Signs You Could Have a Kidney Stone
The National Kidney Institute reports that 1 out of 10 people will have a kidney stone at one point in their lives. Each year, about 500,000 people go to the emergency room due to kidney stone problems. Those who’ve had them know all too well the excruciating pain that comes with it.
Do you know the signs of kidney stones? Having a kidney stone is a potentially serious medical condition, so knowing if you could possibly suffer from it is essential. Let us at Physicians Premier, your Houston ER, help you know more about the signs and symptoms of kidney stones.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones are hard deposits of mineral and salts that build up in the kidneys. They can travel to the urinary tract and can affect your bladder and kidneys. More often than not, they form when the urine becomes concentrated.
Small kidney stones typically don’t cause symptoms. Larger ones become painful. Some stones pass on their own without medical intervention. However, you may require surgery to remove bigger stones that don’t pass.
Symptoms of kidney stones
1. Pain in the belly, side, or back
Renal colic, also known as kidney stone pain, is one of the most intense types of pain. It is intense enough that it accounts for more than one million ER visits per year. Some have compared kidney stone pain to getting stabbed with a knife, or childbirth.
The pain from having a kidney stone – which typically starts suddenly – begins as the stone makes its way into the narrow ureter. The blockage results in pain and pressure build up in the kidney. The pain changes in intensity and location as the stone moves. It comes and goes in waves, and intensifies as the ureters contract. Pain waves might last for a few minutes, disappear, then come back.
The pain might be felt on your back, along your sides, even below the ribs. It may extend to your groin and abdominal area as the stone moves further through your urinary tract.
2. Burning sensation or pain during urination
You will start feeling pain during urination as soon as the stone reaches the junction between your bladder and ureter. You may experience burning, sharp pangs of pain.
3. The urgent need to urinate
Once the stone has moved to the lower urinary tract, you will feel an urgent or frequent need to urinate.
4. Smelly or cloudy urine
Healthy urine doesn’t have a strong odor. Foul-smelling urine could be a sign of a kidney infection or a urinary tract infection. Cloudiness in the urine indicates that there is pus present.
5. Blood in the urine
Blood can be red, brown, or pink. The presence of blood in the urine (also known as hematuria) is not always visible to the naked eye, but can be seen through a microscope.
6. Nausea and vomiting
The kidney has shared nerve connections with the GI tract, and kidney stones might trigger these nerves, resulting to an upset stomach. In addition, vomiting can also be your body’s response to severe pain.
7. Chills and fever
Any form of fever with pain should be seen by a doctor. Fever coupled with chills may indicate that you have an infection in your urinary tract, or in your kidney. Note that fevers that come with an infection is unusually high, and is coupled with chills.
Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to get medical care if you are in pain, or if you suspect that you are suffering from a medical condition. For more information, feel free to get in touch with us at Physicians Premier, your Houston ER.