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Urological Community

Early Signs of Kidney Stones

Marketing Intern | Shield HealthCare
06/04/18  2:34 PM PST
signs of kidney stones

According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in ten people will have a kidney stone over the course of their lifetime, and if you’ve had a kidney stone, you probably know the pain can be unforgettably excruciating.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are collections of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys and can travel throughout the urinary tract, becoming lodged and causing infections or complications. Kidney stones vary in size, and can even get as large as several inches wide.

Preventing kidney stones involves lifestyle changes. Drinking water and staying hydrated is key when trying to prevent stones from forming. When the body is dehydrated, the urine becomes more concentrated with minerals. The higher the concentration, the higher the risk of developing kidney stones. Choosing a low sodium diet can also help prevent kidney stones.

What are some early-warning signs of kidney stones?

  • Pain in stomach, back, side
    • Has been compared to the pain of childbirth
    • When a stone moves into the ureter, it causes a blockage, creating pressure in the kidney
    • Pain can start suddenly and vary in intensity/locations; comes in waves that can last for minutes; back pain tends to spread
  • Pain during urination/frequency
    • When the stone reaches the intersection between bladder and ureter, pain is felt during urination; often is a sharp/burning sensation
    • Often mistaken for urinary tract infections (UTI)
    • Needing to urinate irregularly often is a major sign of kidney stones
  • Blood in urine
    • Blood usually pink, brown, or red
    • Sometimes blood cells are too microscopic for human eyes, but ask your doctor to test you for this issue
  • Cloudy/odorous urine
    • Smelly urine can be a signal of infection in kidneys/urinary tract
    • Cloudy urine signals pus could be in urine
  • Inability to empty bladder
    • Blockages caused by kidney stones can halt/slow urine flow
    • If unable to urinate, go to the nearest medical center
  • Queasiness/vomiting
    • Shared nerve connections between gastrointestinal tract and kidneys can be triggered by kidney stones, causing nausea
  • Fever/chills
    • Signals infection in kidneys/urinary tract
    • If experiencing fever with any sort of pain, go to nearest medical center
    • Fevers typically high, chills usually occur with fevers

Symptoms vary between genders and ages, due to differences in urinary tracts:

Men:

  • Abdominal, groin or pain in lower back
  • gastric discomfort

Women:

  • Pain/itching in the vulva
  • Discharge
  • Menstrual pain

Children:

  • Restlessness
  • Differences in urine color or frequency
  • Blood in urine

If you have any questions or concerns that cause you to worry, make an appointment with your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if pain is severe, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, fever, blood in urine or difficulty passing urine.

Sources:

activebeat.com

healthline.com

belmarrahealth.com

www.mayoclinic.org