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What are the most common causes of kidney cysts?

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Doctors are not sure what causes simple kidney cysts, according to Mayo Clinic. One theory holds that a weakened area of the kidney forms a pouch that fills with fluid, detaches and becomes a cyst. Heredity is the cause of cysts that develop due to polycystic kidney disease, states MedlinePlus.

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Simple kidney cysts become more common as people age, notes the National Kidney Foundation. Although they rarely cause symptoms or require treatment, they sometimes grow large enough to cause discomfort. They can also become infected or can block the flow of urine.

In PKD, the cysts take the place of normal tissue, eventually causing enlargement of the kidney and interfering with its function, explains MedlinePlus. Pain in the back and lower sides, headaches and urinary tract infections may develop, and eventually the kidneys fail.

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