What are the treatments for kidney cysts?

Updated February 21, 2017

According to the Mayo Clinic, kidney cysts are small sacs of fluid that develop in the kidneys. They can grow on their own or as a result of a disease like polycystic kidney disease or multicystic kidney dysplasia. If cysts are problematic, there are effective strategies to treat them. Proper kidney cyst treatment is based on the cause and whether the cysts are causing pain or other health issues.

Simple Kidney Cysts

Simple kidney cysts are very common, especially in people over age 50. The Mayo Clinic says that up to 50 per cent of people in that age range have at least one cyst. These kidney cysts are almost always benign and harmless. They only require treatment if they get large enough to interfere with other organs. If this happens, treatment consists of surgical removal of the cyst.

Polycystic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease causes cyst clusters to grow in the kidneys. They may cause pain that can be treated with over-the-counter medication. However, if the pain becomes too severe to control with over-the-counter drugs, or if the cysts obstruct blood vessels or organs in your body, the Mayo Clinic says they may need to be surgically drained. This involves the removal of the watery fluid that fills the sacs.

Multicystic Kidney Dysplasia

Multicystic kidney dysplasia results from abnormal fetal development. Instead of growing a normal kidney, the foetus grows a mass of cysts that rarely have any normal functioning. Usually the cysts only grow on one side, with a normal kidney on the other. Children's Boston Hospital says the cysts are treated by surgical removal, either through an incision or a laparoscopic procedure.

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About the Author

Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."