Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict: What It Is And How it Works

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict - Lady Feeling Tired

According to German New Medicine, the Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict is the primary “root cause” of bloating, fatigue, weight, hormone and metabolic “issues”—symptoms that conventional medicine cannot always explain. 

Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict - Profile Of A Woman Suffering Head Ache Lying On The Bed At Home

Feeling “fat, foggy or fatigued”? Look no further than the “Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict” in German New Medicine for answers, resolution and breakthrough!

A German New Medicine Explanation for Bloating, Fatigue, Metabolism & Hormone Imbalances

Bloating, fatigue, thyroid and metabolism “problems” are some of the “top complaints” seen in any functional medicine practice, often chalked up to being “normal” symptoms and blamed on factors like: aging, consuming raw vegetables, antibiotics, genetics, slacking at the gym, eating the wrong foods, or missing your morning cup of coffee.

However, according to German New Medicine, the “root cause” of bloating, fatigue, weight or metabolism and hormone “problems” goes deeper—something called the “Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict” or “the Syndrome.”

As a quick refresher, German New Medicine is the scientific study of the gut-brain axis and how dis-ease (ie. stress, conflict, imbalance) in our lives shows up as disease or symptoms in the body. 

For example: Constipation is related to an “indigestible elimination” conflict—onset by a conflict of feeling stuck or like you can’t eliminate something in your life (like working a job or studying a school major that you hate, or being in a bad relationship with a bad boyfriend). As a result, your brain sends signals to the colon to hold on to the conflict and turmoil inside. Acne is related to an “attack” conflict—like a jab at your self-worth or a bully in middle school. As a result, the gut-brain axis cues the skin to form a “protective shield” (via acne). 

Basically, the body is a metaphor for various stressors, conflicts or triggers that our brain processes and then sends a signal to the corresponding tissues and regions of the body. 

Feel like you’re “doing all the things” to be healthy—working out and eating right—but you’re still feeling bloated, tired, or like your thyroid, metabolism, hormones or gut health are out of “whack”? Hello Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict!

Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict -  Young Female Consulting A Doctor

Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict 101: What it is & How it Works

Biologically speaking, your kidneys are responsible for keeping you hydrated. They do this by regulating the amount of water that goes through the body, as well as out of the body—basically eliminating and/or retaining water. 

The kidneys also play a HUGE role in: balancing your cortisol hormones (stress hormones), keeping your blood sugar and energy levels balanced, and detoxing your body as a “filter”.

In short, the role that the kidneys play (balancing out the body, keeping you hydrated and in “homeostasis”—balance) is directly related to SURVIVING and THRIVING.

Soooo…if you are under stress or you experience a “conflict shock” (like a sudden move, a loss of a loved one or a job or self-esteem, a bad breakup, etc.), your kidneys go to work to help you “survive.”

With a Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict – the biological meaning is understood within the context of evolution. 

When a plant is thrust into a drought or fish is washed ashore, it is immediately tossed into a life-or-death survival predicament (water deprivation) where its very existence is threatened as it is out of its usual environment. The organism will retain water so it does not perish – an age old survival mechanism. 

Physically, the kidneys think that you must be in a drought or washed up on shore—like a beached whale. 

In order to prevent you (the organism) from drying out, the cells of the kidney tubules quickly proliferate in order to preserve “life” and survive by stopping up the excretion (water loss) filter—they retain water and sodium, elevate cortisol and dysregulate blood sugar—associated with symptoms like bloating, swelling, weight gain or weight loss resistance, metabolic and hormone imbalances, fatigue, inflammation, obstruction, occlusion, chronic pain, hair loss, skin breakouts, PCOS, pre diabetes, hypothyroidism/Hashimotos  and complications.

Hence, the Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict is often called the “desert syndrome” or “fish out of water” conflict—when the kidneys retain water to cope with a conflict(s) in your life. 

Ultimately, the innate purpose of the Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict is to assist you (the organism) during the distress until the next wave brings the fish back into its familiar, controlled environment. 

Hence, your lingering symptoms (bloating, fatigue, sluggish metabolism) are simply signs that you have been under (a lot) of stress and your body is trying to protect you and help you to keep you afloat. 

What “Causes” the Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict? [AIRE]

German New Medicine -  Pretty Confused Nervous Minded Puzzled Lady Wants To Eat Cookies Sitting At Table In White Light Room

The root cause of a Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict (and unsolved bloating, fatigue, thyroid and metabolism problems) is something known as the “AIRE Conflict”: 

We need AIR(E) to survive and feel grounded or balanced. And the kidney collecting tubules are all about survival and our existence.

  • Abandonment
  • Isolation
  • Refugee
  • Existence

If we experience any (or all) of these AIRE conflicts, the Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict track “fires away.” 

Although stress or “conflict”  is “inevitable” in life, if a particular stress or conflict catches us “off guard” or is not fully processed or dealt with, then the body keeps the score and our issues can show up in our tissues.

Symptoms are often a metaphor—or a reflection—of what is going on under the hood—our body’s way of telling us “knock knock, are you listening?” And the interesting thing about symptoms—like bloating or weight gain— is that they typically arise AFTER the initial stressor has passed. 

After all, if you’re running from a bear in the wild, do you feel your sprained ankle DURING your run or AFTER?…Ayou FTER!

For example—the freshman 15 that happens AFTER the initial “abandonment” conflict — being dropped off at a 50,000 student campus, not knowing a soul.. 

The interesting thing about the Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict is that it can go on for YEARS or simply “re-fire back” up when our brain is reminded of the original AIRE conflict (Abandonment, Isolation, Refugee, Existence) and/or feelings associated with it. 

Let’s briefly break down each AIRE Conflict and see if anything rings a bell for you. 


Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict 101 What It Is &Amp; How It Works - Young Man Suffering From Abandonment

“Abandonment” stems from a conflict that involves being left behind, deserted, discarded, banished, undesired and even ostracized. We may be separated, neglected, passed over and of course, abandoned. 

Abandonment may occur literally (as in your dad walking out on your mom or your partner leaving you for another guy or girl), or it may occur figuratively—such as emotional abandonment (a subjective emotional state in which people feel undesired, left behind, insecure, or discarded) or a feeling or rejection (think: your middle school crush not liking you back or the popular girls excluding you). 

All babies and young kids experience this conflict when they are left behind with their first babysitter or first day of kindergarten, or when they are frantically taken away from their mom within seconds of life so the doctors and nurses can weigh, measure, clip and check off a list. 

In college, we may experience the abandonment conflict when mom and dad drive away—leaving us on our own for the first time on campus 2,000 miles from home. It’s exciting but equally “scary” (bring on the “Freshman 15”). 

On the other end of the spectrum, seniors experience abandonment conflicts when they are taken from their home to live in assisted living facilities and nursing homes – no wonder “decline” (associated with elevated cortisol levels) happens—including incontinence, edema, weight gain or weight loss, IBS and diabetes. 


Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict- Young Upset And Tired Bearded Man Lying On Bed With Open Eyes

Isolation conflicts entail feeling alone and emotionally unsupported. You’re on your own, no one to lean on, no one to hold you up, no support, seclusion.

Isolation conflicts arise with age—friends come and go, our kids leave the nest, our parents pass away. Come age 40, 50, 60, we tend to feel isolated more than at any time in our lives. No wonder these ages are most associated with thyroid conditions, weight gain, diabetes and a variety of chronic conditions too. 

Sickness can also isolate us. When we get diagnosed with something—infertility, IBS, autoimmunity, etc.—we can feel like no one else understands—not even doctors who just point fingers. Referring us from one specialist to another. 

Then we have good ol’ tech culture. We are more connected, yet more disconnected, than any time in history. You may have 30,000 followers on Instagram, yet feel alone or like no one cares. 


A refugee conflict is the predicament of having roots, without a home, without a nest, out of place, out of familiar surroundings, our element.

Move or travel a lot? Boom! Refugee. 

Far away from friends and family? Refugee.

Mold in your house? Refugee  

I was working with a woman that swore up and down she had no AIRE conflicts until we realized that she had moved 26 times in her 34 years! She was a refugee without a home. Hence why, every time he moved or traveled, she’d end up feeling bloated, inflamed, losing her hair, fatigued and have insomnia (high cortisol at night).


This conflict is about questioning purpose. An existence conflict arises when we feel our very life, even our livelihood is threatened – by a diagnosis, a near miss relative to an accident, a loss of job or career, loss of home to foreclosure (refugee as well.)

An existence conflict occurs when we feel our very life, even our livelihood is threatened – by a diagnosis, an accident, a loss of job or career,  bankruptcy, loss of a loved one or final to foreclosure (refugee as well.)

As you can see, AIRE conflicts are quite common, and are the underlying drivers behind the Kidney Collecting Tubules conflict (especially when unaddressed, unacknowledged or unrecognized in our life)—explaining why bloating, fatigue, hormone and metabolic issues. 

It’s about losing everything – our existence, our livelihood is at stake; as well as connecting to our purpose—a reason for living, Our “existence” can also be threatened by job loss, a mean comment, bankruptcy, or having ZERO time in our schedule for  ourselves. This falls under our safety being threatened by water, fluid. 

An Explanation for Candida, SIBO, Obesity, Hypothyroidism, & Fatigue (Despite Sleeping)

Summary: The Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict is also known as a “water retention conflict”, where the kidney collecting tubules ‘tighten up’ and where there is minimum fluid (urine) flow and maximum fluid retention (edema) when in deep conflict.

For example, the weight gain epidemic in modern day is due, in part, to the chronicity of this AIRE program. Two liters of water in our tissue weighs four and one half pounds. We can retain upwards of ten times that when both kidneys are active with unresolved conflicts.

PCOS is another great example of an AIRE conflicts: the KCTs are on overdrive with bloating, acne, weight gain and metabolic shifts, in 20 and 30-something year olds after being dropped off at college, (abandoned) leaving college for the “real world” on your own (isolation), being bullied at school (refugee) or contemplating your bigger purpose on this planet (existence).

Once we identify the root cause conflicts that preceded the onset of our symptoms, it is then that healing and resolution of symptom(s) can begin.

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