Q:

Why do kidney cysts cause pain?

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Quick Answer

Simple kidney cysts may cause pain if they grow too large, in which case the individual feels a dull pain in the back, side or upper abdomen, according to the National Kidney Foundation. A simple kidney cyst that becomes infected can cause pain and fever, and if the kidney cyst bursts, it causes severe pain in the side or back, notes Mayo Clinic. Simple kidney cysts rarely cause pain or other symptoms.

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Doctors use imaging tests, such as ultrasounds, CT scans and MRI, to diagnose simple kidney cysts, explains the National Kidney Foundation. If the cyst does not cause symptoms, the doctor monitors it periodically for changes that may indicate the presence of malignancy, states Cleveland Clinic.

If the cyst presses on other organs or impacts the functioning of the kidney, the doctor may use a long needle to drain it and then fill it with a material that shrinks the cyst, explains Cleveland Clinic. Alternatively, he performs a laparoscopic surgical procedure in which he drains the cyst before removing it by cutting or burning. The patient may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two for this procedure, notes the National Kidney Foundation. Both procedures are effective and cause few complications, states Cleveland Clinic.

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