Surely, you’ve heard about kidney cysts more than once. That’s because we are talking about a condition that is very common among our population, yet that is not usually considered to be extremely serious. Nonetheless, it’s worth knowing more about where kidney cysts come from, as well as how they appear and what possible symptoms can come with them. We’ll explain all this below so keep reading!
What are simple kidney cysts?
We all know the important function that our kidneys fulfil; they filter our blood, clean our body, control the salt in our body, and separate the waste substances that we discharge in our urine. The kidneys are two essential organs for our overall health, which is why it is so important for us to know the possible illnesses associated with them.
But let’s get to the point. What is a kidney cyst? Well, a cyst is a sac or cavity full of air or liquid. They normally consist of a membranous sac of abnormal character containing fluid. They are lumps that emerge to the surface from the kidney itself or from the nephrons. They are usually the size of a lentil, but in some cases there have been cysts the size of an apple. They grow little by little, and inside them, there is usually harmless fluid rather than pus or blood.
Who commonly suffers from kidney cysts?
First of all, we have to minimize the severeness of the matter. Kidney cysts are not a synonym of cancer or of a complication that might take away our quality of life. Simple kidney cysts are very common, especially when we start getting older. They tend to appear when we’re in our 50’s. Although we can also get them before that age, after our 50’s and 60’s, they tend to appear with greater frequency. Once again, we assure you they are usually harmless.
But why do kidney cysts appear?
They normally start to appear as the years go by, due to the nephrons (the parts of the kidney that are in charge of filtering our blood). They start getting bigger, and start to fill up with fluid. Scientists don’t know exactly why they happen, except that they happen over the years, like small injuries that cause the fluid to accumulate until it gets to a considerable size. Also worth mentioning is the fact that kidney cysts are not hereditary.
If I have a kidney cyst, is it serious?
Normally, the answer to that question is “no.” They are usually not serious. Simple kidney cysts are associated with age and happen very frequently. This is why they are called “simple kidney cysts”, and they usually don’t transform into cancerous tumors. They are almost always harmless. Now let’s identify them and control them. If their walls are thick and irregular, then they could be associated with a type of cancer. But 70% of them are usually harmless and inoffensive.
What are the symptoms of a kidney cyst?
Simple kidney cysts normally don’t have symptoms. This is why most people don’t even realize they have a cyst or even 7 cysts in one kidney. When they are discovered, it is by accident in X-rays or in a computerized axial tomography scan (CAT). Another thing we should keep in mind is that if these fluid sacs explode, then we do have something to see a doctor about. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor:
- Pain in the abdomen area, ribs, hips, stomach, or back
- Somewhat of a fever
- Urinating more often than usual and blood appearing in the urine
- High blood pressure
How do you treat simple kidney cysts?
Due to the fact that they are usually harmless, they are oftentimes not treated. But if a cyst is forcing a lot of pressure on the kidney, it will end up hindering its function, so there will be no other option than to intervene. And what does the intervention entail? It can be done two different ways, depending on where the cysts is located and how big it is:
- Suction or sclerotherapy: Through an injection, the cyst fluid is eliminated.
- Surgery: Generally it is done through laparoscopy, using thin instruments that are inserted through small perforations in the abdomen. During the surgery the doctor drains the cyst and then clips it off or cauterizes it. It is done very quickly and the patient will only be in the hospital for a couple of days.
Can I prevent kidney cysts?
They tend to appear with age, but a basic way of keeping your kidneys in good shape is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And you know how:
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.
- Drink two liters of water a day.
- Avoid salts, refined flours, sugar, and carbonated beverages.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid red meat.
- Drink natural fruit juices.
- Drink – for ten days a month – a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking powder after your dinner.