What Are the Symptoms of a Floating Kidney?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 February 2019
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A floating kidney, medically known as nephroptosis, is a medical condition in which the kidney moves downward into the pelvic area of the body, especially when a person is standing. Some patients experience no side effects from this condition, while others may have a variety of difficulties. Some of the most common symptoms include pain, nausea, and changes in blood pressure. There may also be protein or blood in the urine, although this is typically detectable only through routine urine tests at a doctor's office. Any questions or concerns about potential floating kidney symptoms should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Pain is the most frequently reported symptom associated with the presence of a floating kidney. The discomfort is typically felt in the back or side, although abdominal pain is also commonly reported. This pain is usually dull and tends to come and go, often becoming worse during or after physical activity. Some patients may experience such severe pain that over-the-counter or prescription medications are needed, especially if the pain becomes constant rather than intermittent.


The delicate blood vessels in the floating kidney may become twisted or compressed, leading to a potential medical crisis. These symptoms often involve severe abdominal pain that may come on suddenly. Fever, chills, and nausea are frequently present when this complication arises. Emergency medical attention is needed when these symptoms develop, as twisted blood vessels could cause the affected kidney to stop working properly and could even lead to a life-threatening medical situation.

Fatigue, headache, and visual disturbances sometimes occur as a result of having a floating kidney. Gastrointestinal problems may arise, including nausea, persistent heartburn, or vomiting. In some cases, the patient may notice blood in the vomit. Gastrointestinal disturbances that occur due to this condition are often worse after eating or when standing suddenly from a seated position.

Any symptoms that may indicate the presence of a floating kidney should be discussed with a doctor for further medical evaluation. Diagnostic tests such as x-rays are usually needed in order to confirm a suspected diagnosis. Over-the-counter or prescription medications often provide sufficient pain relief, although some patients may continue to have excruciating pain in spite of the medications. When this occurs, surgical intervention may be needed in order to prevent the kidney from moving around, thus stopping the pain.


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My daughter has been suffering with an untreated floating kidney for almost 10 years. No one would believe her. She has had several diagnosis from acid reflux (surgery); appendicitis (removed); gall stones (removed); stents inserted and removed in her ureter (every six weeks) through three pregnancies, and she to this day, has not been diagnosed correctly!

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