You've just finished a greasy meal with all your favorites -- fried chicken, French fries, potato chips and pizza. You may feel something more than a full stomach after you finish a meal: You also may experience kidney pain or pain in your lower back. While this is not always a symptom of something more serious, it's important to consult your physician to ensure your kidney pain does not require immediate treatment.
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High-Fat Meals and Your Body
Your physician may recommend cutting back on fat if you are prone to indigestion or heartburn related to fatty foods. Eating a high-fat meal can cause a number of symptoms because of inefficient digestion of fats. Your body requires bile to digest fats, which must be transferred from your liver or gallbladder to reach your stomach. This process can be slow because the bile must travel. Meantime, you may experience cramping or feelings of fullness or discomfort because the greasy meal is sitting in your stomach, waiting to be digested.
When you finish a greasy meal and experience kidney pain, this may be more to do with indigestion and abdominal discomfort and less to do with kidney malfunction. For example, eating a greasy meal can cause indigestion, with symptoms that include feelings of fullness, nausea, bloating or pain anywhere from the navel to below the breastbone, according to MedlinePlus. Your kidneys rest on your back just below your ribcage, meaning they are in the same area where indigestion can cause symptoms. While not necessarily a serious problem, indigestion can indicate the need to reduce the amount of fat in your diet to relieve painful symptoms in the kidneys or abdomen.
High-Protein, High-Fat Meals
If your greasy meal consisted of a high-protein food, such as a steak, this could lead to kidney pain over time. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering the waste products that result from protein breakdown. Over time, eating high-fat, high-protein meals may affect your kidney function. If you already have compromised kidney function, such as from kidney disease, eating greasy, high-protein foods may worsen your existing problem and contribute to kidney pain.
See Your Physician
Experiencing some symptoms along with your kidney pain after eating a greasy meal may signal the need to seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms include vomiting, blood in your stool or urine, difficulty breathing, rigid abdomen or pain between your shoulder blades. Even if you are not experiencing severe symptoms, talk to your physician if your pain continues for 24 to 48 hours.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.