Kidney Pain

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Renal tuberculosis

Renal tuberculosis is a medical condition in which a tuberculosis (TB) infection affects the kidney(s). It can be a cause of kidney pain. This page discusses TB in general.

What it is

TB is a relatively common bacterial infection -- however, it has the potential to be fatal. Most frequently, the lungs are the affected organs -- in roughly 75 percent of cases. Transmission of the bacteria can occur through the air when an infected person spits, coughs, sneezes, or speaks.


Tuberculosis is commonly asymptomatic -- without symptoms -- when the infection begins. This stage is known as a latent infection. About one out of ten such cases will progress to an active infection. At that point the patient may present with a chronic cough. Other symptoms include coughing up blood (hemoptysis), night sweats, weight loss, and fever. If organs other than the lungs are infected then other symptoms may occur -- for example, kidney pain in renal tuberculosis.

Causes and risk factors

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacteria behind TB cases. A suppressed immune system is a risk factor to contract TB. This situation can be brought on by AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), immunosuppressive medications, and other items. Patients with silicosis are about 30 times as likely, statistically, to come down with TB. Diabetes patients are also between two to four times as likely to pick up this illness as those who do not have diabetes.


A doctor or other professional in the medical field does diagnostic testing for tuberculosis. The bacteria is checked for in a clinical sample. Other methods of attempting to make a diagnosis include X-rays or other scans, as well as a skin test.


Antibiotics are used to treat a TB infection. Rather than a short course of treatment, often 6 to 24 months of undergoing medication are required in order to completely remove the bacteria from the patient. Some strains of the bacteria are resistant to particular medications, and a resistance can also be acquired during the course of the infection for certain reasons (such as not following the prescribed course of treatment, etc.).


It is estimated that one-third of all people worldwide are infected with TB, however, this varies from one location to another. For instance, around 5 to 10 percent are thought to be infected in the United States, while in certain African and Asian countries positive testing rates are as high as 80 percent (which doesn't necessarily mean that 80 percent have TB).