Causes and Natural Treatments for Polycystic Kidney Disease


Underlying Causes and Natural Treatments for Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a hereditary condition that causes fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys. The cysts can grow so numerous or large that they damage the kidneys and reduce kidney function, ultimately leading to kidney failure.

In fact, it is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure in the US. PKD can also affect other organs, causing cysts to grow on a patient’s liver, large bowel, pancreas, spleen, ovaries, brain, or heart. With natural treatments for Polycystic Kidney Disease, the symptoms and effects of the disease can potentially be mitigated and slowed. 

Symptoms of polycystic kidney disease include back or side pain, blood in the urine, a large abdomen, frequent infections of the bladder or kidneys, high blood pressure, and pounding in the chest. Typically, these symptoms develop when patients reach 30 to 40 years old. 

Approximately 600,000 people in the United States have polycystic kidney disease. 

Underlying Causes of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition that is passed from the parents to their children through their genes.

There are three types of PKD:

Autosomal Dominant PKD is a form of the disease that is inherited from one parent with an abnormal gene. It is the most common form of the disease. 

Infantile or Autosomal Recessive PKD is a serious, rapidly progressive form of the disease that is often fatal in the first few months of life. In Infantile or Autosomal Recessive PKD, both parents must pass on an abnormal gene to a child, and it is extremely rare.

Acquired Cystic Kidney Disease occurs when a person has long-term damage and severe scarring on their kidneys. It is typically associated with kidney failure and dialysis.

Natural Treatments for Polycystic Kidney Disease

While research is ongoing, there is currently no cure for polycystic kidney disease. However, medical treatments are available to slow the progression of kidney disease, while natural remedies may help control symptoms and help slow down the loss of kidney function in PKD.

Medical Cannabis for Pain Management

Polycystic kidney disease can cause neuropathic pain. While some patients can control their pain with over-the-counter medications, others struggle with more severe and constant pain that requires further interventions. According to a recent study, medical cannabis has shown value among patients with kidney disease by relieving neuropathic pain and replacing the use of addictive opioids.

In this study, patients who were treated with nonsynthetic cannabinoids were 43 to 300% more likely to report a reduction in chronic neuropathic pain compared to a placebo. For these patients, the pain was reduced by approximately 30%.

If you’re interested in using natural therapy for pain relief from polycystic kidney disease, consider getting a medical marijuana card if PKD is a qualifying condition in your state. Book an appointment with Heally to talk to a licensed physician online. A consultation with a physician is the first step to getting your medical marijuana card.

If medical cannabis isn’t legal in your state or if PKD is not a qualifying condition, consider CBD products. CBD is hemp-derived and non-psychoactive yet it contains many of the same medicinal properties as medical cannabis. Plus, it’s legal nationwide and can be shipped directly to your door, anywhere in the USA.

Recommended CBD Products for Polycystic Kidney Diseases

Green Care Medical Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Active Formula (3000mg CBD)

Green Care’s full-spectrum CBD oil offers potential analgesic and anxiolytic effects to address pain. Get 100mg of CBD per 1mL serving.

BeMe Natural: CBD Softgels – 750mg

Each bottle of BeMe Natural contains 30 soft gels with 25mg of CBD. The soft gels offer an easy-to-swallow format for CBD with predictable results and increased bioavailability thanks to water-soluble nanoemulsion technology.

Browse the Heally marketplace for more CBD products.

Ketosis to Slow the Development of Cysts

Natural Treatments for Polycystic Kidney Disease

In PKD, cysts appear to be glucose-dependent. Studies indicate that dietary interventions leading to ketosis may help slow the growth of polycystic kidneys. Ketosis is a natural response to fasting. When we fast, we quickly use up stored carbohydrates, and our bodies then switch to our fat reserves as a source of energy.

When this switch occurs, the body breaks down fat reserves into fatty acids and ketones to replace glucose as an energy source. The presence of ketones in the bloodstream seems to inhibit the growth of kidney cysts, and a study supply of ketones may even reverse the condition, according to animal studies. 

Time-restricted feeding, a form of intermittent fasting, and the ketogenic diet can encourage ketosis, which may potentially stall or even reverse PKD.

Managing Blood Pressure to Keep the Kidneys Healthy

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One of the best ways to prevent complications from polycystic kidney disease is to keep your kidneys healthy. Managing your blood pressure is vital to protecting your kidneys, and, fortunately, there are many natural ways to do so. 

Apart from taking blood pressure medications as directed by your doctor, you can also help manage your blood pressure by:

  • Eating a low-salt diet with plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits
  • Staying hydrated reduces the build-up of a hormone called vasopressin that encourages cysts to grow
  • Controlling your protein intake (too much protein can create a lot of waste that your kidneys must clear)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes a day (but avoiding contact sports)
  • Limiting alcohol use
  • Reducing foods high in phosphorus and potassium, which can build up in the blood of patients with PKD

Interested in more natural remedies for polycystic kidney disease? Book a telehealth appointment to talk to a functional medicine doctor online.


Interested in using cannabis as an alternative treatment? Get your cannabis card with a licensed physician.