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Signs & symptoms of a floating kidney

Updated February 21, 2017

A floating kidney, also known as nephroptosis, a movable kidney or a wandering kidney, involves a downward movement of the kidney and can be painful if not properly treated.

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"Floating kidney" is a condition in which a kidney moves down into the pelvis when a person stands. It is more common in women than in men. Most people have no symptoms at all, and if there are no symptoms, treatment is not necessary.


Floating kidney usually is a congenital defect, but it may also be caused by a hard blow to the abdomen or lifting a heavy object.


Some people do experience symptoms, which include nausea, chills, pain, high blood pressure, or blood or protein in the urine. The pain can sometimes be intense when the person is standing but typically subsides when she lies down.


Floating kidney usually is not diagnosed unless symptoms arise. Doctors may do physical exams, but a full diagnosis usually involves an X-ray of the bladder and kidneys.


If pain persists, surgery is required to correct the problem.

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About the Author

Beth Wankel

Beth Wankel is currently working as a freelance writer, editor and as a parenting blogger. She holds a bachelor's degree in English, with a minor in print journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She has several years of professional writing and editing experience, namely web writing. Wankel resides in San Francisco with her husband and young son.

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