The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the back just beneath the ribcage, one on each side of the spine. They play an important role in the urinary system by filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood and excreting them from the body as urine. The kidneys also produce hormones that stimulate the production of red blood cells and regulate blood pressure.
Various conditions can affect the kidneys, including kidney cancer, kidney cysts, kidney stones, infections, and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Symptoms of kidney problems may also include pain or discomfort in the back or side, urinary infections that do not respond to a short course of antibiotics, frequent urination, blood in the urine, or passing stones in the urine.
Kidney problems are managed by two different types of medical specialist - urologists and nephrologists. A urologist (such as Mr. Sewell) is a surgeon who specialises in the surgical treatment of problems related to the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, and ureters. Urologists are trained to diagnose and treat conditions such as kidney stones, kidney tumours, urinary tract infections, and bladder control problems. Urologists also perform surgical procedures on the kidneys, such as pyeloplasty, nephrectomy, and partial nephrectomy.
In general, a nephrologist may be consulted for management of chronic kidney disease or dialysis/kidney transplantation, while a urologist may be consulted when a patient has a urinary tract infection or a problem that requires surgical intervention. However, in many cases, the two specialists may work together to provide comprehensive care for patients with complex kidney and urinary system problems.