Yes, it’s true, your kidneys do look like the kidney bean.
You have one on the right and one on the left, seated just under and behind the 11th and 12th ribs at the upper portion of your low back. They are held in place solely by dense connective tissue and the fat around them that protects them. The right is usually a little lower than the left. These little “beans” might be small, but they are extremely important.
Your kidneys are your whole body’s filter system. They filter harmful substances from the blood, working through 150 liters of blood per day! The kidneys regulate your blood volume and the pressure. Waste is made into urine that is sent down to the bladder through your ureters (long tubes that drain into the bladder). They also produce important hormones that regulates your salt and water balance, and calcium and glucose (sugar) balance.
So, how do we keep these special glands healthy? You guessed it! Eat well, manage your weight and blood pressure, stop smoking, drink in moderation, and manage your salt intake (don’t go crazy on the salt, folks). Also, make sure to get regular physicals in order to detect problems early on that can prevent damage to this vital filtration system.
In physical therapy, we do not directly treat the kidney, but we treat the surrounding tissues and the connected organs such as the bladder. Your kidneys can impact your bladder function and its ability to empty. Likewise, problems with your bladder and its ability to empty can impact the kidneys. A pelvic physical therapist will have a good understanding of red flags that indicate you should see your doctor about potential kidney problems, and we certainly can help you develop good habits that will in turn help you maintain kidney health.
In conclusion—love your beans!
If you think you might have a kidney or bladder problem, we are here to talk it through with you. We offer a 15-minute discovery session or an extensive evaluation.