Where Is Kidney Stone Pain Located
The sharp pain associated with a kidney stone moves as the stone progresses through your urinary tract. The most common places to feel pain are in your:
- Lower abdomen or groin
- Along one side of your body, below your ribs
- Lower back
However, while pain is certainly the most noticeable symptoms of kidney stones, it’s not always the earliest sign or even the most telling sign, for that matter.
“The pain associated with a kidney stone typically isn’t felt until after its already formed and is passing through your urinary tract,” explains Dr. Kannady. “In addition, due to differences in anatomy, men and women describe kidney stone pain slightly differently. Not to mention that pain itself is relative and everyone has a different threshold for it.”
Plus, the intensity of the pain isn’t necessarily a measure of how problematic the kidney stone might be or become. Smaller stones that are likely to pass on their own can still be very painful. And not every kidney stone that requires medical intervention comes with gut-wrenching pain.
“Any time you’re experiencing pain, it’s important to see your doctor. But if you’re experiencing pain, even if it’s only mind, in combination with the kidney stone symptoms above and, in particular, if you have a fever or severe trouble urinating it’s definitely important to see your doctor,” warns Dr. Kannady.
How Do You Get Kidney Stones
While we dont know what causes stones to form, we do know some stones form more easily than others. Dehydration, not consuming enough fluids, can contribute to stones forming, as there may not be enough urine to wash out the microscopic crystals.
Calcium stones, the most common kidney stones, seem to affect more men than women and they are most often in the twenties when it happens.
- Too much calcium in the urine caused by disease, such as hyperparathyroidism
- Having too much sodium, usually taken in through salt
Although food doesnt cause the stone formation, some people may be told to avoid high calcium foods if they are prone to developing stones.
Cystine stones are caused by a disorder that runs in families and affects both men and women.
Struvite stones are virtually always caused by a urinary tract infection as a result of an enzyme secreted by certain types of bacteria. Because more women than men have UTIs, more women than men develop struvite stones. These stones can grow very large and can block the kidney, ureter, or bladder.
Uric acid stones affect more men than women and they can also occur in people who already get calcium stones. People who have high uric acid levels may have or develop gout.
Types Of Kidney Stones
The different types of stones are made of different types of substances. It’s important to know the type of stone you have, so you can know what may have caused it and how to prevent it.Â;
If you pass a kidney stone, you should take it to your doctor so they can send it to the lab and find out what kind it is:
Calcium stones. Most kidney stones are made from calcium, in the form of calcium oxalate. There are two kinds of calcium stones:
Calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a substance made daily by your liver. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, are high in it. Your body absorbs the substance when you eat these foods. Other things that can make the concentration of calcium or oxalate in your urine to rise are taking high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery and certain metabolic disorders.
Calcium phosphate. This type of stone happens more often in people with metabolic conditions, like renal tubular acidosis or with people who take medications to treat migraines or seizures.
Struvite stones. These can form from a urinary tract infection . The bacteria that cause the infection make ammonia build up in your urine. This leads to formation of the stones. The stones can get large very quickly.
Uric acid stones. These form in people who lose too much fluid because of chronic diarrhea or malabsorption; eating a high-protein diet; or having diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Certain genetic factors also may increase your risk of uric acid stones.
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Feeling Tired Or Sluggish During The Day
Everyone has a day when they feel tired maybe you didnt get enough sleep, or ate the wrong foods, or some other temporary factors are at play. But sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. The main function of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells, and red blood cells carry energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, thereby reducing the number of red blood cells and making you feel weak and tired out.
Imaging Tests To Check For Kidney Stones
Two imaging tests to check for kidney stones are a CT scan and an ultrasound. If the first imaging test is not clear, you may need a second test.
In the past, a CT scan was often used as the first imaging test to check for kidney stones. But, because a CT scan exposes people to radiation, the emergency doctor may suggest an ultrasound instead as the first imaging test.
|What is it?||A CT scan uses x-rays and computers to create three dimensional pictures of your urinary tract .||An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of your kidneys and bladder. It is like the ultrasound used to look at the baby in the womb of a pregnant woman.|
|How is it done?||You lie still on a table that slides into a tunnel-shaped machine. A CT scan does not hurt.||You lie on your back or side, and a health care professional moves a small device around on your belly. An ultrasound does not hurt.|
|Does it expose you to radiation?||Yes, a CT scan exposes you to radiation. Radiation raises the risk of getting cancer.||No, an ultrasound does not expose you to radiation.|
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Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Stones You Need To Know
If youve heard one thing about kidney stone symptoms, its probably the excruciating pain part. The rumors are, unfortunately, true: Of all the signs of kidney stones, the particular kind of agony they can cause is typically the clearest one. So its a good idea to familiarize yourself with how exactly that exquisite pain presents, as well as the handful of other kidney stone symptoms you can experience. Heres hoping you find the following information about signs of kidney stones interesting but that it never personally comes in handy for you.
Kidney Stones And Possible Symptoms
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that filter the waste chemicals out of your blood and make urine. A kidney stone is a hard piece of material that forms inside your kidney when tiny mineral crystals in your urine stick together.
Symptoms of kidney stones may include:
- Sharp pain in your back, side, lower belly , or groin that may come and go
- Nausea and vomiting
- The feeling of sand or small particles passing through when you urinate
- Pain when you urinate
- Feeling like you need to urinate but cannot
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How Kidney Stones Are Diagnosed
There are several tools doctors can use to diagnose kidney stones, according to the NIDDK. After talking to you about your symptoms and doing a physical exam, your doctor may order these tests as well:
Urinalysis: This is a test of your pee that can show whether your urine contains high levels of minerals that form kidney stones. A urinalysis can also tell whether your pee has blood, bacteria, or white blood cells in it .
Blood tests: Your doctor may want to take a sample of your blood to test for high levels of certain minerals that can lead to kidney stones.
Abdominal X-Ray: This is a picture of your abdominal area that can potentially show the location of kidney stones in your urinary tract. One major caveat, though: Not all kidney stones can be seen on X-ray.
Computed Tomography Scan: CT scans use a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create images of your urinary tract. In some cases you might be given an injection of contrast medium, a dye or other substance that makes certain things inside your body easier to see during imaging tests.
Whats The Urinary Tract How Does It Work
Your urinary tract is vital to your body because it gets rid of waste and extra fluid. Its made up of both your kidneys, two ureters, your bladder and your urethra. Each organ has an important job :
- Kidneys: Your fist-sized, bean-shaped kidneys are located on either side of your spine, below your rib cage. Each day they filter 120 to 150 quarts of your blood to remove waste and balance fluids. Your kidneys make one to two quarts of urine every day.
- Ureters: After your kidney creates urine, the liquid travels through the tube-shaped ureter to the bladder. There is one ureter per kidney. Kidney stones can pass through the ureters or, if theyre too big, get stuck in them. You may require surgery if the stone is too large.
- Bladder: Between your hip bones is your bladder, an organ that stores urine. It stretches to hold about one and a half to two cups.
- Urethra: Like a ureter, your urethra is a tube through which urine passes. Its the final stop of the urinary tract where your urine leaves your body. This is called urination.
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Diagnosis: Low Urine Ph
Citrate supplements, such as potassium citrate, will raise the pH of your urine, making stones, such as those composed of uric acid, less likely to form. If your blood potassium level is high, your doctor may prescribe sodium bicarbonate or Bicitra.
Lower protein intake
A diet high in protein will reduce urinary pH. As a general recommendation, limit your daily protein intake to 12 ounces per day of beef, poultry, fish and pork. Twelve ounces is equivalent in size to about three decks of cards. This will be plenty of protein to meet your bodys needs.
Increase fluid intake
No matter what your diagnosis, you should drink enough water to produce at least 2 liters of urine per day.
If You Meet All Of The Following This Information Is For You
- You have had a kidney stone in the past.
- Your doctor told you that your kidney stone was a calcium stone . The research for this summary was only on people with calcium stones. If you do not know what type of stone you had, the information in this summary may still be useful to you.
- You want to know about options to lower your chance of getting another calcium stone.
- And you are age 18 or older. The information in this summary is from research on adults.
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Next Steps If A Kidney Stone Is Found
If a kidney stone is small enough, it can move or “pass” through your urinary tract and out of your body on its own. If the stone cannot pass on its own, you may need treatment.
Large stones can get stuck in either a kidney or a ureter. A stone that becomes stuck may cause pain that does not go away and may damage the kidney if it is not treated.
If the emergency doctor thinks the kidney stone will pass on its own without any problems:
- You will probably be able to go home.
- You may be given medicines for pain and nausea to take home.
- You may be asked to drink water to help the kidney stone pass.
- You will be asked to watch for the kidney stone when you urinate. You may be told how to strain your urine to catch a stone that passes. If the stone does not pass, call your health care professional.
If the emergency doctor thinks the kidney stone will not pass on its own or may cause problems:
- You may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.
- You may need to see a specialist and may need surgery to remove the stone.
If your nausea and vomiting do not stop:
You may need to stay in the hospital.
One Seriously Strange Way To Pass A Kidney Stone
Scientific research, folks in white lab coats, gleaming laboratories, occasional Eureka moments interspersed with hours of work still sounds interesting if not glamorous. But sometimes, science requires more dedication, more sacrifice. Two physicians made the effort studying the effect of Thunder Mountain, a Disney World roller coaster, on kidney stones small crystals that form in your kidneys.;
The authors built a 3-D model of a kidney and ureter, the anatomic tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. The model faithfully recreated the kidney’s “collection system,” the pathway a kidney stone takes as it follows urine out of the body.;They wanted to know whether these crystals or;stones would move because of outside forces, like those you might experience on a roller coaster. Three different size kidney stones were placed in three different locations within the kidney; then, securing the model in a backpack the authors rode Thunder Mountain twenty times. Thunder Mountain is a roller coaster ride of two and half minutes at about 35 miles per hour with all the curves and dips you would associate with such a ride. ;
Long-term treatment includes increasing fluid intake to more than a liter daily and avoiding calcium supplement. Interestingly enough, dietary calcium, the calcium contained in our food has not been shown to increase risk; it actually lowers risk. So much for supplements.;
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Whos Most Likely To Get Kidney Stones What Are The Risk Factors
White men in their 30s and 40s are most likely to get kidney stones. However, anyone can develop kidney stones.
There are several risk factors for developing kidney stones. These include:
- Not drinking enough liquids.
- Having a diet that includes the substances that form the stones .
- Having a family history of kidney stones.
- Having a blockage in your urinary tract.
Certain medical conditions can also increase your risk of developing stones. This is because they may increase or decrease levels of the substances that make up a kidney stone. These conditions can include:
- Hypercalciuria .
Certain foods can also place you at risk of a kidney stone. These foods include:
- Meats and poultry .
- Sodium .
- Sugars .
When Should A Kidney Stone Be Treated
When a kidney stone causes pain to the extent that the pain cannot be controlled with oral pain medication, the stone should be treated. Similarly, stones that are associated with severe nausea or vomiting should be treated. Some stones are associated with infection or fever such situations can be life threatening and demand prompt attention. Stones that are associated with a solitary kidney, poor overall kidney function or complete blockage of urine flow should also all be treated.
Sometimes, when a stone is associated with bothersome symptoms, it may be appropriate to wait and see if the stone will pass on its own. If the stone is small, this is a very reasonable course of action. However, stones larger in size than 5 mm are unlikely to pass on their own and should be considered for treatment.
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Should I Cut Calcium Out Of My Diet If I Develop Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones
If you develop kidney stones composed of calcium, you may be tempted to stop eating foods that include calcium. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. If you have calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, its recommended that you have a diet higher in calcium and lower in oxalate.
Foods that are high in calcium include:
- Cows milk.
Its also important to drink plenty of fluids to dilute the substances in your urine.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Kidney Stones
The most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone. This type happens when calcium and oxalate combine in your urine. It can happen when you have high quantities of oxalate, low amounts of calcium and arent drinking enough fluids.
Stones caused by uric acid are also fairly common. These come from a natural substance called purine, which is a byproduct of animal proteins .
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Prevention Of Future Stones
Once your health care provider finds out why you are forming stones, he or she will give you tips on how to prevent them. This may include changing your diet and taking certain medications. There is no “one-size-fits-all” diet for preventing kidney stones. Everyone is different. Your diet may not be causing your stones to form. But there are dietary changes that you can make to stop stones from continuing to form.
Drink enough fluids each day.
If you are not producing enough urine, your health care provider will recommend you drink at least 3 liters of liquid each day. This equals about 3 quarts . This is a great way to lower your risk of forming new stones. Remember to drink more to replace fluids lost when you sweat from exercise or in hot weather. All fluids count toward your fluid intake. But it’s best to drink mostly no-calorie or low-calorie drinks. This may mean limiting sugar-sweetened or alcoholic drinks.
Knowing how much you drink during the day can help you understand how much you need to drink to produce 2.5 liters of urine. Use a household measuring cup to measure how much liquid you drink for a day or two. Drink from bottles or cans with the fluid ounces listed on the label. Keep a log, and add up the ounces at the end of the day or 24-hour period. Use this total to be sure you are reaching your daily target urine amount of at least 85 ounces of urine daily.
Reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
Eat the recommended amount of calcium.