What Is Kidney Pain?

Kidney pain is discomfort that comes from the area where your kidneys are. It’s often described as a dull ache, you feel in your sides, back, or belly. But pain in these areas isn’t always a sign of a kidney issue. It’s easy to mistake kidney pain for ordinary back pain. But there are some differences in how kidney pain feels and where it’s located compared to back pain.

Kidney pain has many possible causes, and some could be serious. It’s important to let your doctor know if you notice pain that you think may be coming from one or both of these organs.

Where are your kidneys?

Your kidneys are two small organs shaped like beans. You have one on each side of your body. They’re each about the size of your first. They’re below your rib cage on both sides of your spinal cord.

Your kidneys have important jobs. They clean out water, acids, and waste from your blood. They make urine so your body flushes out the waste. If they’re diseased or damaged in some way, they can’t do their work to maintain a healthy balance of salts, minerals like calcium, and water in your blood.

Your kidneys also make hormones that help you manage your blood pressure, keep your bones strong, and make red blood cells.

So it’s important to watch for any signs of kidney disease or damage, like pain.

Symptoms of Kidney Pain

Kidney pain symptoms include:

A dull ache that’s usually constant
Pain under your rib cage or in your belly
Pain in your side; usually only one side, but sometimes both hurt
Sharp or severe pain that may come in waves
Pain that can spread to your groin area or belly
Other symptoms that can happen with kidney pain

The symptoms of your kidney pain depend on its cause. With kidney pain you may also have:

Fever
Vomiting
Pain when you pee
Cloudy urine
Blood in your urine