Absolutely Yes, the size of kidney cysts can matter in general. The smaller cysts (less than 1 cm) are considered benign and may not cause symptoms or complications in the initial stage. But larger cysts can potentially cause problems. As kidney cysts grow larger in size, they can put pressure on surrounding tissues, causing pain, discomfort, or complications such as infection or bleeding. Additionally, larger cysts have an increased risk of being cancerous and transforming into tumors, although most kidney cysts are non-cancerous (benign). An accurate diagnosis and appropriate management is a must for kidney cysts.
Complications of kidney cysts
kidney cysts lead to several complications, particularly when they are large or numerous. Some of the major complications associated with kidney cysts include:
Pain: Large cysts can cause persistent or intermittent pain in the back or side region of kidneys. The pain may be dull or sharp and can range in severity and the pain may also appear in waves.
Infection: Kidney cysts can become infected, leading to a condition called cyst infection or pyelonephritis(caused by bacteria). Symptoms of these include fever, chills, flank pain, and urinary symptoms such as frequent urination or burning sensation surrounding it.
Hemorrhage of cysts: Bleeding can occur within a kidney cyst, leading to blood in the urine (hematuria) and causing flank pain.
Kidney stones: Kidney cysts can obstruct the normal flow of urine, increasing the risk of developing kidney stones that are quite larger and disturbing in general. These result in severe pain and potential complications such as urinary tract obstruction and damage in normal kidney functioning.
High blood pressure: In some cases, kidney cysts can disrupt normal functioning and develop hypertension (high blood pressure).
Impairing kidney functions: Large or multiple cysts can affect the kidney function over time, leading to reduced kidney function or even kidney failure causing low GFR value. This is relatively uncommon but may occur in severe cases in kidney patients.
Not all the kidney cysts lead to complications, and many people with kidney cysts may remain asymptomatic for a longer time. Regular monitoring and medical evaluation are often recommended.
What are the different sizes of kidney cysts?
Kidney cysts can have varying size, ranging from very small to large in diameter. The size of kidney cysts is often measured in centimeters (cm). Here are some additional general classifications based on size:
Small sized cysts: Small kidney cysts are less than 1 cm in diameter. These cysts are generally considered benign and may not cause any symptoms or complications and remain asymptomatic. They often do not require treatment and may be monitored periodically to ensure its stability and dissolving them and flushing them out of the body.
Medium-sized cysts: Medium-sized kidney cyst ranges from 1 cm to 4 cm in diameter. These cysts may still be benign and asymptomatic, but they can cause discomfort or pain if they grow or exert pressure on surrounding structures. Medical monitoring is usually recommended to track their growth and assess its symptoms and medical procedures.
Large sized cysts: Large kidney cysts are quite larger than 4 cm in diameter. These cysts are more likely to cause symptoms, such as persistent pain, abdominal distension, or urinary symptoms additionally many more. Large cysts have an increased risk of complications, including infection, bleeding, or the obstruction of urine flow damaging kidney functions. Treatment options may include drainage, sclerotherapy, or surgical removal, depending on the patient conditions.
Does the location of kidney cysts matter?
Yes, the location of kidney cysts also matter in terms of symptoms and potential complications. The specific location of a kidney cyst can influence the impact on surrounding structures and likelihood of some specified issues. Here are some considerations on the location of kidney cysts:
Cortical cysts: These cysts develop in the outer layer of the kidney(cortex). They are benign and may not cause significant symptoms or complications in general. However, if they grow large in size, they can compress nearby renal structures and potentially affect kidney’s normal function.
Medullary cysts: Medullary cysts originate in the inner region of the kidney ( that is medulla). They are often associated with a genetic condition known as medullary cystic kidney disease (MCKD). These cysts can impair kidney function and lead to chronic kidney disease over time gradually.
Parapelvic cysts: Parapelvic cysts form in the renal pelvis or the area around the renal pelvis,that is the central part of the kidney where urine collects before draining into the ureter. Large parapelvic cysts can obstruct the normal flow of urine, leading to symptoms such as flank pain, urinary tract infections, or kidney stone formation along with pain and burning sensation.
Cysts in other areas: Kidney cysts can also occur in other specific locations of the body, such as the hilum (where the renal blood vessel and ureter enters the kidney) or the renal sinus (it is a cavity containing blood vessels, nerves, and lymphatics). The location of these cysts may influence the risk of complications in nearby areas and the potential impact on kidney functioning.
While the location of kidney cysts can provide some insights into potential issues, it is important to consider that the overall evaluation of cysts should consider their size, number, appearance, and the individual’s symptoms and medical history to account for their successful treatment.
How to decrease the size of kidney cysts?
There is actually no guaranteed and tested method to decrease the size of kidney cysts, particularly when they have already occurred in the body. But there are a few healthy ways that may help manage the cysts and potentially slow their growth and progression. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these methods can fluctuate, and it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized suggestions. Here are some strategies that may be considered valid:
Lifestyle modifications: Maintenance of a healthy lifestyle can support overall kidney health. Consuming a balanced diet with low amounts of salt and processed foods, engaging in regular physical activity, increasing blood circulation, managing stress levels, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption for a healthy body and kidneys .
Managing blood pressure: High blood pressure can potentially increase the growth of kidney cysts and deteriorate its function. Therefore, managing blood pressure through lifestyle changes, medication (if prescribed), and regular monitoring is very crucial. Following a low-sodium diet, a healthy weight, and taking antihypertensive medications as directed by a physician can help control blood pressure.
Prescribed Medications: In some cases, healthcare professionals may prescribe medications to manage symptoms associated with cysts and to slow their progression. These include blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), which flowers cyst growth.
Surgical interventions: If kidney cysts are causing significant symptoms, growing excessively, or leading to complications, surgical intervention may be considered in such critical cases. Procedures such as cyst aspiration, sclerotherapy, or surgical removal of the cyst or affected kidney tissue may be performed to remove it. The specific approach depends on the individual case and their conditions.
Can kidney cysts cause kidney failure?
Yes, in certain cases, kidney cysts can cause kidney failure(ESRD) probably when they grow larger in size. One of the main conditions related to kidney cysts leading to kidney failure is polycystic kidney disease (PKD). PKD is actually a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of multiple cysts . Over time, these cysts can enlarge, causing progressive damage to kidney tissue and its surrounding leading to impaired kidney function.
In Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), that is the common form of PKD, the cysts gradually replace normal kidney tissue, leading to a decline in casual function. As kidney function declines, the kidneys may not be able to perform their vital roles in filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood with the accumulation of toxic materials in blood, leading to kidney failure.
While not all the kidney cysts lead to kidney failure(ESRD), large cysts or a high number of cysts can potentially cause complications that may contribute to kidney dysfunctioning. These complications can include cysts compressing healthy kidney tissue, obstructing urine flow, causing infections, or triggering bleeding and pain. In such cases, if left untreated or unmanaged, the kidney damage can progress to kidney failure causing ESRD.
Medical evaluation is required to monitor kidney function and manage any associated conditions or complications.
How is kidney cysts related to end stage renal disease?
These hold an important relationship between kidney cysts and end-stage renal disease (ESRD), although they may be associated with specific conditions such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD)and many more kidney complications .
To overview further ,Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), both autosomal dominant (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive (ARPKD) forms a genetic condition characterized by the development of multiple cysts in the kidneys. As these cysts enlarge and multiply in number, they gradually replace healthy tissues from kidneys, leading to a progressive decline in kidney functioning gradually. Over time, there is a loss of functioning of kidney tissue can progress to end-stage renal disease, where the kidneys are severely damaged and unable to adequately perform their essential functions which is ultimately a kidney failure left with only treatment options, one, lifetime Dialysis and the other transplantation with proper maintenance of lifestyle habits.