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Life with One Kidney: What to Expect and How Physiotherapy Can Help

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Did you know that your body can also function efficiently with one kidney? Although by default we have two kidneys more often than not, even one is enough to live a healthy and happy life. However, you must know that there are certain safety precautions you need to follow when you're living with one kidney.

The key to maintaining a properly functioning kidney is to eat and live healthy. Whether it is exercise or a balanced diet, either can be useful in living a good life. Regular checkups with your doctor can help to avoid potential side effects.

Apart from the holistic treatment method, Physiotherapy can also be quite an efficient treatment to overcome the challenges of one kidney. You can consult the expert physiotherapists at FitOFine, a leading physiotherapy clinic in Bardhaman, to stay in the pink of your health with one kidney. With customized treatment plans and affordable care, you will be able to overcome the pain and challenges of one kidney.

Before you start your treatment, let us take a look at what life with one kidney is like and how physiotherapy can help to treat it.

Understanding Life with One Kidney

Your kidneys are responsible for filtering waste out of your body. They also help remove any extra fluid from the blood, through proper excretion of urine. Even if you have one kidney, that is enough to filter out the waste materials from the blood, ensuring a healthy functioning body.

Our bodies are meant to have two kidneys. However, there are situations due to which you may have one kidney. These include:

  • Many people are born with only one kidney, which isn't something unusual.

  • Often doctors recommend removing a kidney (nephrectomy) to get rid of a serious injury or medical condition.

  • In the case of a kidney transplant.

  • Kidney donation to someone who needed a transplant.

It is not unusual to have one kidney, provided that only one is functional. If you were born with one kidney, you must know that your body is adapted to it. The single functional kidney will be responsible for doing the job of both kidneys.

On the other hand, if you were born with two kidneys but had to get one removed due to surgery or transplant, the other will not compensate. As a result, all kidney functions will be carried out, but they would be done in half because your body wasn't ready for the change.

If you're living with one kidney (irrespective of the reason), taking proper care of it is of utmost importance. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will ensure lesser pressure on one kidney. As a result, it would function properly, preventing any danger to your life.

Potential Challenges of Living with One Kidney

Your kidneys not only help to maintain body fluid balance but also keeps your protein level in check. They are responsible for controlling blood pressure as well. However, in the case of a single kidney, there is an increased chance of suffering from the following:

  • Proteinuria: frequently losing protein in the urine

  • Excessive fluid retention

  • Hypertension: Increased blood pressure

  • Frequently developing kidney stones

  • Kidney infections

When you have a single kidney, there is no backup. So, taking proper care of your remaining kidney is extremely crucial. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially in terms of diet and exercise, could positively impact the kidney. It is advisable to avoid alcohol to prevent any damage from escalating for your single kidney.

A healthy diet for healthy kidney functioning should have vegetables, whole grains, fruits, protein, and limited sodium and protein consumption. Since you don't want to put extra pressure on your one kidney, it is advisable to constantly check with your doctor to ensure you are maintaining the correct body weight.

Since there's a risk of various problems, you must check your kidney function, filtration, and waste removal from time to time. Regular monitoring of the same and conducting urine tests ensures that the kidneys are functioning fine. The test would test factors like glomerular filtration rate, creatinine, and urine protein levels. If the levels are normal, it indicates that the kidneys are functioning correctly.

You must schedule frequent doctor appointments to ensure your kidney is fine or if there are any concerns to be addressed.

Living a Healthy Life with One Kidney

Living a healthy life with one kidney is possible if you take proper care of your body. The first step to ensure this is to maintain your diet. You must remember that now you have only one kidney. So, you cannot eat anything you want. Instead, you must follow a restricted diet that is healthy and nutritious to keep your kidneys healthy.

Having one kidney means you must also be careful with your water intake. Staying hydrated will help your kidney function properly. However, you must not drink too much water, or it will lead to fluid retention in the body, which can cause more damage. So, how do you stay hydrated under such restrictions? You can have a few sips of water every hour to ensure you're not drinking too much and are yet hydrated for optimal kidney functioning.

It is advisable to avoid substances that can cause harm to your kidney. It may include smoking, alcohol consumption, or even certain medicines. Moreover, it would help if you avoided overusing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This is mostly because these medicines can affect the functioning of the kidney.

The below table shows all types of nephrotoxic drugs. The mentioned list of drugs is not totally contraindicated for a person with single Kidney, but before administering there drugs one should take prior advice from doctor. Keep in your mind that one Kidney is enough for a healthy leaving of a person, but care must be taken to prevent the damage of the remaining kidney.

When you're living with one kidney, you must exercise regularly. Doctors recommend doing so to maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure management. This also plays an important role in improving your cardiovascular health. When your other organs are functioning properly, there wouldn't be excess pressure on your kidneys. As a result, the body will perform the best.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Supporting Individuals with One Kidney

Isn't it surprising how efficiently physiotherapy can also help in living with one kidney? Physiotherapy is a treatment aimed at promoting, restoring, and maintaining the body's physical functioning. It helps to promote mobility and wellness. Physiotherapists use various techniques to treat cardiopulmonary, neurological, and musculoskeletal disorders.

Over the years, physiotherapy has helped provide therapies that help overcome difficulties. You must consider physiotherapy if you're suffering from any issues because of a single kidney. It will help improve your quality of life, reduce pain, and offer complete well-being.

Physiotherapists at FitOFine address the smallest of issues in people with one kidney. Based on that, they create specific programs and pain management techniques. Here are some of the prominent ways through which a physiotherapist can help in ensuring proper well-being and functional mobility:

Post-Operative Rehabilitation After Kidney Donation or Removal Surgery

If you have undergone kidney surgery, physiotherapy can be extremely beneficial. Once the surgery is done, the physiotherapists will conduct post-operative rehabilitation to help you regain your body's physical functioning.

The physiotherapist may ask you to do certain exercises to improve your body's strength, flexibility, and mobility. Moreover, they prescribe solutions keeping into consideration the limitations and precautions you will have to follow after surgery.

Education on proper body mechanics and posture to reduce strain on the remaining kidney:

The physiotherapists at FitOFine have a wide range of treatments that will educate you about how your body will work with one kidney to prevent excessive stress. They will teach a wide range of techniques to do certain tasks safely.

Physiotherapists play an important role in helping you understand your body posture. They provide education on body mechanics that can help to reduce the risk of injury or any unwanted stress on your kidney.

Exercise Programs Tailored To Individual Needs, Taking Into Account Kidney Health And Overall Fitness

The physiotherapists at FitOFine will design customized fitness programs for people with one kidney. They will consider your present health condition before forming the schedule.

A main part of the program is improving cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and muscle strengthening. When customized treatment plans are made, they ensure a faster recovery. This provides proper functioning of the single kidney while staying healthy.

Techniques To Manage Pain And Discomfort Associated With Kidney-Related Conditions

People with one kidney are likely to face discomfort and pain occasionally. However, your physiotherapist at FitOFine can help you learn techniques to manage discomfort and pain.

Their treatment procedure would include therapeutic modality, massage, longevity, and mobilization. They may perform heat or cold therapy. Furthermore, the physiotherapist will also help with learning more about exercises, proper positioning, and relaxing methods that will help to lower overall pain.

Specific Physiotherapy Interventions for Individuals with One Kidney

There are certain physiotherapy interventions for people who have one kidney. It is crucial to design them as per the individual's unique circumstances and medical history. For this to be done correctly, working with a professional and qualified physiotherapist like Dr. Satyen Bhattacharyya is important to ensure the procedure is conducted safely.

Here are some of these interventions to keep a check:

Core Strengthening Exercises To Support The Spine And Prevent Injury

Core strengthening exercises are crucial for people with one kidney as these exercises support the spine and prevent injury. This would require you to work on your back, abdominal, and pelvic floor muscles. As a result, they help provide neuromuscular stability and support to the spine and pelvis, which is good for your kidney.

Trained physiotherapists at FitOFine often design these core strengthening exercises depending on the capacity of the individuals. You may need to perform exercises like abdominal crunches, planks, bridges, or pelvic tilts. When you strengthen your core muscles, you improve your overall structure and prevent extra pressure on the spine. Not only does this help to build mobility, but it also prevents unwanted pressure on the kidney.

Stretching Routines To Improve Flexibility And Prevent Muscle Disbalances

Stretching exercises will help to prevent pressure on the kidney while improving flexibility and muscle damage. It is advisable to regularly indulge in stretching routines to prevent muscle tightness and improve joint mobility.

The physiotherapists at FitOFine are trained under Dr. Satyen Bhattacharyya to create stretching routines depending on the specific target muscles. It may include exercises for the back, quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips. When you include a stretching routine, you can improve your motion and promote muscle balance. This can help to improve your sports performance too.

Aerobic Exercises To Enhance Cardiovascular Health And Overall Fitness

Aerobic exercises can improve your cardiovascular functioning and lung endurance. When you have one kidney, there will always be a risk of cardiovascular disorder. Therefore, indulging in aerobic exercises can minimize the risk.

The physiotherapists at FitOFine will guide you about which aerobic exercises to indulge in. Depending on your present health condition, they may ask you to go walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling. However, do not overdo it initially, but gradually increase the intensity as your endurance increases.

Education On Proper Breathing Techniques To Improve Circulation And Oxygenation

Your body must have proper oxygenation and circulation. The physiotherapist at FitOFine can guide you about the different diaphragmatic techniques. It is also advisable to practice relaxation techniques at home to follow controlled breathing. This will help reduce stress which eventually is good for the functioning of your kidney.

Seeking Professional Physiotherapy Assistance

You must consult a trained physiotherapist who can understand the limitations and provide the perfect plan for you. Doing some research will help to choose reliable physiotherapists. FitOFine in Burdwan has a list of qualified professionals who can help you overcome challenges due to a single kidney.

In the initial process, the physiotherapist will conduct a proper evaluation to know your present condition and medical history. Based on the information, they will create a personalized treatment plan and help you move toward your rehabilitation journey.


Having a single kidney should never be concerning if you follow the process properly. You must reach out to your healthcare professional and physiotherapist in time to start the treatment procedure. Apart from the holistic treatment method, you can opt for physiotherapy to promote mobility in your body.

Rather than being lousy; being active and taking charge of your life is important. If you're experiencing pain and discomfort due to a single kidney, Dr.Satyen Bhattacharya at FitOFine can turn your pain into a smile with customized, unique treatments. So, if you are searching for the best physiotherapy clinic in Bardhaman, you can book an appointment at FitOFine today!

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