What Are Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are small, hard pebble-like lumps formed when there are high levels of various minerals in urine. The minerals and other substances crystallize and form hard masses before they can be flushed away. Classic stones are a blend of calcium and oxalate , but lumps of uric acid, calcium phosphate and other substances also may form. A stone may sit in the kidney or ureter with little or no pain. But often when the stone leaves the kidney or gets stuck in the ureter, it blocks the flow of urine and causes pain.
What Are Other Ways To Get Relief From Kidney Stone Pain
Other than a heating pad, there are other things you could do to reduce pain when passing a kidney stone. These suggestions are not a replacement for seeking medical advice, especially if you have severe kidney stone symptoms.
Some activities that you can try to relieve your pain are:
- You can walk around for a few minutes. Do it for only as long as you feel relief from it. Once it feels too painful to walk, you should stop and rest again.
- Try to do some gentle stretches and a little yoga. The exercise will help you relax and take your mind off the pain.
- Take a hot bath or shower. The warmth of the bathroom or shower will give you some relief from the pain.
- Drink a lot of water. The water will help the kidney stone pass quickly, leading to relief from the pain.
- Apply oils on the painful area and gently massage. This massage can help reduce pain.
Passing a kidney stone can be a very painful process. But, with the help of a heating pad, pain relievers, and other methods, you should feel only a little pain.
Common Treatments For Polycystic Kidney Disease
What Is Polycystic Kidney Disease? Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disease that causes cysts to grow inside the kidneys and damage kidney tissues. This causes the kidneys to become abnormally large and lose efficiency over time. The cysts are fluid-filled round sacs that do vary in size, but they …
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Take An Epsom Salt Bath
Both Epsom salts and warm water can ease pain. This can help make the uncomfortable side effects of the kidney infection a little more tolerable while you wait for the antibiotics to take effect.
Since abdominal pain is sometimes a symptom of antibiotics, as well as kidney infections, Epsom salts could also help even after symptoms from the kidney infection are resolved.
How Do Health Care Professionals Treat Kidney Stones
Health care professionals usually treat kidney stones based on their size, location, and what type they are.
Small kidney stones may pass through your urinary tract without treatment. If youre able to pass a kidney stone, a health care professional may ask you to catch the kidney stone in a special container. A health care professional will send the kidney stone to a lab to find out what type it is. A health care professional may advise you to drink plenty of liquids if you are able to help move a kidney stone along. The health care professional also may prescribe pain medicine.
Larger kidney stones or kidney stones that block your urinary tract or cause great pain may need urgent treatment. If you are vomiting and dehydrated, you may need to go to the hospital and get fluids through an IV.
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What Are Common Kidney Pain Symptoms
People with kidney pain may experience different symptoms. Some of the most common kidney pain symptoms include:
- A constant, dull ache in your back.
- Pain in your sides, under your rib cage or in your abdomen.
- Severe or sharp pain that comes in waves.
- Pain that spreads to your groin area.
- Kidney pain is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting, especially if the pain is due to kidney stones.
What Causes Kidney Pain
Kidneys drain urine to the bladder via tubes called ureters. Your bladder is emptied via the urethra. Problems in any of these areas can cause pain, and may be caused by:
- an ultrasound
If you have had kidney stones in the past, it may not always be necessary to have a computed tomography scan, which exposes you to radiation. Ask your doctor if a CT scan is necessary for you. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
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What Is The Treatment For A Kidney Infection
- Antibiotics will usually clear the infection. An antibiotic is usually prescribed straightaway if a kidney infection is suspected, even before the result of the urine test is known. Some germs are resistant to some antibiotics. Therefore, sometimes a change of antibiotic may be needed if the urine test shows a germ which is resistant to the initial antibiotic. The course of antibiotics is for 7-14 days, depending on which one is used. Commonly used antibiotics for kidney infections include ciprofloxacin, cefalexin, co-amoxiclav or trimethoprim.
- Painkillers such as paracetamol can ease pain and reduce a high temperature . Stronger painkillers may be needed if the pain is more severe. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen are not usually recommended for a person with a kidney infection. This is because they may possibly cause problems with the working of the kidney during a kidney infection.
- Plenty of fluid should be taken to prevent lack of fluid in the body .
In many cases, the infection is not too severe, treatment can be taken at home and the infection will clear with a course of antibiotic tablets. If treatment is to be home-based, a doctor should be called if the symptoms are not improving after 24 hours, or the person is feeling more unwell.
However, some people need to be admitted to hospital for example if:
Let Kidney Stones Pass
Stones typically take several weeks to a few months to pass, depending on the number of stones and their size. Over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen , acetaminophen , or naproxen , can help you endure the discomfort until the stones pass. Your doctor also may prescribe an alpha blocker, which relaxes the muscles in your ureter and helps pass stones quicker and with less pain.
If the pain becomes too severe, or if they are too large to pass, they can be surgically removed with a procedure called a ureteroscopy. Here, a small endoscope is passed into the bladder and up the ureter while you are under general anesthesia. A laser breaks up the stones, and then the fragments are removed.
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What Is The Difference Between Back Pain And Kidney Pain
Here are the things you can watch out for to tell if you have back pain or youre having kidney pain:
For Urinary Tract Infections
Since three of the most common causes of kidney discomfort occur in the urinary tract, here are some remedies to relieve pain in the kidneys related to the urinary tract:
1. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is key to relieving pain in the kidneys since water will help flush bacteria out of the body. Plus, staying hydrated will help clear out the urinary tract as a whole and work to eliminate any possible infections.
Many specialists recommend the 8×8 rule, meaning you should drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day. However, water intake is highly dependant on you and your health, so take this article into consideration when determining your daily amount of water intake.
2. Drink Cranberry Juice
While not scientifically proven, cranberry juice is known to be a remedy for urinary tract infections. If you choose to alternate between cranberry juice and water, be sure to choose a cranberry juice that isnt packed full of additional sweeteners. A cranberry supplement or pure cranberry juice is always the best way to go!
3. Take Probiotics
Its no secret that probiotics are beneficial for you, especially when it comes to fighting bacteria and kidney pain. Studies show that probiotics can improve kidney function and assist in processing waste too.
4. Drink Parsley Juice
You can also mix parsley into a smoothie to make drinking it more bearable. Check out these recipes for inspiration!
5. Take a Warm Epsom Salt Bath
6. Apply Heat
7. Use Non-Aspirin Pain Killers
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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 .
Dietary Calcium And Kidney Stones
Only lower your calcium intake below that of a normal diet if instructed by your doctor. Decreased calcium intake is only necessary in some cases where absorption of calcium from the bowel is high.
A low-calcium diet has not been shown to be useful in preventing the recurrence of kidney stones and may worsen the problem of weak bones. People with calcium-containing stones may be at greater risk of developing weak bones and osteoporosis. Discuss this risk with your doctor.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
You should see a healthcare provider if your kidney pain is persistent or worsening. Even if the pain is dull, there is no such thing as “normal” kidney pain. It is in your best interest to have it looked at.
You should see a healthcare provider immediately if the kidney pain is accompanied by:
- Fever with chills
- Solid fragments or grains in the urine
- Frequent urination
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy
This means using a machine to send shock waves from outside your body to break up the stone. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy doesnt always work as well as other treatments, but it means less time in hospital and a lower risk of complications.
The shock waves break the stone into fragments small enough to be passed in your urine. You may feel some pain as the stone breaks up, so youll usually have a sedative and a painkiller. The treatment takes 30 to 60 minutes depending on how big the stone is. You need to lie as still as possible. You should be able to go home within a couple of hours.
The procedure can cause skin blistering or bruising. This should disappear after about a week. You can use skin cream to soothe your skin. You may have some pain and bleeding as you pass the stone fragments. Contact your doctor if this is severe.
You may need to have ESWL more than once to completely get rid of your kidney stones. It may not be suitable if youre pregnant, if your blood doesnt clot properly or if you get a lot of urine infections. Being obese can make it harder to target the stone. You may need to have medical expulsive therapy afterwards to get rid of any fragments.
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Causes Of Kidney Stones
The most common cause of kidney stones isdehydration. Youre not drinking enough water to dilute the concentration of minerals in your urine . Recommended water consumption is about two liters or half a gallon of water a day.
Water is the best fluid to drink in order to prevent kidney stones, Dr. Abromowitz explains. But water from a well is very high in solutes, which increases your chance of kidney stones. So i f youre drinking well water, you ought to have a purification system on it. Every year I see patients who develop a kidney stone for this reason.
Other kidney stone risk factors include:
- Too little or too much exercise
- Being overweight
- Eating food with excess salt, sugar, and animal protein
- Weight loss surgery
- Kidney infections. Infections increase the risk of kidney stones by slowing urine flow or changing the acid balance of urine.
- Family history of kidney stones
- Some drugs used to treat AIDS, seizures, and migraines can cause kidney stones.
What Causes Flank Pain
Pain in the flanks can result from several injuries, conditions and diseases. The most common causes of flank pain include:
- Problems in the urinary tract: Severe kidney pain can result from several types of urinary tract infections , including a kidney infection and infection of the bladder. Infections and ureteral obstructions usually cause pain as well as other symptoms, such as fever, chills, bloating, vomiting and blood in the urine . Dehydration can lead to urinary tract problems that cause flank pain.
- Back problems:Arthritis, fractures and structural problems in the spine can cause lower back pain. A herniated disk, pinched nerve and degenerative disk disease cause pain to spread to the flanks. Severe strains can lead to muscle spasms in the flank or lower back.
- Disease: Flank pain may be a sign of several types of disease, including gallbladder disease, liver disease, kidney cancer and some gastrointestinal diseases. Renal artery disease, a condition that blocks blood flow to the kidneys, can also cause flank pain.
- Shingles: A viral infection causes shingles. Symptoms of shingles include a painful rash, usually on one side of the trunk .
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm: The lower part of the aorta can swell up. If it gets too big, it can rupture . An abdominal aortic aneurysm causes pain and tenderness in the flank area.
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Can Kidney Infections Be Prevented
You can reduce your chances of developing a kidney infection by keeping your bladder and urethra free from bacteria. This can include drinking plenty of fluids, keeping your genitals clean and treating any constipation.
The symptoms of a kidney infection usually develop quite quickly over a few hours or days.
Common symptoms include:
- pain and discomfort in your side, lower back or around your genitals
- high temperature
- shivering or chills
- feeling very weak or tired
- loss of appetite
You may have other symptoms if you also have cystitis or urethritis . These additional symptoms may include:
- pain or a burning sensation during urination
- need to urinate frequently or urgently
- feeling that you’re unable to urinate fully
- blood in your urine
- cloudy or foul smelling urine
- pain in your lower abdomen
Causes Of Kidney Pain
There are a number of different things that can cause kidney pain, from infection to kidney stones and beyond. While alleviating your pain might seem like the #1 priority, never forego a doctor visit to get a treatment plan that will eliminate the source of the pain. Some common causes of kidney pain include infections along the urinary tract and kidney stones.
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Why Do I Feel Pain In My Right Kidney
If you have pain in the area of your right kidney, it could be caused by a relatively common kidney problem, such as a urinary tract infection or kidney stone. Pain in the area of your right kidney might also be caused by a more uncommon condition such as renal vein thrombosis or polycystic kidney disease .
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Can You Prevent Kidney Infections
Prevention of urinary tract and kidney infection primarily focuses on reducing the associated risk factors. As mentioned earlier, the majority of urinary tract infections are caused by the bacteria gaining entry into the urinary system through the urethra. Therefore, personal hygiene plays an important role in preventing kidney infection.
Examples of preventative measures include:
- Emptying the bladder after sexual intercourse or wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom may significantly reduce the chance of developing kidney infection in women.
- Drinking plenty of fluids has been shown to be the single most effective measure for preventing urinary tract infections.
- In individuals with long-standing urinary catheters, routinely scheduled changing of the catheter as well as regular cleaning around the catheter’s entry into the urethra are important steps in prevention of urinary tract infections.
- If kidney stones are the predisposing factor to repeated kidney infections, the removal of the stone and preventing future stones from forming may be necessary. These individuals may be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and removal of kidney stones.
- Cranberries and cranberry juice can be beneficial in preventing kidney infections. It is important to note that cranberries may not treat an existing kidney infection, but have been found to be a simple preventive measure in addition to the other measures listed above.
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