Urology of Greater Atlanta

Kidney Cysts: Understanding Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

The majority of kidney cysts are harmless. However, some can cause serious symptoms and complications. It is essential to clearly understand this condition, including its symptoms, causes, and available treatments. 

In this article, we will explore kidney cysts in-depth, providing valuable information to help you confidently navigate this condition and make informed decisions about your health. Whether you suspect you have kidney cysts or simply want to expand your knowledge, this article is designed to be your go-to resource.

If you have any concerns regarding your renal health, contact the board-certified urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality services and treatments. Our locations are conveniently located throughout Georgia.

What Are Kidney Cysts?

Kidney cysts (also known as renal cysts) are fluid-filled sacs that develop within or on the kidneys. They can vary in size and may occur in one or both kidneys. Kidney cysts are quite common, especially as people age.

In many cases, these cysts are simple and benign, meaning they don’t cause any harm or affect kidney function. However, complex cysts or cysts that enlarge can impair kidney function and lead to symptoms.

The Symptoms of Kidney Cysts

In most instances, kidney cysts do not cause noticeable symptoms. They are often discovered incidentally during imaging tests for unrelated conditions. However, if symptoms do arise, they may include:

  • Dull pain in the upper abdomen or back
  • Infection, causing fever
  • Changes in urine flow as it blocks the urinary tract

What Causes Simple Kidney Cysts?

The exact causes of simple kidney cysts are still not fully understood. However, they are believed to develop when small tubules in the kidneys become blocked and fill with fluid, forming cysts.

When to See a Doctor About Renal Cysts

If you experience any persistent symptoms related to renal cysts or if you’re concerned about your kidney health, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Our board-certified doctors at Urology of Greater Atlanta are here to provide expert guidance and personalized care. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications and manage any symptoms effectively.

Risk Factors for Kidney Cysts

While kidney cysts can occur in anyone, certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of their development. These include:

  • Age: Kidney cysts are more common in individuals aged 50 and above.
  • Gender: Men are more likely to develop kidney cysts than women.
  • Family History: A family history of kidney cysts or polycystic kidney disease increases the risk.
  • Genetic Conditions: Certain genetic disorders, such as von Hippel-Lindau disease, increase the risk of developing kidney cysts.
  • Smoking: Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of kidney cysts.

Diagnostic Tests

To accurately diagnose kidney cysts, your doctor may recommend the following tests:

  • Imaging Tests: Ultrasound, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help visualize the cysts and assess their size and characteristics.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests may be conducted to evaluate kidney function and rule out other potential causes of symptoms.

Treatments for Kidney Cysts

A simple kidney cyst does not usually require treatment. If further symptoms or complications occur, the following treatments may be needed:

  • Drainage: A thin needle is used to drain fluid from the cyst, relieving symptoms and reducing its size.
  • Sclerotherapy: A sclerosing agent is injected into the cyst to shrink it and prevent recurrence.
  • Surgery: If the cyst is large, causes severe symptoms, or raises concerns about malignancy, surgical removal may be necessary.

Our experienced urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta will assess your specific condition and provide personalized recommendations for the most appropriate treatment approach.

Key Takeaways Regarding Kidney Cysts

Kidney cysts are fluid-filled sacs that commonly occur in the kidneys. While simple cysts are harmless, some cysts can cause symptoms and impact kidney function.

If you suspect you have kidney cysts or are experiencing related symptoms, contact Urology of Greater Atlanta. Our board-certified urologists are equipped with the expertise and experience to provide top-quality care and guide you through diagnosis and treatment options.

Schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations throughout Georgia. Your kidney health is our priority. Contact us today!

Our urologist team operates out of many locations and a surgical center to serve the needs of all Northern Georgia residents.


Stockbridge, Country Club Drive

290 Country Club Drive Suite 100, Stockbridge, GA 30281

Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge Drive

4799 Blue Ridge Drive Suite 107, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Sandy Springs

1100 Lake Hearn Drive NE STE 320
Atlanta, GA 30342

Griffin, West College Street

230 West College Street Bldg. C, Griffin, GA 30224

Spivey Station

7823 Spivey Station Blvd Suite 210, Jonesboro, GA 30236


4143 Hospital Drive NE Covington, GA 30014