Polycystic Kidney Disease Treatment

Because there is no cure for polycystic kidney disease, treatment options for the disease focus on treating its symptoms and complications, while improving the quality of life. A few treatment methods include medicine, surgery, dialysis, and kidney transplantation. Keeping blood pressure under control through diet changes can also be important for a person with polycystic kidney disease.

An Overview of Polycystic Kidney Disease Treatment

There is no cure for polycystic kidney disease. Therefore, treating polycystic kidney disease involves reducing symptoms and complications of the disease, while improving the quality of life.
Specific treatment options vary based on the particular symptoms and their severity. Some of the treatment methods used for polycystic kidney disease include:
  • Medicine and surgery, to reduce pain
  • Antibiotics, to treat infections
  • Dialysis, to replace the function of failed kidneys
  • Kidney transplantation.

Pain Treatment for Polycystic Kidney Disease

Pain is a common symptom of polycystic kidney disease. For mild to moderate pain, a doctor will first suggest over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, such as aspirin or Tylenol®.
Surgery is recommended for most, but not all, cases of severe pain resulting from polycystic kidney disease. Surgery is used to shrink cysts, and it can also relieve pain in the back and sides (between the ribs and hips). However, surgery provides only temporary relief and usually does not slow the disease's progression toward kidney failure.
Headaches that are severe, or that seem to feel different from other headaches, might be caused by aneurysms (swollen blood vessels) in the brain. Headaches can also be caused by high blood pressure. People with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease should see a doctor if they have severe or recurring headaches, even before considering over-the-counter pain medications.

Polycystic Kidneys

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