What Causes Back Pain
Back pain can be caused due to a number of reasons. Usually mild back pain does not require immediate medical attention. Back pain usually occurs due to inflammation. Sometimes back pain can be indicative of a serious medical condition like bone fracture, spinal fracture, multiple myeloma, osteoporosis, cancer, lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease etc. Stress and dysfunctional family relationships are also known to cause back pain. During pregnancy, a majority of women experience low back pain which can be severe during the third trimester.
Do Kidney Stones Start As A Dull Ache
Many people who have small stones will have them pass through the body on their own, while large stones tend to get stuck in the urinary tract. Pain is often unrelated to stone size. The smallest stones can cause the most discomfort, while large stones may sit quietly in the kidney causing only a dull ache.
When It Could Be Kidney Pain And What To Do
Kidney pain can be caused by an underlying issue such as a urinary tract infection or UTI. If you feel a sting when urinating, need to urinate more often, have cloudy urine or if you have pain in the groin area, these should be treated promptly. A quick urinalysis can tell us if you have a UTI and it can be treated easily with antibiotics. An untreated UTI can spread to the kidneys and cause more serious complications. You may develop a fever, tiredness and more significant pain which may signal a kidney infection as well.
If you see blood in your urine and there is no reason to suspect this to be normal such as after a prostate procedure you should visit your urologist as soon as possible to learn more about what the potential issue could be. While most cases of urine in the blood are easily treatable, we do have to rule out more nefarious causes. Remember, blood in the urine is not always visible, so be sure to have your annual physical/checkup, which should include a urinalysis.
What Do Kidney Stone Symptoms Feel Like
Youâre probably already aware that passing a kidney stone can be incredibly painful. Perhaps youâve heard someone compare the pain to childbirth. Or maybe someone mentioned their experience with kidney stones completely recalibrated how they rate pain. Ouch.
But while the most-discussed kidney stone symptom is often the pain where itâs felt and how bad it can get itâs not the only symptom to be aware of.
âKidney stones are fairly common and often painful, but theyâre also treatable and even preventable,â says Dr. Chris Kannady, urologist at Houston Methodist. âIf you think you might have a kidney stone, itâs important to see your doctor as soon as possible since delaying care for a kidney stone can lead to serious complications.â
But, when all youâve heard about kidney stones is how much they hurt, how can you tell if your pain might be kidney stone pain?
How Does Passing A Kidney Stone Feel
Small stones can pass without any symptoms at all, but larger stones can be a problem.
As long as the stone is in the kidney and not blocking the flow of urine, you probably wont feel it. Eventually, the stone leaves the kidney and enters the ureter on its way to the bladder.
The ureters are tiny, about 1/8 inch wide, so if a stone cant move through, its hard for urine to flow.
This can cause swelling and incredibly painful spasms . Youll feel a sharp, stabbing pain in your side or back, below the ribcage. Pain sometimes radiates to the groin and genitals.
You might find that the intensity of the pain changes as you change position and as the stone continues its journey through your urinary tract. Youll probably find it near impossible to lie still, tossing and turning in an effort to stop the pain. Pain can subside for several hours before returning.
- blood in the urine
The pain tends to ease up once the stone reaches the bladder. If the stone is small, or has broken into small pieces, you may not feel it as it flows from the bladder, through the urethra, and out with the urine.
Stones dont usually block the urethra, since its twice as wide as the ureters, but a larger stone can cause resurgence of pain.
- chills, fever
- blood work
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Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain: How To Tell The Difference
Do you ever feel a surge of pain in your lower back? This could happen for various reasons and can even be caused by different parts of your body. Pain that originates underneath the ribcage and towards the bottom of your back can be a sure sign that your back needs repair or, it could be a sign that you are dealing with some kidney issues. How do you tell the difference between kidney pain vs. back pain?
Kidney health specialist Dr. Gura uses the right tools and procedures to help patients determine whether their pain is coming from the back or the kidneys. Since the kidneys reside in the back of the body, it can be easy to mistake the origin of the pain. Below, youll find some tips to help you figure out where your pain is coming from.
When Should I See My Doctor About Kidney Pain
You should see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Worsening, dull pain in one side of your back or flank
- Body aches, fatigue, fever
- Recent urinary tract infection
If you suddenly experience severe kidney pain, with or without blood in your urine, you should seek emergency medical care. Sudden, severe pain can often be a sign of a blood clot or hemorrhage, and you should be evaluated immediately.
Dr. Rondon says if you notice symptoms like a change in your urines color, a fever, or if your pain doesnt improve, seek a doctor. For emergency situations, you should go to the emergency department. For other situations, contact your primary care physician for a referral to a nephrologist or urologist.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 21, 2015, and was last reviewed on October 1, 2019.
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Favorite Kidney Stone Blogs
CareBlog is the blog of the Urology Care Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting urologic research and providing urologic health information to the public. The blog features information on kidney stones, as well as information on general urologic health .
Want to hear about kidney stones from people whove gone through the experience? Let this website, which was founded by Mike M. Nguyen, MD, MPH, an associate professor of urology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, be your guide. You can read through essential information from experts, as well as patient accounts and contributor articles that answer questions you may be wondering about, such as: Do vegetarians get kidney stones? and Does drinking a lot of water help a stone pass faster?
With additional reporting by Lauren Bedosky.
What Level Of Bun Indicates Kidney Failure
The normal range of blood urea nitrogen is between 7 and 20 mg/dL or 2.5 and 7.1 mmol/L. There may be slight variations between labs. A decline in kidney function can cause an increase in BUN levels. There is no definite value of BUN that would diagnose kidney failure.
BUN and creatinine tests can be used together to find the BUN-to-creatinine ratio , which is more specific than the BUN test alone. More specific tests such as glomerular filtration rate and creatinine clearance may be performed further to diagnose kidney failure. A high BUN value may be due to reasons unrelated to the kidneys such as:
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Passing Of Kidney Stones
A lot of kidney stones will eventually leave your body by passing from the kidneys to the ureters to the bladder and out through your urine. This is the route your urine takes a trip every day. A stone going through this path can cause pain.
Passing a kidney stone can take a few days to a number of weeks. For this factor, the majority of medical professionals advise passing the stone or stones at home.
Your doctor might recommend anti-nausea or pain medications for you to take while youre attempting to pass the stone. Drinking more water can likewise help you eliminate your urinary system, but do not exaggerate it. Consuming 2 to 3 quarts of water per day must be enough.
Research And Statistics: How Many People Get Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are becoming more and more common. In the late 1970s, roughly 3.8 percent of the U.S. population were affected by kidney stones. By the late 2000s, this number jumped to 8.8 percent. Now 1 in 10 people are expected to have a kidney stone at some point in their lives.
Research based on data collected from 2007 to 2014 that was published in November 2018 in the Journal of Clinical Urology found that men older than 60 had the highest prevalence of kidney stones among all age groups during this time period, followed by men between ages 40 and 59 . While the prevalence of kidney stones among men older than 60 remained stable during this time period, prevalence of kidney stones in women ages 20 to 39 nearly doubled between 2007 and 2013 . When the researchers analyzed the data by race, though, they found that kidney stone incidence among non-Hispanic white women did not increase at all, but non-Hispanic Black women and Hispanic women saw a significant increase, suggesting that those minority populations accounted for the increase in kidney stone incidence among women. More research is needed to figure out why, but the study authors suggest higher rates of obesity among non-Hispanic Black women and Hispanic women compared with non-Hispanic white women may be part of the explanation.
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Take Steps To Bypass Kidney Stones
Even though kidney stones can be common and recur once youve had them, there are simple ways to help prevent them. Here are some strategies that can help:
1. Drink enough water. A 2015 meta-analysis from the National Kidney Foundation found that people who produced 2 to 2.5 liters of urine daily were 50% less likely to develop kidney stones than those who produced less. It takes about 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily to produce that amount.
2. Skip high-oxalate foods. Such foods, which include spinach, beets, and almonds, obviously raise oxalate levels in the body. However, moderate amounts of low-oxalate foods, such as chocolate and berries, are okay.
3. Enjoy some lemons. Citrate, a salt in citric acid, binds to calcium and helps block stone formation. Studies have shown that drinking ½ cup of lemon juice concentrate diluted in water each day, or the juice of two lemons, can increase urine citrate and likely reduce kidney stone risk, says Dr. Eisner.
4. Watch the sodium. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. Federal guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams . If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily sodium to 1,500 mg.
Things To Know About Kidney Pain
- The function and purpose of the kidneys are to remove excess fluid and waste products from the body.
- The kidneys are organs that are located in the upper abdominal area against the back muscles on both the left and right sides of the body.
- Kidney pain and back pain can be difficult to distinguish, but kidney pain is usually deeper and higher in the back located under the ribs while the muscle pain with common back injury tends to be lower in the back.
- Common causes of kidney pain are mainly urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. However, there are many other causes of kidney pain, including penetrating and blunt trauma that can result in a lacerated kidney.
- If a woman is pregnant and has kidney pain, she should contact her doctor.
- Symptoms of kidney pain may include
Relieving Kidney Pain At Home Urinary Infections
If youre suffering from kidney pain due to an infection in the urinary tract, try the following remedies. If they dont work, make sure to schedule a visit with your urologist to discuss a treatment plan that will ensure the infection doesnt spread.
Hydration is key to flushing out infections of the urinary tract. Not only will staying hydrated help eliminate bacteria, it can relieve pain by reducing the concentration of your urine. Instead of turning to sugary drinks, increase your water intake. Water is always a better option as it causes less irritation. As a general rule of thumb, aim for 8, 8oz glasses a day.2 If youre active or have a strenuous lifestyle you may need more water to stay hydrated.
that helps increase the frequency and amount of urine that you pass.3 This helps further eliminate any bacterial buildup in the urinary tract and fights infection. If parsley juice on its own sounds too gross too handle, try adding it into smoothies with cranberry juice to mask the flavor.
Limit your intake of alcohol and coffee, both of which irritate the urinary tract. Drinking irritants during an infection reduces the effectiveness of your bodys natural healing process and may increase dehydration.
Relieving Kidney Pain at Home Kidney Stones
What Is A Kidney Stone
A kidney stone is a hard object that is made from chemicals in the urine. There are four types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine. A kidney stone may be treated with shockwave lithotripsy, uteroscopy, percutaneous nephrolithomy or nephrolithotripsy. Common symptoms include severe pain in lower back, blood in your urine, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, or urine that smells bad or looks cloudy.
Urine has various wastes dissolved in it. When there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join together to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine. Usually, these chemicals are eliminated in the urine by the bodys master chemist: the kidney. In most people, having enough liquid washes them out or other chemicals in urine stop a stone from forming. The stone-forming chemicals are calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate.
After it is formed, the stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract into the ureter. Sometimes, tiny stones move out of the body in the urine without causing too much pain. But stones that dont move may cause a back-up of urine in the kidney, ureter, the bladder, or the urethra. This is what causes the pain.
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Blockage Of Blood To The Kidney
A blockage of blood to the kidney is called a renal infarction or a renal vein thrombosis. This happens when the blood supply to and from the kidney is suddenly slowed or stopped. There are several causes, including a blood clot.
Blood flow blockages to the kidney typically happens on one side. Symptoms include:
- severe side or flank pain
- lower back pain or ache
- stomach tenderness
- blood in the urine
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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