Urology Expert Forum
Continuous Flank pain....
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Continuous Flank pain....

I have had flank pain for about two months now. Not sudden and severe, but a CONSTANT throbbing. Sometimes it is worse than others, and usually it is worse on the right side. I have had urinaylsis and blood work and they come out fine. I am otherwise very healthy, but I do suffer from sever constipation, sometimes not using the bathroom for two and three weeks (literally), despite a healthy diet with lots of fiber, fruit, veggies, and water. I was taking an herbal supplement for about a month, because a local health food store recommended it and said that it helps with constipation. I took the amount they told me too and it definately helped with the constipation, very well actually. But I can relate the onset of this kidney paid to around the time I started taking that Colon Cleanse herbal supplement. I asked a herbalsit if what I was taking could make my kidneys hurt. She asked what the ingredients were and after telling her the ingredients and what I was told to take, she said "Good Lord, please stop taking that immedieately...that is too high of a dosage and too many purging herbs in on supplement, you could do damage to your kidneys"... So, I stopped taking it over a month and a half ago, but my kidneys still hurt me constantly. I can sometimes get relief from an 800mg Motin. My question is... Can you damage your kidneys from these types of herbal supplements and, if so, how would you know? What kinds of tests should I ask my doctor for to help determine it? I do not have health insurance so I do not want to have to pay for a bunch of unnessary tests. Also, if you do not think it is the herbs, is there a correlation between severe constipation, and this kind of pain?
Thank-you for your help.
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To test for the kidneys, there are blood tests to evaluate for function (i.e. serum creatinine).  A physician can use this calculation to determine kidney function.  There are certainly a lot of medications and herbal supplements that can damage the kidneys.  

Regarding the flank pain - I would suggest some imaging to make sure that a stone or mass is not present.  This can be done via an ultrasound or CT scan.

For the chronic constipation, I would suggest an endoscopy (i.e. colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy) to evaluate for any anatomical masses or strictures that may be causing your symptoms.  It is definitely possible for constipation to cause flank pain.  This can be discussed with your personal physician or gastroenterologist.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
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