Flank pain is often called abdominal pain. However, the two are not synonymous. Flank pain is sided pain along the region below the ribs till above the pelvis. Flank pain can be left-sided, right-sided or sometimes both sides can pain together. Abdominal pain is located more centrally around the abdomen region.

Flank Pain – Is Flank Pain Due To Kidney Problem?

Flank pain can be acute and mild. Acute flank pain is felt as a shooting pain on the left or right side along the abdomen. Acute flank pain is debilitating and during an acute flank pain attack, it is difficult to move or carry out any activity.

If any family member reports acute flank pain, it is best to take it to the hospital. Causes of acute flank pain can be life-threatening and delay in treatment can put lives at risk.

Flank Pain - Is Flank Pain Due To Kidney Problem?

Causes of flank pain

Flank pain can be caused due to several reasons, the common causes can be:

Gastric problems

Mild flank pain in the left or right side can be felt sometimes due to gas blockage in the abdominal cavities and canal. Gastric pain problems can be relieved by taking a glass of healing soda.

Healing soda sachets are available in all medical stores. The common brand is Eno. One glass of healing soda has no side effects and helps expel any trapped gas instantly. Once the trapped gas is expelled from the body an instant relief and subsidence of pain are reported in most cases.

Kidney illness

Illness of the kidney, pain, and inflammation in the kidney can radiate to the left or right flanks of the abdomen and cause flank pain. If the patient is undergoing treatment for kidney disease, it is best to call up consulting doctor for advice on curing flank pain.

Abdominal organ illness

Pain, inflammation, or disease of abdominal organs like liver, spleen, pancreas, and sometimes appendix and intestines can radiate to sides and cause flank pain. If the patient has a history of abdominal illness or has been diagnosed recently with abdominal illness, then the doctor’s prescription should be followed.

Complications like flank pain or other problems should be immediately reported to consulting doctor.

Harmful bacteria and parasites in the abdomen

Bad abdomen bacteria, parasites, and worms can sometimes invade the abdomen and cause flank or abdomen pain. A medical investigation of stool can reveal the presence of abdomen microbes. Abdomen microbes and worms are treated with antibiotics and albendazole.

Sometimes surgery may be needed to remove very long worms that infest the stomach and intestine.


Constipation can give rise to flank pain and abdominal pain. Some people are prone to constipation. Some medicines are also known to cause constipated bowel movements. General constipation can be avoided by taking sufficient fluids, roughage, green vegetables, and fruits in the diet.

If the patient is undergoing medicinal therapy and getting constipated it is best to consult with a doctor for constipation relief measures.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections can inflame the urinary pathway and cause pain in the lower abdomen region as well as abdomen flanks. Sometimes the body is not able to let out the extra water and retention of wastewater and urine can also give rise to flank pain.

A diet high in salt can cause water retention problems. Infection or swelling in the urethra has also been linked to water retention as water is not able to pass out freely. Doctors treat urinary tract problems with antibiotics to kill microbes, anti-inflammatory and analgesic agents to reduce pain and inflammation, and syrups for easing the release of water out of the body.

Muscle pull

Side abdominal muscle pull can cause flank pain at the side of the pull. Muscle pull can occur due to wrong standing, sitting, or sleeping posture or during exercising the body.

To get relief from a muscle pull, a muscle relaxant can be applied to the affected area. Muscle relaxants are available as lotions and sprays in medical dispensaries.

Hunger and dehydration

Going without food and water for long stretches of time can sometimes cause flank and abdominal pain. Keeping the stomach empty for hours may increase the acid above normal levels and form gas.

It is best to break the fast with some carb-rich filling food like sweetmeat balls and a glass of water. Sweet food and carb-rich food immediately absorb the excess acid and provide relief from pain.

Fast swallowing and eat

Swallowing foods and drinks very fast as on the go can result in abdomen and flank pain. Food should be always chewed properly before swallowing and drinks should be sipped down.

Hot and cold drinks should not be gulped down in a hurry.

Should you take pain killers for flank pain?

One dose of pain killers like Ibugesic can be given for acute flank pain to relieve patients while arranging for the nearest hospital visit.