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What is Floating Kidney, Know its Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Floating kidney is termed as nephroptosis in medical terms and commonly known as hypermobile kidney or wandering kidney. In this condition, a person’s kidney falls downwards on standing up from sitting or sleeping position. Usually, whenever a person stands, the position of kidney remains the same, as it is supported by the surrounding structures, which gets disturbed in floating kidney. Knowing about the symptoms of floating kidney, along with its causes, diagnosis and the treatment options can help to manage the condition.

The condition of floating kidney occurs only when there is no tissue support for the kidney to rest on. Both men and women can experience a floating kidney, but sometimes it can affect women more. Getting a proper treatment for floating kidney is very important if the condition turns out to be symptomatic.

What is Floating Kidney?

Causes of Floating Kidney

Certain conditions and factors can be considered as contributing causes of floating kidney. These include,

  • Women who are thin, with a long waist and lack necessary body fat to support the kidney can be at greater risk. When there is no essential fat in the body, to support the body organs like kidney, it usually drops down, leading to problem of floating kidney. This problem is known to be one of the major causes of floating kidney in women.
  • Trauma or injury near the kidney region, which leads to loss of significant tissue, surrounding the kidney, can be an important cause of floating kidney problem.

Symptoms of Floating Kidney

While some may not clearly experience any symptoms of floating kidney, some may complain of certain symptoms. Some of these include

  • A sensation of something floating in the abdominal region,
  • Vague discomfort or pain in the kidney region or abdominal area on getting up from sleeping or sitting posture.
  • Feeling of nausea, vomiting
  • Some people may experience chills and pain or discomfort in the back.
  • As the kidney descends from its original position the ureter can get kinked, which can cause discomfort during urination. Some may experience pain during urination.
  • In some cases, problems in kidney and ureters can also cause bleeding and lead to blood stained urine.

Diagnosis of Floating Kidney

For the diagnosis of floating kidney, x-ray check in sitting and standing positions is required. This makes sure that whether the person is dealing with the problem of floating kidney or not and can confirm the diagnosis. A kidney sonogram can help to understand the severity of the problem and appropriate treatment can be planned.

Treatment of Floating Kidney

People, who do not experience any symptoms of floating kidney, may not require any treatment. However, if symptoms are present, appropriate treatment needs to be given. Treatment of floating kidney can be managed with necessary precautions, rest and diet. Medicines may be prescribed, if required.

Treatment of floating kidney may include symptomatic treatment or steps to improve the complaints caused due to kinking of the ureter. These treatment options include

  • Resting in lying position
  • Pain, if present can be treated with medicines and warm compresses.

For support – A belt or brace with adequate fat pads may be prescribed, so that it can support the area around the floating kidney and prevent it from floating. Diet, which helps to increase the fat around the abdominal area may be prescribed, so that fat tissue may be able to provide support to the floating kidney.

If these treatment options do not work well, surgical treatment options may be considered in few cases. A surgical procedure termed nephrophexy, may be performed to maintain the kidney in its original position. With advancement in medical technology, this surgery can be performed laparoscopically, which can be less painful and less time consuming.

People dealing with symptoms of floating kidney should seek medical opinion and take the necessary action. It is important to follow medical advice, follow simple treatment measures to alleviate pain and discomfort caused due to floating kidney.


  1. MedlinePlus. (2021). Nephroptosis. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001269.htm
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021). Kidney Disease Statistics for the United States. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/kidney-disease
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 27, 2023

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