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.
Can You Tell If You Passed A Stone
Dr. De cautions people to be careful with the phrase passing a stone. Theres the passing the stone from the kidney to the bladder, which is the painful part, she says. Then theres the bladder out the urethra, which generally doesnt cause pain. Often, people only know they urinated out a stone if they are straining their urine or see it in the toilet. If you have severe pain or severe nausea or vomiting, head to the ER.
You may be given a urine mesh screen or a pee strainer, which you place on top of the toilet seat to collect any material in your urine. Your kidney stone may look like a grain of sand or a piece of gravel. You should keep any stones you collect in a cup with a lid or a plastic bag to keep them safe and dry until you can give them to your doctor for analysis. Your doctor will more than likely give you information on how to reduce your risk of kidney stones like:
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Eating fruits and vegetables with citrate like lemons, limes, oranges and melons.
- Limiting salt.
Why You Get Stones
Part of preventing stones is finding out why you get them. Your health care provider will perform tests to find out what is causing this. After finding out why you get stones, your health care provider will give you tips to help stop them from coming back.
Some of the tests he or she may do are listed below.
Medical and Dietary History
Your health care provider will ask questions about your personal and family medical history. He or she may ask if:
- Have you had more than one stone before?
- Has anyone in your family had stones?
- Do you have a medical condition that may increase your chance of having stones, like frequent diarrhea, gout or diabetes?
Knowing your eating habits is also helpful. You may be eating foods that are known to raise the risk of stones. You may also be eating too few foods that protect against stones or not drinking enough fluids.
Understanding your medical, family and dietary history helps your health care provider find out how likely you are to form more stones.
Blood and Urine Tests
When a health care provider sees you for the first time and you have had stones before, he or she may want to see recent X-rays or order a new X-ray. They will do this to see if there are any stones in your urinary tract. Imaging tests may be repeated over time to check for stone growth. You may also need this test if you are having pain, hematuria or recurrent infections.
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What Are Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are small — usually between the size of a kernel of corn and a grain of salt. They can form when your body has too much of certain minerals, and at the same time doesnât have enough liquid. The stones can be brown or yellow, and smooth or rough.
Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
Small kidney stones may go undetected and be passed out painlessly in the urine. But it’s fairly common for a stone to block part of the urinary system, such as the:
- ureter the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder
- urethra the tube urine passes through on its way out of the body
A blockage can cause severe pain in the abdomen or groin and sometimes causes a urinary tract infection .
Read more about the symptoms of kidney stones.
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What Can Cause Urethra Pain After Passing Kidney Stones
While pain can ease once the stone reaches your bladder, it can become painful again as it leaves your body through the urethra. Passing a large stone can irritate the urethra, but it should be temporary.
Urethral pain can be due to a number of factors aside from passing a kidney stone. Continuing urethral pain should be assessed by a doctor.
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There Are Multiple Ways To Help Pass Kidney Stones
While there isnt a medication that can magically make the kidney stone come out of your body, your doctor may prescribe an alpha blocker to help with the pain. Alpha blockers help relax your urinary tract muscles and allow you to pass the stone without too much pain.
However, there are other natural remedies you can try while attempting to pass a kidney stone. Try to:
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Kidney Stone Causes And Risk Factors
Both men and women can get kidney stones, but menâs chances of getting them are about double that of womenâs.
Itâs often hard to figure out what caused a kidney stone. But they happen when your urine has high levels of certain minerals. These include:
- Uric acid
If you donât have enough urine in your body to water down the high concentration of minerals, stones can form. Think about stirring up your favorite drink from a powder mix. If you donât add enough liquid — say, water or juice — the powder will clump up and turn into hard, dry chunks.
Things that can raise your risk for kidney stones include:
- What you eat
- Some medications like triamterene , a diuretic that treats high blood pressure antiseizure drugs corticosteroids and protease inhibitors like indinavir sulfate for HIV.
Avoiding Recurrence Of Kidney Stones
If you have had one kidney stone, some tips that may help to prevent a second stone forming include:
- Talk to your doctor about the cause of the previous stone.
- Ask your doctor to check whether the medications you are on could be causing your stones. Do not stop your medications without talking to your doctor.
- Get quick and proper treatment of urinary infections.
- Avoid dehydration. Drink enough fluids to keep your urine volume at or above two litres a day. This can halve your risk of getting a second stone by lowering the concentration of stone-forming chemicals in your urine.
- Avoid drinking too much tea or coffee. Juices may reduce the risk of some stones, particularly orange, grapefruit and cranberry. Ask your doctor for advice.
- Reduce your salt intake to lower the risk of calcium-containing stones. Dont add salt while cooking and leave the saltshaker off the table. Choose low- or no-salt processed foods.
- Avoid drinking more than one litre per week of drinks that contain phosphoric acid, which is used to flavour carbonated drinks such as cola and beer.
- Always talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet.
Drinking mineral water is fine it cannot cause kidney stones because it contains only trace elements of minerals.
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Getting A Kidney Stone To Pass
After identifying the size and location of your kidney stone, follow the recommended treatment by your doctor. The vast majority of small kidney stones are able to be passed without medical intervention and can be helped with these steps:
Drinking water: By consuming as much as 3 liters of water a day, this will help flush out your renal system.
Take pain medication: Kidney stones can be extremely painful, therefore, taking pain medication like ibuprofen can help make the passing less agonizing.
Get an alpha-blocker from your doctor: An alpha-blocker can help relax your ureter and progress the kidney stone through your system.
Cut out the right foods: Removing high-oxalate foods like spinach, beets, potatoes, and nuts, as well as animal protein can help limit kidney stone minerals from forming.
Drink juice: Consuming juices from lemons, basil, and dandelion roots can provide compounds that regulate uric acid levels and help breakdown calcium deposits.
For larger stones , medical treatment is often required to enable kidney stones to be passed through the body. Common methods of care include soundwave therapy, surgery, and using a ureteroscope.
Shock Wave Therapy: A process called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy creates vibrations targeted at kidney stones to break the larger minerals into smaller pieces that can be passed by the body.
What You Need To Know About Passing Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are more common than you think. About 1 in 10 Americans experience them at some point throughout their life.1 If youve had them before, you understand how painful and debilitating they can be. If youve never had kidney stones, its important to understand what to expect. Not everyone will develop kidney stones and those that do might not experience any pain or discomfort. Regardless, you will need to pass them. To prepare yourself and get a better understanding of the underlying cause, weve put together this article on what you need to know about passing kidney stones.
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Small Amounts Of Urine
If you have a large stone it can create a blockage that makes urine hard to pass, resulting in the flow of urine slowing or stopping altogether. If your urine stops, you need medical attention immediately.
With severe cases of kidney stones, you can also experience chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting, which may also be signs of an infection.
Kidney stones may pass without pain, or they can be excruciating. However you may be dealing with this condition, were here to help. If you find yourself dealing with one or many of these symptoms, make an appointment with Drs. Herman, Kester and the Urology Center of Florida today.
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Kidney Stones In Bladder Symptoms
Kidneys are the usual place of origin for stones since these organs actually produce and secret urine. The kidneys filter out the waste matter and mineral elements from the blood that passes through the organ. These organs also assist in maintaining a constant water balance in the bloodstream by removing excess water molecules. The resultant filtered materials are utilized to secrete the waste fluid called urine. Stones in urine are defined by their location in the urinary tract.
The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and finally the urethra. Mineral elements that start to crystallize in the kidneys will at some point move out and travel to other organs situated in the urinary tract system. While some may manage to get stuck in the ureters, these are usually the big-sized stones, the smaller stones will successfully pass through the ureters and settle in the urinary bladder.
Now in a situation where the bladder is not capable of emptying fully, like in the case of prostate enlargement, weakened bladder wall, damaged nerves responsible for the release of urine, or certain inflammatory conditions, etc., it will cause the crystals to grow and form large-sized stones.
Stagnant urine in an undiluted state will promote more crystal formations that can stick together to form one solid mineral mass. This can obstruct urine outflow as well as irritate the bladder walls. Find here Complete Cause of Kidney Stone formation in the Bladder.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- Do I have a kidney stone or is there another reason for my symptoms?
- What type of kidney stone do I have?
- What size is my kidney stone?
- Where is my kidney stone located?
- How many kidney stones do I have?
- Do I need treatment or will I be able to pass the kidney stone?
- Should I be tested for kidney disease?
- What changes should I make to my diet?
- What type of procedure should I have to get rid of the stones?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Kidney stones can be frustrating at best and agonizingly painful at the worst. To stop your situation from getting worse, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The pain can get severe, and surgery might be necessary. Remember: dont skip your prescriptions, drink lots of water and follow any dietary guidelines. Also, remember that kidney stones are a temporary condition. They wont bother you forever.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2021.
Hydration Is Keyboth For Passing And Prevention
Staying hydrated while passing kidney stones is crucial. Kidney stones need to be flushed out of the body, and drinking lots of fluids will help move them along. Water is best , and there are a few liquids that should be avoided while passing a kidney stone.
You should do your best to eliminate alcohol, coffee, tea and soda during this time. Do your best to drink as much water as possible. Dehydrating fluids like alcohol and coffee will not help you pass your kidney stones and may make the pain worse.
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Signs You May Have A Kidney Stone And When To Go To The Er
If you have ever suffered from a kidney stone, you know just how uncomfortable and frustrating these urinary tract stones truly are. In fact, many people consider passing a kidney stone to be among the most painful experiences one can go through. Because the symptoms of a kidney stone often mimic the symptoms of unrelated conditions, however, you may not always realize when you are passing a stone. The dedicated team of board-certified ER physicians and expert staff at iCare ER & Urgent Care in Frisco and Fort Worth, TX are proud to provide rapid evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for kidney stones to help patients feel comfortable again as soon as possible. Learn more about kidney stones here, including what signs and symptoms may mean an urgent visit to your nearest ER is warranted.
How Long Does It Take To Pass A Kidney Stone
The amount of time it can take for you to pass a kidney stone is different from anothers. A stone thats smaller than 4 mm may pass within one to two weeks. A stone thats larger than 4 mm could take about two to three weeks to completely pass.
Once the stone reaches the bladder, it typically passes within a few days, but may take longer, especially in an older man with a large prostate. However, pain may subside even if the stone is still in the ureter, so its important to follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont pass the stone within four to six weeks.
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Going A Small Amount At A Time
Large kidney stones sometimes get stuck in a ureter. This blockage can slow or stop the flow of urine.
If you have a blockage, you may only urinate a little bit each time you go. Urine flow that stops entirely is a medical emergency.
These symptoms happen because of shared nerve connections between the kidneys and GI tract . Stones in the kidneys can trigger nerves in the GI tract, setting off an upset stomach.
The nausea and vomiting can also be your bodys way of responding to intense pain .
Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones
When you have kidney stone symptoms, as described above, see your health care provider. Shell check your medical history, give you a physical examination, and order imaging tests, as needed.
Your doctor may ask you to drink extra fluid to help flush out the stone. By straining your urine, you may be able to save a piece of the stone. This will enable your doctor to determine the type of stone, what may be causing the condition, and how to reduce your risk of recurring stones.
If your stone doesnt flush out, your doctor may order a high-resolution CT scan from the kidneys to the bladder or a KUB X-ray to determine the size and location of the stone.
Another test used for some patients is the intravenous pyelogram , an X-ray of the urinary tract taken after injecting dye.
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