What Happens If You Let Kidney Stones Go Untreated
If you ignore kidney stones, they can cause serious complications. The most common complication is a blocked ureter, which is when a stone gets stuck in one of your tubes that transports urine from your kidney to the bladder. This can lead to infection and possible scarring of the tube.
Another common complication is an infection, which occurs when bacteria enters your urinary tract through an open wound caused by passing a stone. If the infection spreads into your bloodstream, it can be life-threatening.
Other complications include:
Chronic pain, which may last for years
Blood in your urine , which is usually caused by bleeding from a blockage in one of your tubes that connects your kidney to the bladder or urethra
The longer you wait to treat a kidney stone, the more likely it is to become larger and more difficult to pass.
If you experience pain in your lower back that doesnt go away or if you pass blood in your urine, see a doctor immediately. These symptoms can indicate that the stone has moved into your urinary tract and caused an obstruction that requires surgery.
Kidney stones can also cause infection. If you have a kidney stone, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after using the bathroom, even if it doesnt hurt. This will help reduce the risk of introducing bacteria from the stool into your urinary tract.
Can A Large Kidney Stone Cause An Injury
Your risk of injury from a kidney stone can go up based on the size and location of the stone. A larger stone could get stuck in a ureter, causing pressure to build up. This can lead to renal failure and, in the worst-case scenario, you could lose your kidney. The chance of passing a 1 cm stone is less than 10%, and stones larger than 1 cm typically dont pass.
How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones
Here are a few steps you can take to prevent kidney stones:
- Drink enough fluids every day. Eight to twelve cups of fluid per day is enough for most people. If you have kidney disease and need to limit fluids, ask your doctor how much fluid you should have each day.
- Limit your sodium and animal protein such as meat and eggs. If your doctor can find out what your kidney stone is made of, they may give you a specific eating plan to help prevent future kidney stones.
- Take all of your prescription medicines as your doctor tells you to treat health problems that may make kidney stones more likely for you.
Never start or stop any new medicines or an eating plan without talking to your doctor.
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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.
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.
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Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented
While not all kidney stones can be prevented, there are ways to lower your risk of developing one or developing another one. The first and foremost way would be to drink enough fluids to ensure your urinary system gets flushed out well.
Your doctor could recommend that you avoid certain types of foods, but that is an individual call. For certain types of stones, sometimes medications are prescribed to help reduce the risk as well.
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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 .
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Do They Keep You In The Hospital For Kidney Stones
I saw a urologist two years ago and they said they were kidney stones and they had to put me in the hospital. The reason they did this was because it had started to move down into my ureter, which is the tube that takes urine from your kidney to your bladder. When this happens, it can cause a blockage in the tube and there is only one way to get rid of it, which would be surgery. Im not sure if these are common, or if they are just too small .
They said that most people who have them dont even know whats going on until after it passes through their system . They dont usually have any symptoms at all unless it gets stuck somewhere along its path.
I would recommend seeing your doctor about this issue as soon as possible so that you can get treated for whatever is causing your pain!
The treatment for kidney stones depends on their size, location, and number.
Kidney stones that are small enough to pass on their own may not need any treatment. However, if the stone is large or causing discomfort or pain, it will likely need to be removed.
Treatment options include:
Other pain relievers include acetaminophen or tramadol , but these arent recommended for people with kidney disease .
Surgery to remove the stone. Surgery is an option when medications arent effective and you experience ongoing pain from a kidney stone
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors:
How large are the kidney stones?
Are they impacted or floating?
What is your general health and age?
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 body’s 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 don’t 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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If Ive Had Kidney Stones Once Will I Get Them Again
If youve had a kidney stone, you are 50% more likely to develop another within 5-7 years. Kidney stones increase your risk of developing chronic kidney disease, so its important you continue to maintain a balanced diet and drink lots of water to help reduce your risk for future issues and you may need medications to help reduce your risk for making future stones. If you have had more than one kidney stone or kidney stones in both kidneys, your clinician may recommend an evaluation for more specific treatments to prevent future stones.
How To Prevent Kidney Stones
What you can do to prevent future kidney stones depends on the type of stone and your medical history, so youll want to speak with your doctor about your options, Simon says. Prevention strategies might involve drinking plenty of water, making dietary adjustments , or taking various medications to help moderate the levels of certain minerals in your urine, the Mayo Clinic explains.
Additional reporting by Claire Gillespie.
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What Are The Risk Factors Associated With Kidney Stones
Although anyone can develop a kidney stone, there are some factors that can increase your risk. Some risk factors cant be changed, while others can be controlled or modified.
You may be at a higher risk of developing kidney stones if:
- youve had kidney stones before
- somebody in your family has had kidney stones
- you dont drink enough fluids
- your diet is high in protein, salt , and/or sugar
- you have overweight or obesity
- you have diabetes
- you take calcium-based antacids or diuretics
- youve had gastric bypass surgery or other gastrointestinal surgery
- youre of reproductive age and have had one or more pregnancies
- you eat a diet thats high in red meat or high in oxalates
- you have a condition that causes high levels of cystine, uric acid, calcium, or oxalate in your urine
Treatment For Kidney Stones
Smalls stones can and will usually pass on their own. The patient can stay home drinking liquids and taking pain medication as needed, until the stone passes. If pain is too severe or a stone is blocking the urinary tract, then a medical procedure called lithotripsy can be performed to remove the stone.
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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.
Kidney Stone Infection Symptoms
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When a kidney stone blocks the tubes that drain urine from the kidneys to the bladder, called the ureters, urine collects in the kidneys, causing a kidney infection. Kidney stones may block the tube that drains the bladder, called the urethra, and cause cystitis or inflammation and irritation of the bladder. Infection ensues. Infection in the urinary system causes distinct symptoms and, if not treated quickly, can cause serious illness and kidney damage.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Gallstone Vs Kidney Stone
Kidney stones are hard crystalline structures that are formed within the kidney or urinary tract while gallstones are hard lumps that develop in the gallbladder or bile duct. These stones differ in their position and composition in the body. Kidney stone patients are more likely to be men while gallstone patients are more likely to be women. Both kidney stones and gallstones are often asymptomatic until the stones grow too large, at which time the patient experiences excruciating pain.
What Are The Risk Factors For Kidney Stones
Several factors can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. However, not everyone with risk factors will develop kidney stones.
Risk factors for kidney stones include:
- dehydration, including long-term mild dehydration, which results in the production of smaller amounts of urine that contain a higher concentration of substances that form kidney stones, such as calcium and amino acids
- a family history of kidney stone formation
- gout, which is due to higher levels of uric acid
- a high protein diet
- urinary tract infection
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Lithotripsy For Kidney Stones
In Lithotripsy, shock waves are used to break larger stones into smaller ones so that the smaller pieces can easily pass through the urinary tract. These smaller pieces flush out of the body along with the urine.
The entire procedure of Lithotripsy gets completed in less than an hour and you wont even feel any pain. The procedure is minimally invasive and you can get rid of kidney stones without much discomfort.
If you are experiencing the troubles of kidney stones, it is better to maintain a proactive approach so that serious complications can be avoided.
The modern Lithotripsy procedure is available at Pristyn Care. If your condition requires undergoing lithotripsy, you can contact us. Our medical coordinators will resolve any queries that you have about the procedure and we will be happy to help you lead a pain-free and complication-free life.
If You Think You Have A Kidney Stone
If you have been diagnosed with a kidney stone, please call 362-8200 to schedule an appointment for evaluation and treatment we will do our best to make sure you are seen promptly. You may be directed to the emergency department if you are experiencing intractable nausea, vomiting, pain or fever so that urgent treatment can be given.
We have a very limited number of same-day appointments therefore, it is likely that you will be directed to the emergency department for rapid evaluation. There, they will obtain scans and labs that will help confirm the diagnosis of kidney stones. From that information, we can make an informed decision about your treatment.
If you have recently passed a stone, you should have close follow-up with a urologist. Our team of stone experts can accommodate you at any of our clinic locations.
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What Do Kidney Stone Symptoms Feel Like
Youre probably already aware that passing a kidney stone can be incredibly painful. Perhaps youve 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 its felt and how bad it can get its not the only symptom to be aware of.
Kidney stones are fairly common and often painful, but theyre also treatable and even preventable, says Dr. Chris Kannady, urologist at Houston Methodist. If you think you might have a kidney stone, its important to see your doctor as soon as possible since delaying care for a kidney stone can lead to serious complications.
But, when all youve heard about kidney stones is how much they hurt, how can you tell if your pain might be kidney stone pain?