What Are the Symptoms of a Kidney Problem?

Christina Edwards

A kidney problem, like a kidney infection or kidney cancer, can be an extremely uncomfortable medical condition. Fatigue is a common kidney condition symptom. Symptoms of a kidney problem will also usually include urination problems, pain, and gastrointestinal problems. Swelling of the legs, taste changes, and a skin rash may also occur.

A kidney with a kidney stone.
A kidney with a kidney stone.

At the onset of a kidney problem, there may not be many symptoms. One of the earliest symptoms of a kidney issue, however, is often fatigue, or a general feeling of tiredness. This happens because healthy kidneys produce a substance known as erythropietin, which helps make the red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body. A decreased amount of these blood cells means that not enough oxygen is being distributed throughout the body. Fatigue, dizziness, and confusion can result.

An example of a healthy kidney and one with cancer.
An example of a healthy kidney and one with cancer.

Urination problems are also common symptoms of a kidney problem. A change in the frequency of urination, for example, may indicate a problem. A patient may feel the need to urinate more or less. Also, he may produce less urine. This usually results in dark urination.

Blood in the urine is a possible symptom of a kidney problem.
Blood in the urine is a possible symptom of a kidney problem.

Dark urination could also be caused by blood in the urine. This is another of the more common symptoms of a kidney problem. Blood in the urine can cause the urine to change color. Red, pink, or rust colors are the most common colors associated with blood in the urine. On the other hand, this may not be noticeable in some individuals, and a laboratory test may be necessary.

The kidneys perform a crucial role of keeping the blood clean and chemically balanced.
The kidneys perform a crucial role of keeping the blood clean and chemically balanced.

Difficulty urinating is often another common symptom of a kidney problem. This could mean that an individual feels the need to urinate, but can only expel a few drops. It could also mean that urination is painful. A burning sensation is often experienced by those with kidney problems.

A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones, which can cause the kidney to become enlarged.
A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones, which can cause the kidney to become enlarged.

Pain can be another indicator of kidney problems. This is especially true for kidney stones. Kidney pain can be felt in the lower side of the back, next to the spine. It is typically a sharp pain, not an ache.

Pain can be another indicator of kidney problems, such as kidney stones.
Pain can be another indicator of kidney problems, such as kidney stones.

Gastrointestinal problems are common symptoms of some kidney problems. When the kidneys aren't working properly, waste builds up in the blood. This build up can cause nausea or vomiting. An individual with a kidney problem may also suffer a loss in appetite, which can often lead to weight loss.

This build up of waste products in the blood can often lead to numerous other symptoms of a kidney problem. It can, for instance, cause the legs and ankles to swell. It can also cause taste changes, making previously enjoyable foods unappetizing. Skin rashes are also not uncommon. These are usually characterized by a deep itch that can't be satisfied by simple scratching.

Kidney problems may cause skin rashes.
Kidney problems may cause skin rashes.

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