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Can Anxiety Cause Kidney Problems

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

Can Anxiety Cause Kidney Problems

Anxiety is often discussed as though it is only one condition. It's really many different types of conditions that are all related to anxious thoughts or feelings. Panic disorder is very different from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is very different from social anxiety disorder, etc.

However they do share many similarities, and one of them is that nearly every type of anxiety can create health anxiety: worrying that something is wrong with your health. Naturally, that can lead to concerns over different parts of your body, and one of the most common is a concern over kidney problems.

Your Kidney Health

It's important to note two things. First, there are many easy to complete kidney health tests. Go to your doctor and ask them, and they'll likely be happy to provide you with a cup to run all the tests they need. There's little excuse for avoiding these tests.

Second, those that are suffering from kidney problems may experience anxiety over these health issues. Remember, even if you are suffering from a physical health problem that doesn't mean you should have to live with anxiety.

Origin of Kidney Health Worries

The kidneys are an unusual organ to worry about, and yet they're a very common one for those that have anxiety. So why is it that people become so concerned about the health of their kidneys? The answer is the following:

  • Extra Urination Anxiety can cause more frequent urination. When you experience anxiety, the part of your brain that controls the withholding urination slows down because anxiety requires resources to be sent to other parts of your brain. This can lead to concerns over your renal health, although nothing is wrong.
  • Lower Back Pain Lower back pain is also very common with anxiety. Lower back pain comes from severe stress and tension, and yet it's associated with some conditions that affect the kidneys as well which can have many people worried about their kidney health.
  • Life Experiences Anyone that suffers from anxiety and has had a friend or family member diagnosed with a terrible kidney condition is at risk for developing anxiety over the idea of poor kidneys. Anxiety can turn life experiences into very real concerns, and so kidney health concerns are one of the issues that can come up when you see it in others.
  • Urine Color Urine color is another issue that can cause anxiety. Many people check their urine color for diseases habitually, and every once in a while the color of a person's urine may be very different than what they expect. This can create concerns that the urine color changes are due to kidney problems.

One thing to note is that none of these are kidney problems, so much as they're perceived kidney problems. That's because there are currently no known short-term kidney issues that result from anxiety. Anxiety does have an effect on DNA over the course of decades and can affect your health, but there aren't any permanent or damaging kidney health issues that are linked to anxiety.

Hypersensitivity and Health Monitoring

Anxiety also causes two different symptoms that can create fears over kidney health. The first is known as hypersensitivity. Hypersensitivity is when the body becomes too sensitive to any change in the way that you feel. It's a common condition with all types of anxiety, especially in those that have panic attacks.

Hypersensitivity is an anxiety symptom, and it's not clear how it occurs, but the result is that you pay such close attention to your body that you notice everything - every change, every feeling, every sensation - including those that are so minor that those without anxiety may not even notice them. When you notice these sensations, your mind tends to amplify them, and this can lead to concerns over health in the areas that the sensations take place.

Another symptom of anxiety is health monitoring. This is when you are always checking to make sure that you're in good health, even though there's little reason to check so often. Some people check their pulse, some people check their stool, some people check their eyes, and some people check their urine.

Urine color changes all the time and often is different based on what you eat. While there are urine colors that are warning signs of something else, the truth is that urine can change color for strange reasons many of which are meaningless. Those that check their urine every day are bound to feel that they notice coloration differences that may not be important. That will cause anxiety over kidney health, despite no real symptoms.

How to Overcome Kidney Anxiety

When you experience this level of anxiety over the health of your kidneys, the only true solution is to go to a doctor. There are many easy kidney function tests that take seconds and aren't very expensive. The kidneys play such an important role in the body that when they're malfunctioning it's often apparent to doctors, who can test urine health and other body functions to let you know if something is wrong.

No matter how many times you visit the doctor, there is always going to be that concern that they missed something in the back of your mind. That's what living with anxiety does to you, which is why you no matter what need to make sure that you are addressing your anxiety as well.

Questions? Comments?

Do you have a specific question that this article didn’t answered? Send us a message and we’ll answer it for you!

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Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

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