without sugars or breads for almost a month. Would this cause any of the pain? Also, after I had the tract infection, everytime i would have too much sugars like too many mountain dews or pop in general, it would start to ache, so i would drink water and it would go away. But all i have been drinking is water or sugar and caffine free drinks. Any idea?

Answer:

From your description it does not sound to me like your pain is connected either with your diet or with a urinary tract infection.  However, if these are the symptoms you had two years ago, it would be wise to have your doctor do another urinalysis and culture.  Urinary tract infections are most common in the bladder, and there they usually cause symptoms of burning on urination, feeling the urge to go frequently even though little comes out, and sometimes bloody or cloudy urine. 

Infections of the kidney itself are much more serious and usually cause severe pain, fever, nausea & vomiting.  If your urinalysis is abnormal now, your doctor may want to order an imaging study such as an ultrasound to be sure that there's nothing structurally wrong with the kidney, such as a stone, blockage, or tumor.  Other things to be considered on the left side under the ribs include the stomach and part of the colon, so it's possible the pain is related to stomach stretching, gas or stool in the colon, etc.

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University