Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones
The kidneys are an important part of the body as they help us to pass waste as urine. In addition to that, these bean-shaped organs also help to purify the blood before sending it to the heart. However, one of the most common disease which can be diagnosed with kidneys are kidney stones.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are a hard collection of salt and minerals which are often caused by the building up of calcium or uric acid. They are formed in the kidney and can move around in the urinary tract.
Stones normally vary in size. Some are small and pass through the urinary tract and manage to get out but others can be as big as the kidney itself. They are formed when there are too much of certain minerals in your urine. When a person is not well hydrated, the urine becomes concentrated with a high level of certain minerals. It is only when these minerals are high that a kidney stone is likely to form.
These kidney stones are more common in people who are suffering from diabetes. Small stones that are in your kidney normally do not cause any symptoms. You will not likely sense any difference unless it reaches your ureter. Stones are very painful and some of them will pass on their own without treatment whereas others need to be broken up or removed.
Below are some signs and symptoms which you should look out for as they may indicate that you have kidney stones :
• Pain in the back, belly or flank
Renal colic is also known as kidney stone pain. Some people have described the pain to childbirth or getting stabbed with a knife as it is one of the most severe types of pain imaginable. The pain usually starts when the stone moves towards the ureter which causes blockage and adds pressure to the kidney which transmits pain signals to the brain.
Normally the pain starts all of a sudden as the stone continues to move towards the bladder. The pain will come and go in waves which are made worse by the ureter as they try hard to push the stone out. You might feel the pain on your side or back, below your ribs. As the stone moves down to your urinary tract, the pain will start in your belly or groin area.
• Pain or burning during urination
The moment the stone reaches the junction between the ureter and bladder, you will feel a pain or burning sensation when you urinate which is also known as dysuria. If you are unaware that you have a kidney stone, you might probably think that you have a urinary tract infection. Some patients might have an infection along with the stone.
• Urgent need to pee
The need to go to the bathroom frequently is a sign that the kidney stone has moved into the lower part of your urinary tract. You might find yourself running to the bathroom or needing to constantly go day and night. However, urinary urgency is also a symptom of urinary tract infection.
• Blood in the urine
Also known as hematuria, blood in urine is a common symptom when it comes to patients with urinary tract stones. The blood can vary among pink, red or brown. Sometimes, these blood cells are too small to see without a microscope, however, your medical practitioner will test for this symptom.
• Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of patients suffering from kidney stones. These symptoms occur as there is a shared nerve connection between the kidneys and GI tract. Kidney stones can trigger some nerves in the GI tract which causes an upset stomach.
• Cloudy or smelly urine
Healthy urine is clear and does not have a strong odor. If you have cloudy or foul-smelling urine, it could be a sign that you have an infection in your kidneys or another part of your urinary tract. People suffering from acute kidney stones have had urinary tract infection.
• Going a small amount at a time
When large kidney stones get stuck, it creates a blockage which can make you urinate only a little bit each time. However, you should see a doctor if your urine flow stops completely.
• Fever and chills
Fever and chills are signs that you are having an infection in your kidney or in another part of your urinary tract. This can be a serious complication to the kidney stone. It can also be a sign of another underlying disease besides the kidney stone. Any fever which is accompanied by pain needs immediate medical attention.
Fever which occurs with an infection is normally high that is 100.4 F (38C). Chills or shivering often occur along with the fever.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and not sure if you have a kidney stone, it is always advisable to see a doctor.