Can Tuberculosis Affect the Kidneys?

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs. However, it can hit other organs in a person’s body. Are the kidneys one of these? Before going forward onto this information, please remember that what you read here should not be taken as advice from qualified medical personnel, as I’m not qualified to diagnose or treat any condition, including TB. Please talk with a doctor or other medical professional if you’re thinking that you, or someone you know, might have tuberculosis.

To respond briefly, yes, TB can affect a person’s kidneys. This condition is known as renal tuberculosis. Along with the general symptoms of TB, it can also lead to kidney pain.

If the infection is in the lungs, symptoms can include a coughing up of blood known as hemoptysis. Night sweats are frequently mentioned as a characteristic symptom of this condition. Weight loss, sometimes known as consumption, is also a potential sign. A chronic cough might also be found in the individual. Please keep in mind that these symptoms can also be seen in other medical conditions; additionally, a person might be infected with tuberculosis and not display these.

Many cases of TB are asymptomatic — that is, the patient does not show any symptoms. This beginning stage is known as the latent period of the infection. Only about ten percent progress to an active stage in which symptoms appear. If the disease reaches this point and is left untreated, it is fatal roughly half the time. Treatment involves the use of antibiotics.