Kidney cysts are pouches of fluid that form on the kidneys and are usually harmless. Most of them are so small they don’t cause any symptoms and are known as simple kidney cysts. That said, if the cysts begin to grow, they can lead to symptoms, while still generally remaining noncancerous and of minor severity. While no one knows what causes kidney cysts, they usually do not require treatment and go away on their own. In some cases, however, the symptoms of kidney cysts can impair kidney function and may be indicative of a hereditary condition called polycystic kidney disease.
Flank pain arises at the side of your abdomen or back, between your ribs and pelvis. It is often described as a dull heaviness that tends to be persistent but can also cause shooting pains. The most common causes of flank pain are urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and muscle strains or pinched nerves. This can make it difficult to pinpoint the source of the symptom. However, if the flank pain is a result of kidney cysts, it will most likely feel like a dull ache.
Medically, a fever is not significant unless above 100.4, though any temperature about the average 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit can be classified as such. People with fevers generally feel cold and are accompanied by signs such as shivering while you are sweating and feeling hot to the touch. If a kidney cyst is to blame, it has probably become infected, and a doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
While sleeplessness is not a primary symptom of kidney cysts, problems with kidneys can cause nocturia or frequent bouts of urination during the night that disrupt sleeping patterns. Too little or restless sleep can greatly affect the quality of life, leading to fatigue and a lack of focus throughout the day. Nocturia is generally a sign of a UTI or another type of infection, and a kidney cyst is one possible cause.
Abdominal distension or swelling of the abdomen could be caused by bloating due to food intolerance or, in cases of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), enlarged kidneys. Your kidneys can become enlarged due to cysts that obstruct the flow of urine. If you have PKD, you may also experience pain, usually because the kidneys are pressing on the abdomen.
Kidneys problems often lead to more frequent urination. If you are using the bathroom more than usual, you may notice the quantity of urine is not equivalent to your water intake. Frequent urination can come at any time during the day but is most noticeable when it happens at night. In the worst case scenario, it may cause a loss of bladder control.
The color of your urine can tell doctors a lot about your physical health. Healthy urine, for example, is the color of straw or a fairly light yellow. Dark urine, usually brown, deep yellow, or even maroon, indicates a higher concentration. Though rehydrating the body can usually resolve dark urine, if you find your urine is not lightening in color despite increased water consumption, kidney cysts could be to blame.
Hematuria is the scientific term for blood in the urine. There are two types of hematuria: microscopic and gross. Microscopic hematuria is when the blood is invisible to the naked eye, whereas gross is when you can see the blood in your urine. When the appearance of blood is due to kidney cysts, it tends to be visible. Your urine may appear pinkish or have a darker, browner tone to it. Blood in the urine can be a sign that the kidney cyst has burst, particularly if it is accompanied by pain.
Tenderness is not synonymous with pain, and it can be mild to severe, depending on the individual. The majority of kidney problems will make the flank area feel tender, making this symptom a helpful diagnostic tool.
Water retention is an accumulation of excess fluids in bodily tissues and can present in a couple of ways. The lower legs and ankles may appear swollen or puffy, or this puffiness may be visible elsewhere on the skin. Water retention can result from many situations or conditions, from pregnancy to kidney disease. If kidney-related, it is likely a sign of polycystic kidney disease rather than a simple kidney cyst.
Painful urination is the key sign of a UTI or kidney infection and is secondary to kidney cysts. People usually describe the pain as a burning or stinging sensation that comes from the urethra. At times, you might also find it difficult to urinate at all. For the most part, a course of antibiotics will clear up the infection.