Born with 1 Kidney... Side Effects?

Posted by Martin @mlemieux, Feb 7, 2016

Hey all,

Among many other things, I was born with 1 kidney. The left side is empty, my right kidney is double the size of a normal kidney should be. Multiple ultrasounds have confirmed this.

Over the years, especially as a child, I have had common problems sleeping from one side. I continue to have discomfort and pain in my abdomen area which can be annoying at times.

Small things like riding in a car for long periods tends to make things uncomfortable and affects good sitting posture.

– Curious to know if anyone else suffers from similar situations?
– What have you done about it?
– What eating habits have you tried to help with these effects?

and so on…

Thanks a million!

@Martin_Lemieux (Tweet)
@mlemieux (Mayo Clinic Connect)

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Kidney & Bladder Support Group.

I was also born with one kidney. My left kidney never developed. I also cannot sleep on my right side. I have gone yearly for a renal ultrasound as i also have a ureterocele, a little added bonus. I also have moderate hydronephrosis which is common in us one kidney folks. Certain meds should be avoided and certain foods should be eaten in moderation dependant on what your doctor says based on your kidneys condition. Have you seen a urologist or nephrologist?


Hi @darcyh,

Thank you so much for responding, I was beginning to think I might not find someone to connect with. I’ll be honest, I’m in the dark on this topic since no one has really discussed options I might have, especially when it comes to nutrition? My pharmacist is always helping me to avoid anything that can cause problems.

No I haven’t seen a urologist or nephrologist (that I can recall), would it help in any way?

Also, how does ureterocele affect you, what is it and what does it do to us (1’ners)?

Thanks a million!


Hello Martin, a ureterocele is a defect in the ureter that runs between your kidney and bladder. Where mine connects to the bladder the ureter is weakened and fills up like a water balloon before releasing the urine into my bladder. This is what causes my hydronephrosis. I have it monitored once a year with ultrasound to ensure my kidney is not weakening or becoming too enlarged. I would recommend seeing a nephrologist to check on your kidney and make sure it is functioning as it should. They may do lab work, urine and blood as well as an ultrasound. It would be good just for peace of mind as well, and the Doctor can advise you if there are any things you should be aware of. My Doctor also asked me to wear a medical alert bracelet that states solitary right kidney in the event of an accident so they can be proactive in preserving my kidney at all cost. I’m 43 and have not had any major issues. I avoid ibuprofen and limit the amount of citric acid I consume but that is based on my kidney and what my Doctor recommended. I have a strong family history of kidney cancer. My father his mother and her brother all had a kidney removed due to cancer. So for me the best approach is to be proactive and see my Doctor regularly. Hope this helps.


Hi @darcyh,

Thanks for the reply. Great info. I have the one kidney which they check regularly due to the mass amounts of medications I’m forced to take for other vascular related illnesses, I wear a med alert because I’m on blood thinners and recently, they found out I have an “elongated” bladder. Even the specialist didn’t really know what that could mean for me in the future. The ultrasound specialist found it to be quite odd indeed.

Moral of the story, I have to go to the bathroom quite often during the night which highly affects my sleep habits.

I will ask my GP next time I visit, thanks for the information.

Martin R. Lemieux

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