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Kidney Diseases

Flank pain

10/29/2009

Question:

I`m a 21 year old male.

I`ve had a pain that suddenly and sharply developed in my lower left flank about two years ago. This eventually tapered off to a dull but constant ache and a feeling of something being off in my left side, at the bottom of my ribs.

This pain has progressively been getting slowly worse about the past year, which prompted me to visit my doctor. Blood and urine tests were ran, and I also had X-Rays and a few CTs of the area, but no problem was found. Physically feeling the area, however, finds a knot in the area of the pain, but my doctor believes it just to be a collection of harmless fatty cells due to the negative test results.

Lately, the pain also seems to be radiating in my upper left hip, generally primarily in the side, and more frequently now my left side in general.

I don`t present with any other symptoms such as illness or frequency of urination, nor have my bowel movements been any different than I recall prior to the pain. I did develop a condition very similar to Cholinergic Urticaria about 2 months ago, but the skin irritation presents with hundreds of red pinprick rashes rather than hives. I don`t know if its related to the flack pain, however.

Other than the pain and skin condition, I`m otherwise healthy. Low blood pressure, healthy blood counts, urine looks clean.

Any idea what could be the cause of my problem? I`ve dealt with it for around 2 years, so I doubt its life threatening, but if theres a recommended condition I could look into getting taken care of, I`d be much appreciated.

Answer:

It does not sound like your pain has anything to do with your kidneys.  I agree that if it's been present for two years, it's not likely to be life-threatening, but it does sound annoying and somewhat disabling; so you deserve to know the cause.  Remember that not everything will show up on an imaging study.  One place to start might be with a biopsy of the "knot" that you feel.  Sorry I cannot be of more help, based on the info that you've provided. 

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University