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Kidney Cysts

Kidney cysts are pouches of fluid that form on or in the kidneys. The cysts are sometimes associated with kidney disorders that impair kidney function, such as polycystic kidney disease, but more commonly they are simple, noncancerous cysts that rarely cause dysfunction or damage.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited condition in which clusters of cysts develop inside the kidneys. This causes the kidneys to enlarge and, over time, to malfunction.

The cysts are not cancerous, but they can grow quite large. Damage can occur to the kidneys if they grow too large in size or number. The cysts can also spread to other areas of the body, such as the liver. This can cause further serious complications, like high blood pressure and kidney failure.

Symptoms of polycystic kidney disease can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Back or side pain
  • Headaches
  • A feeling of abdominal fullness
  • Distended abdomen due to enlarged kidneys
  • Blood in your urine (hematuria)
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney failure
  • Urinary tract or kidney infections

Since there’s no cure for PKD, your doctor will likely focus on treating the symptoms associated with it early on to avoid complications.

Simple Kidney Cysts

Simple kidney cysts are not the type that form with polycystic kidney disease, and usually only one simple cyst is found on the surface of the kidney.

Simple cysts typically don’t cause any symptoms and are only detected during an imaging test done for another condition. Treatment is rarely needed.

If a simple kidney cyst grows large enough, you may experience dull pain in your back or side, fever, and/or upper abdominal pain.

Whether you are concerned about a simple kidney cyst or if you have PKD in your family medical history, the Urology specialists at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston can help detect kidney cysts and develop a treatment plan, if necessary.

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