As ADPKD progresses or gets worse, the size and number of the kidney cysts increases. Eventually the cysts begin to affect how the kidneys function, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) develops, which may result in kidney failure.
Symptoms of ADPKD
Find out about the different types of pain ADPKD can cause, and how pain can be treated
Chronic (persistent or longer term) pain is common in people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). About 6 in 10 people who have been diagnosed with the condition have chronic pain. It is usually, but not always, related to an enlarged kidney or liver that presses on other organs or tissues.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common among people with ADPKD, and are a particular problem for women. These infections should always be taken seriously and fully investigated, because frequent UTIs may worsen kidney function in some people with ADPKD.
Kidney stones are formed from crystals of substances found in urine, and can vary in size from tiny particles to large, smooth or irregular lumps. The stones are formed in the kidney, but can pass into the bladder and the ureters (the two tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder).
People with ADPKD can develop cysts in organs other than the kidney, most commonly the liver.
The number of liver cysts increases with age and with the severity of kidney cysts. Liver cysts are very rare in children and teenagers with ADPKD. But by the age of 30, one fifth of people with ADPKD have liver cysts, rising to nearly three quarters of people in their 60s.
A diverticulum (plural: diverticula) is a small pouch that sticks out from the side of the colon (large bowel). Diverticula can affect anyone, especially older people. However, they seem to be more common in people with ADPKD than in people without kidney problems.