Kidney cysts are round pouches filled with liquid that form on or in the kidneys. Cysts can be connected with serious disorders that may affect the function of the kidney which further negatively affects the overall health.
However, kidney cysts are a type called simple kidney cysts which are not carcinogenic i.e. they rarely cause complications.
It’s not clear what causes simple kidney cysts, typically one cyst appears on the surface of the kidney, but multiple cysts can affect both the kidneys.
The simple kidney cysts are usually detected upon kidney scan performed for another condition. The simple kidney cysts that don’t cause signs or symptoms. However, if cysts do appear on the kidneys, a doctor consultation is necessary. Kidney cysts develop when the surface layer of the kidney is weak.
Normally the simple cysts could not cause any symptoms. If a kidney cyst grows large enough, symptoms may include:
- A dull pain in the back or in the sides of the back
- Fever and ache in the upper parts of the stomach
The risk of having kidney cysts increases as you get older. They are more common in men.
Kidney cysts can occasionally lead to complications, including:
- An infected cyst: A kidney cyst may become infected, causing fever and abdominal pain.
- A burst cyst: A kidney cyst that bursts causes severe back pain.
- Urine obstruction: A kidney cyst obstructs the normal flow of urine which may lead to swelling of the kidney.
Tests and diagnosis:
Tests and procedures used to diagnose simple kidney cysts include:
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests, such as CT (Computerized Tomography) Scan ultrasound, and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scan are often used to investigate kidney cysts. Imaging tests can help your doctor to determine whether it is a cyst or a tumor.
- Kidney function tests: Testing a sample of your blood may reveal whether a kidney cyst is affecting your kidney function or not.
Treatment of kidney cysts:
Treatment may not be needed. If the simple kidney cyst causes no signs or symptoms and doesn’t affect the proper functioning of the kidney. Make tests from time to time, such as Ultrasound, CT Scan, MRI Scan in order to track the kidney cysts growing or not. If the changes on the cyst cause symptoms, treatment is to be needed. In some cases, cysts simply disappear without any treatment.
Treatment for cysts that cause signs and symptoms:
If your kidney cyst shows signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend you further treatment.
The treatment may include:
- Puncturing and draining of the cyst, and alcohol filling: Rarely, to decrease the size of the cyst, doctor inserts a long, thin needle through the skin and through the wall of the cyst. Then the doctor fills the cyst with an alcohol solution to prevent it from reforming.
- Surgery to remove the cyst: Big or symptomatic cysts may have to be operated to drain and remove it. To access the cyst, the doctor makes several small incisions on your skin and inserts medical instruments and a small video camera into the cut area. Then, the doctor leads the instruments to the kidney and uses them to remove the liquid in the kidney cyst.