Kidney stones develop inside the kidney and can move to other parts of the urinary tract. These stones are hard accumulations of salt and minerals, mostly made up of uric acid or calcium.
The size of kidney stones varies. For some patients, it is as small as a fraction of an inch. For the others, it can grow to a couple of inches or even become as large as the kidney itself.
Kidney stones are caused due to the excessive accumulation of certain minerals in your urine. It is observed more in patients who aren’t well hydrated. Dehydration results in a higher concentration of minerals in your urine. With higher mineral levels, the chances that a kidney stone will form are higher.
Generally, people who are obese and suffer from diabetes tend to get kidney stones. The condition is also more common amongst men than women.
If you have a small kidney stone, it will remain in the kidney, and you will not experience any symptoms. A difference is felt only when the stone travels into your ureter. The ureter is a tube through which your urine passes from the kidney to the bladder.
Kidney stone pain can be mild to severe. Some stones pass on their own without the need for a kidney stone treatment. However, if you have stones that do not dissolve or pass on their own, you will need to undergo a procedure to break up or remove the stones.
8 Kidney Stone Symptoms and Signs
- Pain in the belly, back, or side
- Painful or burning sensation during urination
- Blood in the urine
- Smelly or cloudy urine
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Weak urination stream
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
Kidney stone pain is intense. It is also called renal colic and often compared to the pain of childbirth. The cause of pain is the movement of the stone from the kidney to the narrow ureter. This movement results in a blockage that builds pressure in the kidney.
You can experience kidney stone pain all of a sudden. The kidney stone pain area and severity change as the stone moves. Pain also comes and goes in waves. It worsens with your movement and the contraction of the ureters as they attempt kidney stone removal. The wave of pain can last for a few minutes, then go away, and then return with the same or higher intensity.
The location of the pain is generally on one side, between the end of the ribs and the hips. It may move towards your belly and groin area with the movement of the stone passing through your urinary tract.
The pain from large stones can be more than the pain from small stones. However, the size of the stone does not determine the severity of pain. Even a little stone can cause excruciating pain when it moves or creates a blockage.
When the stone is at the joint between the bladder and the ureter, it causes pain during urination. The doctors refer to this condition as dysuria.
You can experience sharp or burning pain. Most individuals relate this pain to a urinary tract infection without knowing that the real culprit is a kidney stone. In some cases, patients can have both an infection and a stone.
One of the common symptoms of stone in the kidney is blood in the urine. The symptom is also known as hematuria.
The color of blood can be pink, red, or brown. You may not be able to see the blood cells unless you use a microscope. However, an experienced doctor can perform a kidney stone test for your symptom.
The urine of a healthy person is clear and doesn’t contain a strong odor. On the other hand, the urine of a person suffering from a kidney infection is cloudy and tends to have a foul smell. This is also a sign of infection in the urinary tract.
If you feel that your frequency and urgency to use the bathroom have increased, it is a sign of kidney stones. The need to go to the bathroom increases when the stone arrives in the lower part of the urinary tract.
Large kidney stones tend to get stuck in the ureter. As a result, it creates a blockage that slows down or stops the flow of urine.
Individuals with a blockage aren’t able to urinate properly. They can pass only a little bit each time they go to the bathroom.
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms for people suffering from kidney stones. The GI tracts and kidneys have shared nerve connections. As stones move in the kidneys, they trigger the nerves of the GI tract, resulting in an upset stomach.
Another sign indicating that you have an infection in your kidney or any other part of the urinary tract is fever and chills. Fever accompanied by pain requires immediate medical attention.
The symptoms of kidney stones include difficulty in urination, severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. Some stones do not cause problems and pass on their own. However, if your stone is causing you pain or any other symptom, you must consult a doctor to learn of the kidney stone treatment you require.