What are the symptoms and treatment for kidney malformations?

Symptom Database

Kidney malformations, also known as kidney abnormalities or kidney defects, refer to structural abnormalities in the kidneys that are present at birth. These renal malformations can range from minor variations in kidney shape to more severe defects that affect the function of the organ. Congenital kidney malformations, congenital kidney abnormalities, and congenital kidney defects are all terms used to describe these conditions. Understanding the symptoms and treatment options for kidney malformations is crucial for early detection and management of these conditions.

Symptoms of Kidney Malformations

The symptoms of kidney malformations can vary depending on the severity and type of defect. In some cases, individuals may not experience any symptoms and the condition may only be detected during routine medical examinations or imaging tests. However, in more severe cases, the following symptoms may be present:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet
  • Reduced urine output
  • Developmental delays in children

If you or your child experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Types of Kidney Malformations

There are several types of kidney malformations, each with its own unique characteristics and implications. Some common types include:

Renal Agenesis

Renal agenesis refers to the absence of one or both kidneys. This condition can be unilateral, affecting only one kidney, or bilateral, affecting both kidneys. Renal agenesis can lead to complications such as urinary tract infections and kidney damage.

Duplicated Kidney

A duplicated kidney occurs when an individual has two separate kidneys on one side of the body. Each kidney may have its own ureter, or they may share a single ureter. This condition is usually asymptomatic and does not require treatment unless complications arise.

Kidney Cysts

Kidney cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the kidneys. They can be present at birth or develop later in life. While most kidney cysts are benign and do not cause symptoms, larger cysts or multiple cysts can lead to pain, infection, or kidney dysfunction.

Kidney Dysplasia

Kidney dysplasia is a condition in which the kidneys do not develop properly in the womb. This can result in abnormal kidney structure and function. In some cases, kidney dysplasia can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Treatment for Kidney Malformations

The treatment options for kidney malformations depend on the specific type and severity of the condition. In some cases, no treatment may be necessary if the malformation does not cause any symptoms or complications. However, if treatment is required, it may include:


Medication may be prescribed to manage symptoms such as high blood pressure or urinary tract infections. These medications can help control blood pressure and prevent further kidney damage.


In certain cases, surgery may be necessary to correct or remove the malformation. For example, if a kidney cyst is causing pain or infection, it may be drained or surgically removed. In more severe cases, such as renal agenesis or kidney dysplasia, a kidney transplant may be required.

Monitoring and Supportive Care

Regular monitoring and supportive care are essential for individuals with kidney malformations. This may involve regular check-ups, imaging tests, and blood work to assess kidney function and detect any potential complications. Additionally, lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can help support kidney health.


Kidney malformations, or kidney abnormalities, can vary in severity and can have significant implications for an individual’s health. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking early medical intervention is crucial for proper diagnosis and management of these conditions. Treatment options may include medication, surgery, or ongoing monitoring and supportive care. By understanding the symptoms and treatment options for kidney malformations, individuals and healthcare professionals can work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for those affected by these conditions.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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