Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition that affects many women during their reproductive years. While it typically manifests in the pelvic region, in some instances, it may invade other organs, including the urinary system. This article explores the question: Can endometriosis on the ureter cause kidney shooting back pain?
Endometriosis is a chronic disease characterized by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the womb. This could include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the lining of the pelvic cavity. In some extreme cases, endometrial tissue may also affect organs outside the pelvic cavity, such as the bladder, bowel, or kidneys.
Understanding Ureteral Endometriosis
Ureteral endometriosis is an uncommon manifestation of the disease, accounting for about 1% of all endometriosis cases. It involves the ureters, the tubes that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder. This condition can lead to urinary tract obstruction, resulting in hydronephrosis, which is the swelling of a kidney due to a build-up of urine.
The Kidney-Endometriosis Connection
The kidneys can be impacted when one or both of the ureters become affected by endometriosis. The section of the ureter that is usually affected sits below the pelvic area.
Symptoms of Kidney Endometriosis
Kidney endometriosis can be asymptomatic for several years. If a person who has undergone surgery to treat endometriosis has ongoing urinary problems such as pain and infections, it may suggest the presence of urinary tract or kidney endometriosis. Symptoms may include:
- Pain in the lower back that gets worse with a monthly menstrual cycle. That pain can also extend down through the legs.
- Blood in the urine that can co-occur with the menstrual cycle
- Difficulty urinating
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
Read More: Understanding How Endometriosis Can Cause
Diagnosis of Kidney Endometriosis
The diagnosis of ureteral endometriosis relies heavily on clinical suspicion. As a result, they often misdiagnose patients with kidney cancer. This can lead to patients not receiving treatment on time, or receiving the wrong kind of treatment.
Kidney endometriosis can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure if left untreated. However, the best approach is to treat the condition by removing endometriosis lesions with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
The Silent Threat of Kidney Failure
One of the most concerning aspects of ureteral endometriosis is the silent threat of kidney failure. It is estimated that as many as 25% to 50% of nephrons are lost when there is evidence of ureteral endometriosis, and 30% of patients will have reduced kidney function at the time of diagnosis.
Impact on Kidney Health
The good news is that if one kidney isn’t functioning due to endometriosis, you can survive on the other kidney. So, if you find out you only have one fully-functioning kidney, it’s essential to take care of it.
In conclusion, while endometriosis is typically a pelvic condition, it can venture beyond and affect the urinary system, including the kidneys. This can lead to severe complications, including kidney failure. Therefore, it’s crucial for women with endometriosis to be aware of the potential symptoms and seek medical advice if they experience any signs of kidney problems. The early detection and treatment of ureteral endometriosis are crucial to preserving kidney function and overall health.