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Treating Kidney Disorders at St. Luke’s

Our kidneys play an important role in our health. They act as our filtering system, moving fluids and wastes from our bodies. They regulate our electrolyte balance and blood pressure. They stimulate red blood cell production.

There are many conditions that impact our kidneys, as well as our urinary tracts and bladders. Some of these conditions are listed below.

Kidney, Bladder and Urinary Disorders

Bladder diseases – Located in the lower abdomen, the bladder holds urine the body makes. Bladder diseases include infections, loss of bladder control (incontinence), an inflammation of the bladder wall (interstitial cystitis) and cancer.

Diabetic kidney problems – Conditions that result from the damage to the kidneys that diabetes can cause. If the kidney damage persists, the kidneys could eventually fail.

Dialysis – Treatments that clean blood of excess minerals, wastes and fluids for people whose suffer from kidney failure. Following are the two types of dialysis:

  • Hemodialysis – Using a machine to filter the blood.
  • Peritoneal dialysis – Filtering the blood by filling the abdomen with a cleansing solution that draws wastes and excess fluid in, then allowing the membrane that lines the abdomen to filter them out.

Interstitial cystitis – An inflammation of the bladder wall that causes discomfort or pain in the bladder and abdomen.

Kidney failure – Healthy kidneys filter out excess fluid, minerals and wastes from blood, and produce hormones that maintain bone strength and blood health. Meanwhile, damaged kidneys allow the wastes to build up in the body and cause further problems. Eventually, the kidneys fail and require treatment to do the work usually done by healthy kidneys.

Kidney stones – Solid “stones” made up of tiny crystals that develop in the kidney or ureters. Kidney stones form from dissolved minerals in urine that create a mass. As a stone moves down the ureter, it can cause a sharp pain. Kidney stones may either pass through the urinary system on their own or require professional treatment.  

Urostomy – A treatment for some disorders of the urinary system. During a urostomy, a surgeon diverts urine from the diseased section of the urinary tract, through a newly created opening in the abdomen and out of the body. The surgeon uses a segment of the small intestine to connect the ureters to the abdominal wall.

Urinary incontinence – Loss of bladder control because the muscles that maintain the bladder’s seal are either too weak or overactive. Urinary incontinence can cause symptoms that range from mild urine leakage to uncontrollable urination.

Urinary tract infections – Common infections of the urinary system, which is made up of the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Symptoms of urinary tract infections include:

  • A need to urinate frequently
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Urine that appears to be red or cloudy
  • Fever or fatigue

Wegener's granulomatosis – An inflammation of blood vessels that reduces blood flow and causes damage to important organs. While Wegener's granulomatosis can affect any organ, it most often damages the kidneys, lungs, windpipe and sinuses.

Wilms' tumor – A type of kidney cancer in children that causes a tumor to develop on one or both kidneys.