Understanding kidney cyst and its major causes, symptoms and treatment

If your cyst doesn’t affect your kidney function, you may not need treatment. Let us take a look at the causes, symptoms and treatment of kidney cyst.

Kidneys are one of the most crucial organs of human body that helps in detoxification. Humans generally have a pair of kidney, but it has been medically proven that people can survive on a single kidney. The size of each kidney is about 4-5 inches and weighs around 150 grams. The kidneys function as a filter, purifying the blood and working as waste removal system in our body. The blood passes through the kidneys around 12 times in an hour and in one day the kidneys purify around 200 liters of blood. The kidneys also produce 1-2 liters of waste as urine. Erythropoietin, Renin and active vitamin D are the important hormones produced by kidneys with different function like erythropoietin that helps in the production of RBC, Renin that controls the blood pressure level and Vitamin D that stimulates the absorption of calcium.


Just like other human organs, kidneys can also have a cyst, most of which are benign. But having a kidney cyst requires urgent medical attention as they may be a symptom of other medical condition. Read on to know what are kidney cysts, their causes, signs and treatment.

What is kidney cyst?

Kidney Cysts are small outgrowths on the surface of the kidney. Cysts on kidneys are majorly divided into two types – a simple one and a complex one, both of which can be identified easily by CT scan, Ultrasound etc. A person below 50 years of age has less than 35% chances of having a cyst on kidney, while the chances increase after 50 years of age.

Simple cysts are very common and have a shape of a sphere formed anywhere in the kidneys. They are filled with yellow or clear liquid. Simple cysts have a thin lining with no irregularities and have no chance of becoming a cancerous tumor, but this is not true in case of complex cysts as it do have 15%- 91% chances for being carcinogenic.

Complex cysts have a variety of irregularities in them and also within the content inside it. The lining can be thin or thick and many times thick wall lining of the cysts leads to kidney cancer. The cyst may contain calcium or may be solid. Its size irregularities and the cyst contents may make them malign.

Major causes of Kidney Cyst


There are no particular causes for the sac like outgrowth or kidney cyst. Studies indicate that Kidney cyst may be caused by the obstruction of tubules. The tubules are the tiny structures present within the kidneys which collects urine. The deficiency of blood supply definitely plays a major role in the formation of Kidney cyst. Diverticula is also said to be another reason for Kidney cyst where the sacs formed on the tubules detach and become Kidney cyst.

Signs and symptoms kidney cyst

It is true that most of the kidney cysts hardly present a symptom, but kidney cyst pain is associated to these sacs. People who suffered from the urinary tract infection are prone to Kidney cyst. The symptoms of a simple kidney cyst observed are:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Pain, generally concentrated in upper abdomen area
  • High Fever
  • Severe Pain in back and hips
  • Chills

In case of complex kidney cyst the symptoms observed when the cyst grows in size are:

  • Tendency of frequent urination
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Blood in urine causing hematuria
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache, fever with pain in lower portion of back
  • Serious signs causing sepsis and hemorrhage

Polycystic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease is defined as the formation of numerous cysts on the surface of kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic cystic disorder leading to the enlargement of kidneys which ultimately reduce the kidney functions and cause kidney failure. There are two major forms of polycystic kidney diseases which are:

  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease: Common as 90% of the people suffers from this disease in the age of 40-50.
  • Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease: Rarely inherited and can begin in the early stages of life.

Effects of cyst on kidney

There are many effects that are caused by cyst on kidney which mainly includes:

  • Deformed size of kidneys due to the formation of abnormal blisters
  • Kidney failure
  • Reduced Kidney function
  • Kidney stones

How to treat Kidney Cyst Pain

The treatment of Kidney cyst pain can be done by determining the cause of the pain which are mainly caused by infection, expansion or bleeding of cysts. Removal of cysts by surgical operations mainly by laparoscope is also a solution to Kidney cyst pain. Medicines such as antibiotics can also reduce the Kidney cyst pain.

Print Friendly