Causes Of Kidney Pain
Kidney pain has many possible causes. These organs are connected to others like your bladder and ureters, where you store and get rid of urine.
Kidney stones. Intense, sudden, stabbing pain may be a kidney stone. These are mineral deposits that can grow large enough to block a ureter, a tube that connects your kidney and bladder. If that happens, you’ll feel sharp pain or cramps in your back or side. It can also spread out to your groin. As you try to pee out the stone, you might feel waves of pain.
Kidney infection. Also called pyelonephritis, this infection could cause discomfort in one or both kidneys. You may feel pain in your back, in your side or both sides under your ribs, or in your groin. You’ll also have a fever. Urinary tract infections also cause discomfort in this organ.
Kidney swelling. This condition, called hydronephrosis, can happen if your kidneys are blocked. Your urine can’t drain the way it should and builds up in your kidneys. This can happen in one or both kidneys and sometimes it causes pain.
Kidney cysts. You may not feel a simple kidney cyst until it grows larger. Once it gets big, you might feel a dull pain in your side or back, or feel pain in the upper part of your belly.
Polycystic kidney disease. This genetic disease causes many cysts to grow in your kidneys. They may cause you to feel a pain in your back or side.
Causes Of Urinary Tract Stones
Stones may form because the urine becomes too saturated with salts that can form stones or because the urine lacks the normal inhibitors of stone formation. Citrate is such an inhibitor because it normally binds with calcium that is often involved in forming stones.
Stones are more common among people with certain disorders and among people whose diet is very high in animal-source protein or vitamin C or who do not consume enough water or calcium. People who have a family history of stone formation are more likely to have calcium stones and to have them more often. People who have undergone surgery for weight loss may also be at increased risk of stone formation.
Rarely, drugs and substances in the diet cause stones.
Can Kidney Stones Lead To Chronic Kidney Disease
If you or someone you know has had a kidney stone before, you probably heard them describe the excruciating pain. What may start out feeling like a stomachache or some lower back pain can quickly become unbearable as your body tries to pass the stone.
Though painful, a kidney stone typically does not cause damage. However, kidney stones can be a sign of other health issues.
More people are getting kidney stones, which is cause for concern because of the factors that contribute to kidney stones and what can happen if kidney stones keep recurring, said Prince Mohan, M.D., medical director of Transplant Nephrology at Geisinger.
Typically, any waste that builds up in the kidneys is dissolved in the liquid that passes through them. But when there is a high level of minerals or salt and too little liquid, kidney stones begin to form. Usually, kidney stones that stay in the kidney arent noticeable.
The pain is a result of the kidney stone beginning to move from a kidney to the bladder through a tube called the ureter.
Most people dont know they have a kidney stone until they begin to feel severe pain in the side or abdomen, nausea, or if their urine is pink or red, said Dr. Mohan. They may be diagnosed in the emergency department after experiencing severe pain.
Having one kidney stone increases the risk of developing another one, said Dr. Mohan. This also increases the risk of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.
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Types Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stonesvary in composition depending on the type of minerals in the urine:
- Calcium forms about 80 percent of kidney stones mostly calcium oxalate and, in some cases, calcium phosphate.
- Uric acid crystals tend to form stones in acidic urine. The following contribute to acidic urine: excess weight, chronic diarrhea, type 2 diabetes, gout and diets high in protein and low in fruits and vegetables.
- Struvite forms in alkaline urine, often related to chronic urinary tract infections.
- Cystine is an amino acid that forms stones when in high concentration, due to a rare inherited condition. This is the rarest form of kidney stones.
Stones that form in your kidneys are not the same as bladder stones. Bladder stones develop in different ways. But small kidney stones may travel down the ureters into your bladder and, if not expelled, can grow into bladder stones.
The most common cause of kidney stones is dehydration. Youre not drinking enough water to dilute the concentration of minerals in your urine.
Follow These Top Warning Signs Indicating You May Have Kidney Stones
About one out of every ten people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives, according to the National Kidney Foundation, with stones occurring about twice as often in men. Kidney stones have become more common during the past couple of decades. That increase could be due to the concurrent rise in obesity, which is a potential risk factor for kidney stones.
Kidney stones form when minerals and salts in your blood create hard concretions inside your kidneys. Normally, your kidneys filter out these materials, but when concentrations are high or when your kidneys are overworked or arent working normally, the substances can collect and clump together, forming sharp crystals. Very small stones may be excreted on their own when you urinate. But sometimes, the crystals get stuck and thats typically when most symptoms begin.
Larger kidney stones usually cause significant symptoms almost right away. With smaller stones, the symptoms can be less obvious and more difficult to discern. If you have a kidney stone, getting prompt medical care is essential for preventing complications. Heres a list of some of the most common kidney stone symptoms to watch out for.
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Kidney Stones : Symptoms Treatment And Prevention
Kidney stones are a common problem that I treat daily. Kidney stones are often related to our dietary habits, the amount of fluids that we drink, and our weight.
If you have ever suffered with a kidney stone, you know what excruciating pain is. Many women who have experienced both passage of a kidney stone and natural childbirth without any anesthesia will report that the childbirth was the less painful of the two!
Stones are a common condition that have occurred in humans since ancient times kidney stones have even been found in an Egyptian mummy dated 7000 years old. The good news is that most of them will pass spontaneously without the necessity for surgical intervention. If surgery is required, it is minimally invasive .
How do kidney stones form?
Kidney stones form when minerals that are normally dissolved in the urine precipitate out of their dissolved state to form solid crystals. This crystal formation often occurs after meals or during periods of dehydration. Most kidney stones manifest themselves during sleep, at a time of maximal dehydration.
Dehydration is also why kidney stones occur much more commonly during hot summer days than during the winter. Anything that promotes dehydration can help bring upon a stone, including exercise, saunas, hot yoga, diarrhea, vomiting, being on bowel prep for colonoscopy, etc.
What are the symptoms?
How are they diagnosed?
How are they treated?
What are the risk factors?
Urge To Urinate Or Frequent Urination
Sometimes people with kidney stones feel like they need to peea lot. This symptom depends on where the stone is located. Stones that are close to the bladder will have a lot of bladder symptoms: frequency, urgency, needing to get to the bathroom quickly, and going small amounts, Dr. Pearle notes.
The reason? Stones irritate the walls of the bladder and that manifests as the bladder contracting, she says, which makes you feel like youve gotta go.
If not a lot of pee comes out, you might think youre having trouble passing urine. But those bladder contractions can occur even if your bladder is empty, Dr. Peale explains. Unless the stone is actually in the urethra, there shouldnt really be trouble urinating, she says. You should always be making urine.
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Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone
Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.
Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.
The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:
Ten Things You Need To Know About Kidney Stones
If youve ever had a kidney stone, you may be all too familiar with the pain that is associated with them. If youve been lucky enough to never develop a kidney stone, understanding the signs and symptoms of one can help prevent pain, discomfort long-term damage to the kidney. Also, by learning the common causes of kidney stones, you can reduce your chances of experiencing one yourself.
Here are 10 things you need to know:
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Do Kidney Stones Hurt
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Pain Or Burning With Urination
If it hurts to pee, a kidney stone may be to blame. Some people experience this type of pain as a stone travels through the ureter, getting closer to the bladder.
But its more likely, Dr. Pearle says, that any burning with urination is caused by an infection, such as a urinary tract infection, than by kidney stones. In one study, 8% of kidney stone patients had a UTI.
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Why Passing A Kidney Stone Can Be So Painful
Think of the urinary tract system as your bodys plumbing system, explains Timothy F. Lesser, MD, a urologist at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. The kidney makes urine, which spills into the ureter, a tiny tube that transports the urine from the kidney down to the bladder. The bladder fills, then empties. “‘Passing a stone’ a stone traveling from the kidney down to the bladder, and traversing the length of the ureter, he says. The stone leaves the urinary tract through the urethra, the tube that transports urine outside the body from the bladder.
A stone passing is so painful because the kidney itself is exquisitely sensitive, explains Dr. Lesser. When a stone blocks the flow of urine through the urinary tract, backed-up urine can put pressure on the kidney, resulting in pain.
It is thought that the kidney itself does not have nerves with classical pain fibers, says John C. Lieske, MD, a consultant in the division of nephrology and hypertension at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. But the tissue surrounding the kidney called the capsule does contain nerve fibers that transmit pain. Backed-up urine swells and expands the capsule, he says.
This swelling activates those nerve fibers, causing signals that are interpreted by the brain as an intense, visceral pain, says Prakash N. Maniam, MD, a urologist at the Medical Specialty Group at Poinciana in Kissimmee, Florida.
Kidney Stones And Pain
Kidney stone pain can be excruciating. Individuals who have never had a stone may be suffering from a great deal of discomfort without knowing why. In reality, kidney stones are generally silent until they begin to pass. A stone that grows to 3 millimeters or larger can block the ureter as it moves from the kidney to the bladder. This movement can cause unbearable pain, usually in the lower back, right / left flank, or groin. Kidney stone pain can be intermittent or ongoing.
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Kidney Stones Symptoms And Treatments
Kidney stones are a fairly common condition that tend to affect people more during middle age . Stones can form in one or both kidneys and quite often can just pass through the urinary system undetected and without causing any pain. Sometimes large stones can get blocked and cause considerable pain called renal colic. In this instance a treatment to break up the stone or surgery may be required.
Treatment Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be managed in a number of ways, depending upon the size of the stone, your other medical problems, and your overall comfort level. Many small stones will pass with the help of medications, which will keep you comfortable while the stone passes naturally. This process may take a few days to a week or more.
For larger stones, stones that are associated with severe symptoms, or stones that will not pass with medical therapy, surgery is often required.
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Finding Relief From Kidney Stone Pain
Not all kidney stones require medical intervention. The smallest stones may pass without you even knowing, but medium-sized stones may cause pain thats often easy to manage with pain medication and drinking plenty of water.
Stones that are about 4mm or larger may need professional care, so they dont get lodged in your urinary tract and cause health complications. Our team offers a number of treatment options for larger stones, including extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy and surgery.
Talk to our doctors to learn more about kidney stones and the treatment thats right for you. Call the office nearest you, book online, or send our team a message today.
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How To Get Relief From Kidney Stone Pain
When pain does occur, it can be so severe that many patients have to go to the closest emergency room to seek immediate treatment. Often a single dose of pain medication given by an ER doctor is enough to alleviate the pain for a prolonged period of time, allowing the stone to pass, says Lieske.
While narcotic pain medications can be carefully given for this purpose, studies suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs milder pain medications with fewer side effects can be as effective. A review of 36 clinical trials that compared NSAIDs with stronger pain medications for kidney stone pain relief found that NSAIDs were equivalent when it came to pain reduction and led to fewer side effects. 30977-6/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 7)
Tamsulosin is also widely used to help relax the muscles of the ureter, increasing the chance of passing the stone and helping reduce symptoms of pain, Bechis notes. However, new evidence suggests this medication may not add as much benefit as previously thought, he adds. A study published in July 2015 in the Lancet found that tamsulosin didnt help stones pass. 60933-3/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 8)
How long does kidney stone pain last? It depends on how long it takes to pass the stone.
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When To Seek Urgent Medical Attention
You should seek urgent medical attention if:
- you have a high temperature of 38C or over and symptoms of kidney infection/a kidney stone
- you have an episode of shivering or shaking and symptoms of kidney infection/a kidney stone
- the pain gets worse, particularly if it’s a sudden, severe pain
Contact your GP immediately if you experience any of the symptoms above. If your GP isn’t available, contact the GP out of hours service.
You may be admitted to the hospital if:
- you are dehydrated and cannot take fluids due to vomiting
- there is uncertainty about the diagnosis
- you dont respond to treatment within one hour , or there is sudden and recurring severe pain
If you dont need admission to hospital, you will likely be referred to a urologist for investigation, to be seen as soon as possible.
This is so investigations can be done to confirm the diagnosis and to assess the likelihood of your body passing it when you go to the toilet .
A urologist is a specialist in treating urinary problems.
Kidney Stone Symptoms You Should Know
Anyone who has ever had a kidney stone knows how miserable it can make you feel. Kidney stones develop when high levels of salt and other minerals in the urine stick together. Over time, these congealed bits can form stones ranging in size from sand-like grains or small pebbles to chunks of gravel.
Some are soft, some are sort of crushable, some are more crystaline and some are more solid, like a petrified rock, says Margaret Pearle, MD, PhD, professor and vice chair of urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Kidney stones can pass in your urine without any need for treatment. But when a stone gets lodged in a bad place, especially in the uretersthe narrow passageways that allow urine to move from the kidneys to the bladderthe pain can get pretty intense. Larger stones may even block the flow of urine. That being said, stones that remain in the kidneys may not cause any pain or symptoms at all. As long as theyre not obstructing urine flow or associated with infection, they can be left alone.
A variety of factors like diet, certain medical conditions , and family history of the issue can increase the risk for developing kidney stones. One of the most important and easily correctable risk factors is dehydration. Boosting your daily water intake can reduce your risk of forming kidney stones in the first place.
Here are the key warning signs of kidney stones, plus what you can do to get rid of these little troublemakers.
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