Thumbnail image of: Kidney: Illustration

Kidney Injury

What is a kidney injury?

A kidney injury is a bruise, cut, or tear of a kidney. The kidneys are inside the belly, on either side of the spine just above the waist. They make urine by taking waste products and extra salt and water from the blood.

What is the cause?

Common causes of kidney injuries involve blows to your back or belly such as:

  • Accidents or falls while playing a sport, at a job, in a car, or on a bicycle
  • A fight in which you are hit, kicked, punched, stabbed with a sharp object, or shot by a gun

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Bruising or pain in the back or side
  • Blood in the urine

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. Tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • X-rays
  • CT scan, which uses X-rays and a computer to show detailed pictures of the kidneys

How is it treated?

Most kidney injuries do not need surgery. You may need to rest in bed for a day or two while the kidney heals.

You may need surgery to repair or remove the kidney if:

  • The kidney is badly damaged.
  • You have bleeding that doesn’t stop.

How can I take care of myself?

Take pain medicine as directed by your healthcare provider. Don’t take ibuprofen unless your healthcare provider says that it’s OK. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age.

Drink plenty of liquids.

Avoid strenuous exercise or activities.

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Ask your provider:

  • How and when you will hear your test results
  • How long it will take to recover
  • What activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-08-25
Last reviewed: 2014-08-25
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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