How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed
When a patient comes to the hospital or emergency room complaining of severe pain in their abdomen, doctors may be on the lookout for possible kidney stones.
Tests to determine whether kidney stones are causing a patient’s discomfort may include:
- Urine tests: By taking multiple urine tests over the course of 48 hours, doctors will be able to ascertain if a patients urine contains large amounts of stone-forming minerals.
- Blood tests: Blood tests may reveal too much calcium or uric acid in the blood. Blood test results also help doctors monitor a patients kidney health.
- Imaging: Our team uses non-invasive radiologic imaging such as ultrasounds and CT scans to identify and quantify any stones that are present.
- Analysis of passed stones: If a patient has actually passed a stone, they may be asked to urinate through a strainer. The stones can then be analyzed in a lab to determine their specific makeup.
Signs You May Have Kidney Disease
More than 37 million American adults are living with kidney disease and most dont know it. There are a number of physical signs of kidney disease, but sometimes people attribute them to other conditions. Also, those with kidney disease tend not to experience symptoms until the very late stages, when the kidneys are failing or when there are large amounts of protein in the urine. This is one of the reasons why only 10% of people with chronic kidney disease know that they have it, says Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, Chief Medical Officer at the National Kidney Foundation.
While the only way to know for sure if you have kidney disease is to get tested, Dr. Vassalotti shares 10 possible signs you may have kidney disease. If youre at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure or if youre older than age 60, its important to get tested annually for kidney disease. Be sure to mention any symptoms youre experiencing to your healthcare practitioner.
What Causes Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are tiny hard stones that form in the kidney as a result of a buildup of crystallized material. Kidney stones are often made up of calcium, but they can also contain uric acid or amino acids . One or more kidney stones can form in one or both kidneys. Kidney stones begin as tiny specks and may gradually increase in size.
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Warm Compress For Kidney Stone Pain
Even if your kidney stones are too large to pass naturally, there are still some home remedies you can use to ease flank pain.
The Journal of Urology reported that a warm compress can help to ease renal colic in cases of severe abdominal and flank pain. Studies found that people suffering from extreme kidney pain were greatly helped with placing a heating pad on the abdomen or back. They had fewer symptoms of pain, anxiety, and nausea.23
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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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.
Common Symptoms And Signs That You May Experience Include:
- Severe pain in the side and back that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
- Pain that may radiate to the lower abdomen and groin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pink, red, or brown urine
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Fever and chills if an infection is present
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine if infection is present
In many instances, pain from passing a stone will occur suddenly. Patients should contact their physician right away when this occurs.
Immediate medical attention is required when pain is:
- So severe that a comfortable position can not be found
- Increasing despite analgesics
- Accompanied by nausea and vomiting
- Accompanied by fever and chills
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Passing A Kidney Stone
Small kidney stones may pass on their own without treatment. A doctor may recommend drinking more fluids to help flush the stone out of the system.
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe the medication Tamsulosin. This drug relaxes the ureter, making it easier for stones to pass. Some people may also require over-the-counter or prescription pain relief medication.
According to the AUA, a person should wait no longer than 6 weeks to pass a small kidney stone. They should seek medical attention sooner if they experience worsening pain or an infection.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to place a ureteral stent to allow urine to bypass the stone, with or without removing the stone at the same time. According to the Urology Care Foundation, doctors usually reserve surgery for stones that may have caused or lead to infection or stones that do not pass and block urine flow from the kidney.
Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Cancer
Though renal and transitional cancer types affect the kidney in slightly different ways, the signs and symptoms are largely the same. In addition, kidney cancer often doesnât show any obvious signs, especially in the early stages. Plus, many possible kidney cancer symptoms, like blood in the urine, can also result from less serious illnesses, like a bladder infection or kidney stones.
But itâs a good idea to talk to your doctor if you notice:
- Blood in your pee
- Lower back or belly pain with no clear cause
- A fever that doesnât go away and has no obvious cause
- Youâre more tired than normal
- You arenât as hungry or donât eat as much
- Youâve lost weight without trying
- A lump on your lower back, side, or belly
Because kidney cancer sometimes has no early symptoms, the first sign might not show up until after the cancer has spread.
It can go almost anywhere in your body, and symptoms depend on the location. It might show up as a skin lesion. Or, if it spreads to a lung, you might cough up blood. If it reaches your brain, you might have balance or vision problems, among other symptoms in your nervous system.
Regular checkups can help catch early warning signs so that you and your doctor can create a treatment plan.
Urology Care Foundation: âKidney Cancer?â
American Cancer Society: âKidney Cancer,â âKidney Cancer Signs and Symptoms,â âWhat Is Kidney Cancer?â
Cleveland Clinic: âKidney Cancer Overview.â
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What Are The Treatments For Kidney Stones
Most stones that cause renal colic are small and pass out with the urine in a day or so. You should drink plenty of fluids to encourage a good flow of urine. Strong painkillers are often needed to ease the pain until you pass the stone. No other treatment is usually needed.
Some stones become stuck in a kidney or in one of the tubes draining urine from a kidney and cause persistent symptoms or problems. In these cases, the pain usually becomes severe and you may need to be admitted to hospital. There are various treatment options which include the following:
Another option for a stone made purely from uric acid is to dissolve the stone. This can be done by drinking plenty of fluids and making the urine alkaline with medication.
Expected Duration Of Kidney Stones Passing In Females
When a kidney stone becomes caught in the ureter, it might remain there until your doctor eliminates it. Or, it ultimately might move downward and pass on its own. It can take hours, days or weeks for a stone to pass.
As a rule, the smaller sized the stone, the more likely it is to hand down its own. The bigger the stone, the higher the risk that it will stay caught in the ureter. A trapped stone can substantially block the flow of urine.
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Kidney Stone Symptoms In Women And Men
Although there is plenty of overlap, symptoms of kidney stones in men and women can vary based on the differences of each genders urinary tract.
Kidney stone symptoms in men include abdominal, groin and lower back pain, a frequent urge to urinate, blood in urine, gastric distress, fever, and chills.
Symptoms of kidney stones in women can include pain of the vulva, itching of the vulva and discharge, symptoms that are similar to ectopic pregnancy , ovulation/menstrual pain, cystitis, UTI, hernia, vaginitis, along with back pain, frequent urination, and blood in the urine.
What Factors Increase Women’s Risk Of Kidney Stones
Why is the incidence of kidney stones increasing in women? Well, the risk for stones include obesity, high-salt diet, increased sugar in the diet, and diabetes. All these risks have increased for women over the past 30 years. Some recent studies looked at the risks for kidney stones in women. 82,000 post-menopausal women were followed in the women’s health initiative study. Women who didn’t get stones had the highest intake of fiber, fruits and vegetables and lower sugar intake.
Unfortunately, women who’ve already had stones didn’t seem to lower their risk of getting them by having a diet high in fiber, fruits and vegetables. So once you’re a stone former you’re kind of stuck, or the stone is stuck. Another study of many thousands of women showed that a diet high in calcium was a little bit of a risk but taking calcium supplements wasn’t.
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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.
Kidney Stones Symptoms In Women
Kidney stones symptoms in women can range from no signs at all with silent stones all the way up to excruciating pain and a number of other symptoms. There are numerous types of kidney stones, and they can be found in varying sizes which range from microscopic up to a size large enough to block your urinary tract. Kidney stones in men may have some similar symptoms, and some of the same treatments at home remedies can be used to help relieve pain and passed the stone. One of the most frequent symptoms noticed is pain, and this may occur in the back, sides, genitals, or groin area.
Some of the other kidney stones symptoms in women can include blood in your urine, a frequent need to urinate, urination which is painful, and inability to urinate if the stone is blocking the flow of urine, and profuse sweating. Kidney stones pain may become very severe, and it may feel like the pain is moving as the stone moves through your urinary tract. Kidney stones symptoms in women can also include a loss of appetite, feeling tired, a fever, nausea, vomiting, and even constipation or diarrhea. A frequent complication of kidney stones is a urinary tract infection.
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Prevention Of Future Stones
Once your health care provider finds out why you are forming stones, he or she will give you tips on how to prevent them. This may include changing your diet and taking certain medications. There is no “one-size-fits-all” diet for preventing kidney stones. Everyone is different. Your diet may not be causing your stones to form. But there are dietary changes that you can make to stop stones from continuing to form.
Drink enough fluids each day.
If you are not producing enough urine, your health care provider will recommend you drink at least 3 liters of liquid each day. This equals about 3 quarts . This is a great way to lower your risk of forming new stones. Remember to drink more to replace fluids lost when you sweat from exercise or in hot weather. All fluids count toward your fluid intake. But it’s best to drink mostly no-calorie or low-calorie drinks. This may mean limiting sugar-sweetened or alcoholic drinks.
Knowing how much you drink during the day can help you understand how much you need to drink to produce 2.5 liters of urine. Use a household measuring cup to measure how much liquid you drink for a day or two. Drink from bottles or cans with the fluid ounces listed on the label. Keep a log, and add up the ounces at the end of the day or 24-hour period. Use this total to be sure you are reaching your daily target urine amount of at least 85 ounces of urine daily.
Reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
Eat the recommended amount of calcium.
What Are The 10 Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Stones In Females
Hard collections or deposits if salts and minerals accumulated and formed inside the kidneys are kidney stones. There are many factors that can lead to the formation of kidney stones in a person. Generally, kidney stones are formed when the urine is so concentrated that it allows the minerals to crystallize and stick up together. Both males and females run an equal risk of kidney stones. The sex of the individual does not play a vital role in occurrence of the disease. Stones in kidneys can affect other parts of the urinary tract including the bladder, ureters, etc.
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Food Tastes Like Metal
Why this happens:
A build-up of wastes in the blood can make food taste different and cause bad breath. You may also notice that you stop liking to eat meat, or that you are losing weight because you just don’t feel like eating.
What patients said:
Foul taste in your mouth. Almost like you’re drinking iron.
I don’t have the appetite I had before I started dialysis, I must have lost about 10 pounds.
Signs Of Kidney Disease
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Kidney Stone Symptoms: Pain Pain And More Pain
While some small kidney stones can pass through the urinary tract and out of your body without being noticed, others have tell-tale signs, most notably: pain.
Symptoms are similar regardless of gender, and include pain in your back or sides, radiating pain into the groin, nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine and fever. The presence of stones in the kidney can also lead to chronic UTIs, so if this is something in your own history, its a good idea to bring it up to your doctor.
Telltale Signs You Have A Kidney Stone
Most people have two kidneys located behind their abdominal organs along the middle of their back. The purpose of your kidneys is to filter blood and send any waste thats collected into your urine.
Sometimes, these waste products build up and form small, hard deposits called kidney stones. Stones develop inside kidneys, but they exit the body through the urinary tract.
Because the ureter is small, passing a stone can cause complications inside the urinary tract, as well as a range of unpleasant symptoms from abdominal pain to nausea. About 1 in 10 Americans will experience at least one kidney stone in their lifetime, but learning to recognize the telltale signs of a kidney stone isnt always easy especially if youve never had one.
Our team at Advanced Urology in Redondo Beach, Culver City, and Los Angeles, California, is here to help. While small stones might pass without your knowledge, larger stones can cause excruciating pain. Make an appointment at Advanced Urology if you have
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