Where is Your Kidney?

The kidneys are a vital organ. Though people can live with just one, you can’t live without both. The kidneys filter waste products from your blood and excrete them via urine. Do you know where your kidneys are located in your body? Do you know all their critical physiological functions? You will by the time you finish reading this post.

Where is Your Kidney?

The Anatomy

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist. They’re at the back of the abdominal cavity on either side of the spine. They are part of the urinary system along with the bladder and ureters, urethra, and renal pelvis.

They are retroperitoneal and, therefore, reside outside of the peritoneum. The peritoneum encloses most organs in the abdominal cavity and is known as intra-peritoneal organs.

These organs lie against the dorsal muscles, so kidney pain is usually felt in the lower back.

The rib cage protects them, along with the heart and lungs, from injuries. They typically run between the last thoracic vertebra and the third lumbar vertebra.

The Right vs. The Left

The kidneys are not positioned symmetrically due to the need to accommodate other organs.

The right kidney is slightly lower than the left one. The large size of the liver, which is also positioned on the right side of the body, fills the space above it.

The liver creates less space between the organ and the diaphragm on the left side. It reduces the length of the space within the abdominal cavity.


Knowing how the kidneys work and what they do is essential. Here are their critical functions:

  • The body filters 120 to 150 quarts of blood daily. One to two quarts of urine are produced to remove waste products and excess water from the body.
  • They regulate and balance electrolytes like potassium, sodium, and calcium.
  • They maintain consistent blood pressure by controlling blood volume and arterial vasoconstriction.
  • EPO is a hormone that stimulates bone marrow cells, which assists with regulating the production of red blood cells.
  • Your body regulates acid to optimize the internal pH environment for various biochemical and physiological processes.

Tips for Healthy Kidneys

Proper maintenance of your kidney health is vital to improving and maintaining your overall well-being. Here’s how to keep them functioning optimally.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water daily helps eliminate sodium, urea, and other toxins from the body. Optimal hydration reduces the chances of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) and chronic kidney problems.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Eat foods low in sodium and avoid processed meats and other foods high in oxalates and nitrates. Eating well reduces the chance of developing kidney stones. It also decreases the chances of developing different types of kidney damage.

Get Regular Exercise

Physical activity maintains healthy blood pressure levels and promotes optimal health.

Monitor Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels

High blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes are risk factors for kidney disease. Keeping these conditions under control will protect your body from dysfunction and disease.

Attend annual check-ups with your healthcare provider, especially if you have risk factors. Bloodwork screening will check for kidney issues such as infection, kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and polycystic kidney disease.

Why Awareness Is Important

Your kidneys work hard at filtering waste and regulating blood pressure to support your overall health. They perform the crucial functions necessary for life and homeostasis in the body.

Knowledge of both the location and function of your kidneys emphasizes why it’s essential to maintain optimal health. You can keep your kidney healthy and strong with a few lifestyle changes and regular medical check-ups.


The attentive, compassionate physicians, providers, and staff at Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology are committed to providing innovative, quality patient care in our state-of-the-art facility.

From screening and prevention to treatment and recovery, our health professionals will be there for you. Our team of dedicated physicians has been serving residents of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota for more than 25 years.

Contact us today