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Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Kanchan Ganda, M.D.
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1. Kidneys and the Urinary Tract

If the kidneys are affected due to any urinary tract disorder, it may result in kidney pain in the abdomen or the back. Kidney pain in the back is felt in the loins, near the costovertebral angle. Renal colic can occur following sudden obstruction of the ureter by a urinary stone or blood clots.

Inflammation of the bladder is referred to as cystitis. Inflammation of the ureter is referred to as urethritis. Urethritis and cystitis result in painful urination, usually felt as a burning, stabbing sensation. The urine may also be “salmon-colored” or bloody if infection, inflammation, tumor, or renal stones are present which cause hematuria. The bleeding in the urine is referred to as hematuria. Polyuria is the term used for an increase in 24-hour urine volume. The patient passes more than three liters of urine per day.

Nocturia refers to increased urinary frequency at night. The patient states that he/she frequently wakes up during the night to go to the toilet. Nocturia signals renal disease or polyuria associated with diabetes.

Polydypsia refers to an increased intake of fluids. This leads to polyuria. Thus renal infections or stones are often associated with dysuria, microscopic hematuria, resulting in a “salmon-colored” urine.

Chronic renal disease causes ankle and facial swelling, which is most prominent on awakening. Pitting edema will occur over the ankle or face depending on the location of the edema when you press on the swelling.