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SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE A KIDNEY STONE

Dr. Fatima Munir 14 Apr 2022
SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE A KIDNEY STONE

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Are you having continuous and chronic kidney pain and urination problems but cannot figure out the reason behind this discomfort? Check out these major signs to determine if your pain is because of kidney stones.

As long as your stones reside in your kidney, years may pass without any symptoms. Moreover, you won't even know that you have kidney stones.

But as the stones move from the kidney to the ureters or bladder, you will start experiencing the symptoms like chronic side pain, blood in the urine, or intense and frequent urge to urinate followed by pain and discomfort.

In this article, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of kidney stones to help you seek medical attention immediately if you encounter them.

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are also called renal calculi. They are solid mass-like structures made of crystals. These crystals are composed of minerals and salts.

Our urine has dissolved minerals and salts that, in abnormally higher amounts, can form into stones.

Some stones stay in the kidneys without causing any trouble but become problematic as they get bigger. If kidney stones flow down from the kidney to the bladder, they may pass through urine on their own. But if the stone is in the ureter or gets bigger, it can block urine flow and cause pain.

As the name indicates, kidney stones are commonly formed in our kidneys.

However, sometimes, they can develop anywhere throughout the urinary tract, like the urinary bladder, ureter, or urethra. Imaginably, kidney stones are a painful medical condition.

According to research, kidney stones affect 1 out of 11 people in the United States, but diet and lifestyle changes can help manage the condition.

So, how can you know if you have kidney stones? Here are the 15 major signs and symptoms of kidney stones.

15 Major Signs And Symptoms That Indicate You Have Kidney Stones:

The first significant sign of kidney stones is severe, relentless, and uncontrollable pain in the abdomen or one side of the back. However, this may not be the definitive sign to confirm kidney stones. Since there may be many other causes of abdominal or back pain, you must watch for other symptoms to verify whether you have kidney stones.

If you observe all or more than two of the below-mentioned symptoms, seek medical attention immediately to confirm the diagnosis.

Firstly, you might have kidney stones if you suffer from several urine-related issues, as kidney stones cause various urinary problems. But then again, urine-related problems could also be a sign of UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), so you should check for more symptoms and get a diagnostic test done for confirmation.

Signs, Symptoms, And Effects of Kidney Stones On Urine:

The symptoms of kidney stones can vary from one person to another. Some will experience a few of these symptoms, while others might experience more.

  1. Frequent need for urination but in less amounts (an intense urge to urinate).
  2. Pink or brown urine coloration or blood in the urine.
  3. Cloudy urine.
  4. An unusual smell of the urine.
  5. Troubled urination.
  6. Urinary infection.
  7. Burning sensation while urinating.

Signs and Symptoms Of Kidney Stones Related To Pain:

  1. Pain while urinating.
  2. Sharp and cramping pain in the abdomen, lower back, or side.
  3. Pain in testicles, the tip of the penis, or groin in males.
  4. Sudden pain that comes and goes as your body tries to get rid of the stone.

Other Symptoms Include:

You may or may not have one or more of these symptoms as they can vary from patient to patient.

  1. Fever and chills
  2. Nausea and vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. A sweaty feeling

The Most Common Signs Of Kidney Stones:

  • Intermittent, sharp pain in the lower back and side of the abdomen.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Intense and frequent urge to urinate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever

Types And Formation Of Kidney Stones:

Kidney stones can form from the waste products present in your body. For example:

  • Oxalate
  • Calcium
  • Uric Acid
  • Phosphate
  • Xanthine (A rare type of stone)
  • Struvite stones
  • Cystine (A rare kind of stone)

Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones

After the appearance of the signs mentioned above of kidney stones, a diagnostic test is compulsory to confirm.

Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Blood Tests: To check the levels of substances responsible for causing kidney stones like calcium or minerals.
  • Urine Test: To check for urinary infection or fragments of kidney stones.
  • Imaging Test: Perform imaging tests like X-rays, Ultrasound, or CT scan to see the size, number, shape, and location of your kidney stones.

Treatment And Management Of Kidney Stones

To manage kidney stones, you should:

  • Drink a large amount of water daily, 6-8 glasses at least to increase urine flow. This way, the kidney stone may pass through your urine naturally.
  • To soothe pain, take warm water baths and apply warm compresses to the painful area.
  • Take over-the-counter medication like paracetamol every 6 hours to manage chronic pain. However, do refrain from taking excessive or unnecessary pain medications as they can lead to liver and kidney problems.
  • If your kidney stones are big and don't pass through urination, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure.

Dietary Modifications To Manage Kidney Stones:

Here are some lifestyle and dietary recommendations to manage kidney stones.

1. Drink Plenty Of Water

Drinking an adequate amount of water daily is the foremost necessity to manage kidney stones. It will help you produce less concentrated urine and allow the stones to pass through urine naturally.

2. Avoid High Salt Intake

If you have kidney stones or did previously, avoid high salt intake. A high sodium diet increases calcium in the urine and enhances the possibility of developing stones.

3. Consume Foods High in Oxalates in moderation

Limit foods with high oxalate content like raw spinach, wheat bran, raw tomatoes, rhubarb, nuts, tea, beets, chocolate, or berries. While these foods are good for your health, they have high oxalate content, increasing the chances of forming kidney stones.

4. Eat a Moderate Protein And Calcium Diet

High protein intake will cause your kidneys to excrete calcium which can lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Conclusion

Kidney stones are a painful medical condition but are treatable and manageable. If symptoms like severe back or side pain with urination problems such as blood in urine, frequent urge to urinate, or trouble in urination start to appear, firstly increase your water intake. This will help the stones pass through urine. But if symptoms persist for a longer duration, seek medical help for diagnosis and modify your dietary intake.

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About the Doctor:

Dr. Fatima Munir is a Doctor by profession, a freelance content writer, and a researcher. With a penchant for research, she diligently curates facts and the latest literature to guide readers on all matters of health.

Sources:

  • https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones
  • https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/k/kidney-stones
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-stones/symptoms-causes/syc-20355755#:~:text=As%20stones%20move%20into%20your,and%20blood%20in%20your%20urine.
  • https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/diet
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