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6 Kidney Stone Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For

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6 Kidney Stone Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For

6 Kidney Stone Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For –When the blood in one’s body contains a lot of waste and the body’s urine production is low, crystals can form in one or both kidneys.

These crystals then attract other chemicals and waste products that join together to turn into kidney stones.

Also known as urinary stones, urolithiasis, or nephrolithiasis, these pebble-like deposits are naturally expelled through the urinary tract. These “stones” vary in size, with some people having kidney stones as large as golf balls.

Left untreated, kidney stones might get larger and block the urinary tract, causing bleeding and debilitating pain.

Typically, kidney stones are yellow or brown and made from calcium (oxalate or phosphate), uric acid, struvite, or cystine minerals.

In the West, kidney stone disease is quite common—more so for men than women.

This disease has also been more frequently reported over the past few decades, mostly due to factors such as changes in lifestyles and dietary habits as well as advancements in detection techniques.

Generally, the people most at risk of kidney stones are those who have a family history of the disease or have a low intake of liquids.

Most of the time, people are not aware that they have kidney stones until they experience the symptoms. That being said, let’s talk about some of the most common signs of kidney stones that you or a family member might be experiencing.

Pain While Urinating

One of the telltale signs of kidney stones is painful urination or dysuria. Kidney stones have a smooth or jagged texture, which can bring you pain once the stones reach the area between your bladder and ureter.

If you feel a sharp, burning sensation while peeing, kidney stones might be present in your system.

However, it should be noted that dysuria is also a symptom of urinary tract infection (UTI), so you might mistake your condition for the latter. Still, developing a UTI and kidney stones at the same time is not an uncommon occurrence.

Most of the time, having both conditions requires emergency surgery. This is because if the infection is not promptly addressed, the bacteria might travel from your urinary tract to your kidneys and cause kidney damage along with additional complications.

Pain in Your Groin, Lower Abdomen, Back, or Side

In case you’re not aware, having kidney stones can be incredibly painful. Some even liken it to getting stabbed, undergoing childbirth, or having pain so intense that it warrants a trip to the emergency room.

Because of the pressure that a kidney stone blockage causes, your nerve fibres activate and send signals to your brain that translate to pain.

Kidney stone pain comes in waves, with the sensation getting more intense when your ureter contracts and attempts to push the stone through your urinary system. The pain comes and goes, and usually lasts for a few minutes.

You may feel pain in your groin and belly area as well below your ribs, specifically along your back and side.

Blood, Strong Odour, and Cloudiness in Your Urine

Hematuria, or blood in the urine, is another common symptom experienced by people with kidney stones.

Kidney stones, especially the larger ones, can scrape your urinary tract and cause you to expel blood in pink, brown, or red hues. Sometimes, the blood cells in your urine are too small and need to be viewed through a microscope.

In addition to the presence of blood, your urine may be noticeably opaque and have a pungent smell.

Cloudiness in urine is an indicator of pus, mineral buildup, or bacterial infection—the main cause of UTI. The foul odour is often attributed to high concentrations of discharge and other waste products.

Fever and Chills

Fevers are your immune system’s response to an infection being detected in your body.

In addition to being severe side effects of kidney stones, fever and chills could also be a sign of UTI. If you are experiencing a high fever of at least 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), you need to seek medical attention immediately.

Nausea with Vomiting

Your kidneys share nerve connections with your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

As such, pressure in your kidneys due to the presence of stones may activate the nerves connected to your GI tract, causing an upset stomach which leads to vomiting.

These shared nerves may also trigger nausea, which serves as your body’s response to intense pain.

Frequent Peeing Urges and Peeing Too Little

If you feel a constant urge to urinate more than usual, you may have problems involving your kidney stones.

Usually, the urge to expel urinary discharge is a sign that the kidney stone has travelled down your urinary tract.

Despite experiencing urinary urgency, you may find yourself urinating in small amounts.

This is due to the presence of large kidney stones that block the narrow passage of your urinary tract and prevent the flow of discharge.

If your urination has stopped entirely, you are experiencing a medical emergency and urgently need professional assistance.

What to Do Next

Once you’ve established that you may have kidney stones, you need to know the next steps to manage your condition promptly.

It’s highly recommended that you call a doctor once you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above.

To diagnose you with kidney stones, your doctor may need to conduct tests on your blood and urine to see if your body has high levels of the minerals that form kidney stones.

Your doctor may also use imaging techniques to analyse your kidneys for the presence of mineral deposits.

Following diagnosis, your doctor may recommend various treatments to break up or remove the stones.

For smaller stones, your doctor may require you to take pain medicine, drink fluids, and abide by a diet plan to expel the deposits.

Larger minerals, however, often require invasive procedures and possibly even surgery.

Of course, you can prevent kidney stones from forming by following healthy practices.

This includes drinking plenty of water, sweating a lot through physical activity, eating calcium-rich foods, and avoiding excessive intake of sodium and animal protein.

Kidney stones can turn from bad to worse, so it’s best to stay aware of the warning signs and know how to prevent them from ever occurring in the first place.

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