Nephroptosis is a condition in which one or both kidneys drop into the abdomen when standing up. The kidneys are a set of two bean-shaped organs responsible for filtering waste from the blood and producing urine in the body. They’re located in the abdomen on either side of the spine, just below the rib cage. Nephroptosis may also be called floating kidney, wandering kidney, or renal ptosis.
Most people with nephroptosis have no symptoms at all. In some individuals, symptoms occur when standing and are often relieved when lying down. These symptoms include:
- a sharp side (flank) pain that radiates into the groin
- high blood pressure
- an abdominal mass when standing upright
- a weighing feeling in the abdomen
- hematuria (blood in the urine)
- proteinuria (excessive protein in the urine)
- a history of repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Nephroptosis is a congenital condition, which means you are born with it. Like the other organs, the kidneys are relatively mobile. They can shift normally a couple centimeters without problems. In nephroptosis, however, the kidney or kidneys descend more than five centimeters when moving from a lying-down position to standing up. The exact reason for this is not well understood. It’s believed that the movement of the kidney is related to insufficient support from certain structures or the connective tissue surrounding the kidneys.