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Can you tell me what are some causes of having one enlarged kidney? My niece tells me she has one enlarged kidney. She is unaware that I know about her heavy drinking (alcohol)problem. Your assistance is appreciated. Thank you.

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replied February 15th, 2010
Kidney Conditions Answer A10007
Hi and welcome to the forum! I am glad that I can help you.

You would like to know the causes of enlarged kidneys.

Enlarged kidneys, one or both, may be congenital, but this condition is rare. Other causes may be cysts in the kidney tissue(one or many), tumors, hydronephrosis due to kidney stones, urine reflux, etc. Usually enlargement of the kidney may appear due to hydronephrosis, a condition where the urine that is normally produced in the healthy kidney tissue can't pass through the ureters due to kidney stones, tumor ingrowth, pressure of cysts, malrotation of the kidneys, etc. The alcohol itself doesn't do any damage to the kidney tissue, but it causes dehydration of the body and consequently polyuria(hyper-production of urine) which, if there is any stop in the pelvis (part of the kidney) or the ureters, causes pressure on the kidney tissue and stretches it. There is a great connection between alcohol and liver diseases like steatotic(fatty) liver and cirrhosis.

According to the data that you described your niece experiences an enlarged kidney. You may consider advising her to see a specialist for kidney diseases to rule out kidney cysts, kidney stones or urine reflux. She may also consider having an ultrasound exam of her liver and lipids blood levels to rule out steatosis(fatty) of the liver.

Please keep in mind that I provide medical information only. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please advise your niece to contact her doctor or other qualified healthcare provider such as a specialist for kidney diseases for further advice and information about diagnosis and treatment options for her current condition.

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