Kidneys Home > Polycystic Kidney Disease Symptoms

A person with polycystic kidney disease will experience symptoms as a result of the damage caused by cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that develop in the kidneys. The signs and symptoms of polycystic kidney disease will vary based on the type of the condition a person has. For example, symptoms of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease include headaches and pain in the back and the sides. Polycystic kidney disease symptoms that may occur in someone with acquired cystic kidney disease include urinary tract infections and a decrease in urination.

An Overview of Polycystic Kidney Disease Symptoms and Signs

When a person has polycystic kidney disease (PKD), clusters of fluid-filled sacs (cysts) develop in the kidneys and interfere with their ability to filter waste products from the blood. The growth of cysts causes the kidneys to become enlarged, and can lead to kidney failure. Cysts may also develop in other organs, particularly the liver, spleen, and pancreas. Symptoms occur because of these cysts and the damage they cause.
We will now look at symptoms associated with the three types of polycystic kidney disease:

Symptoms of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease

The most common symptoms of this condition are:
  • Pain in the back and the sides (between the ribs and hips)
  • Headaches.
When a person experiences these headaches, the dull pain can be temporary or persistent, and mild or severe.
Other symptoms seen in autosomal dominant PKD include:
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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