Treating And Preventing Kidney Stones
Most kidney stones are small enough to be passed in your pee, and it may be possible to treat the symptoms at home with medication.
Larger stones may need to be broken up or removed with surgery.
It’s estimated up to half of all people who have had kidney stones will experience them again within the following 5 years.
To avoid getting kidney stones, make sure you drink plenty of water every day;so you do not become dehydrated.
It’s very important to keep your urine pale in colour to prevent waste products forming into kidney stones.
The kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that are roughly 10cm in length.
They’re located towards the back of the abdomen on either side of the spine.
The kidneys remove waste products from the blood. The clean blood is then transferred back into the body and the waste products are passed out of the body when you pee.
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.
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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The Surgical Alternatives Are From Your Urologist
What to do about what stones you have is all about surgery or not, and if surgery what kind. Intricate and entirely a matter for urologists, no site can guide you except in general. For stones already there you have four options: Nothing, shock wave lithotripsy, modern digital ureteroscopy, and percutaneous nephrolithotomy an actual surgical entry into the kidney through the back.
This article is a good review of ureteroscopy, the most recent modality and the most preferable, to my taste, when usable.
What Mimics Kidney Stone Pain
The first case with symptoms fully related to kidney and the second.
Right site of the pain, relapsing fever, frequent physical examination,
The ultrasound of kidney, ureter, and bladder revealed only a 3 mm calyceal stone.
though pain can come and go. Nausea and vomiting. Bloody, cloudy, odorous and/or frequent urination. Burning feeling during urination. Fever and chills. Symptoms of kidney stones may mimic.
General back pain, on the other hand, can be felt anywhere on your back. So if the pain is in your middle back or shoulders, chances are, its not a kidney stone. 2. Pain that comes and goes in waves and changes in intensity. As the kidney stone moves through your urinary tract, youll feel pain differently.
Men sometimes feel pain at the tip of their penis. As the stone moves down the ureter, it can also mimic the pain of other conditions, says Clayman. For example, if the kidney stone is on the.
As the stone approaches the ureterovesical junction, lower quadrant pain, urinary urgency, frequency and dysuria are common, mimicking bacterial cystitis.
The imaging findings are often nonspecific and mimic urothelial carcinoma. We present a.
She denied a fever or history of previous kidney stones.
A Mystery Disease: Clinic delves into the locus painful gout attacks He lists the sudden and severe pain of gout at number 3 on an informal worst-pain list: Theres childbirth, a kidney stone and gout.
Kidney stones are not the same as bladder stones.
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What Are The Stones And Crystals Called
You know you form stones or that crystals cause your symptoms. That is a necessary requirement. The next step is to name them.
Here;are the key articles to read right now. Read them in this order.
These articles tell you about the central role of crystals in kidney stone disease. Crystals make stones what they are. The types of stones are simply the types of crystals in the stones. Crystals are defined precisely, by their structures of atoms and molecules into specific patterns of attachment like macrame. If you have stones, the type is central to all of your care.
When To See A Doctor For Kidney Stones
People often seek immediate medical attention for kidney stones due to the excruciating pain and nausea theyre experiencing. If they havent had stones before, their symptoms can be quite daunting. A lot will say, I thought I was dying, says Dr. Pearle. Always seek immediate medical attention if you have severe pain, vomiting, bleeding, or signs of infection.
Smaller stones often pass on their own. How long it takes to pass a kidney stone varies from person to person and by the size and location of the stone. If a stone is too large to pass on its own or is causing other problems, you may need to have it removed with lithotripsy or kidney stone surgery. If left untreated, kidney stones could lead to kidney damage if they block the flow of urine.
Some doctors suggest taking painkillers and boosting daily water intake to help flush out the troublesome mass. If youre vomiting, youre probably dehydrated anyway, so additional fluid cant hurt. And staying well hydrated does reduce the risk of developing future kidney stones. A type of muscle relaxing medicine called an alpha blocker may also be prescribed to help speed up kidney stone passage and reduce pain.
Even if you think the stone has passed, always follow up with a doctor because symptoms can come and go.
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How Will My Provider Determine The Cause Of Flank Pain
Your provider will examine you and gently feel the sensitive area. They will ask you where you feel pain and if it gets better or worse with certain activities. Tell them about any symptoms youre having in addition to flank pain.
Your provider may order several tests to look for signs of kidney stones, infection, injuries or disease. These tests include:
- Basic metabolic panel to be sure your kidney function remains normal and that there is no obstruction from a kidney stone.
- Complete blood test and urine tests, to see how your organs are working, check for infection and detect signs of cancer and other disease.
- CT scan or ultrasound, to look for kidney stones and check their size and shape.
- Cystoscopy, to diagnose problems in the lower urinary tract.
- Spine X-ray or MRI, to see detailed images of injuries or abnormalities in your spine.
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.
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.
Editorial Sources And Fact
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Treatment Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be managed in a number of ways, depending upon the size of the stone, your other medical problems, and your overall comfort level.;Many small stones will pass with the help of medications, which will keep you comfortable while the stone passes naturally.;This process may take a few days to a week or more.
For larger stones, stones that are associated with severe symptoms, or stones;that will not pass with medical therapy,;surgery is often required.
When Should I Call My Doctor About Flank Pain
- Doesnt go away in about a day, or if it goes away and comes back.
- Is severe or comes on suddenly.
- Makes it difficult for you to do everyday activities.
Flank pain that occurs along with other symptoms could be a sign of a serious health problem. Call your provider right away if you have flank pain and:
- Blood in your urine or pain when urinating.
- Skin rash.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Flank pain is a symptom of several conditions and injuries. Rest, medications and other treatments can relieve pain and help you feel better. Call your provider if you have severe flank pain or it doesnt get better in about a day. You should see your provider right away if you also have other symptoms, such as a fever or chills. These could be signs of a serious condition. By drinking plenty of water and maintaining a healthy weight, you can lower your risk of conditions that lead to flank pain.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/14/2021.
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.
Increased Risk Of Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma
Upper tract urothelial carcinoma refers to cancers in the lining of the kidney or the ureter. Just like other types of cancer, it can also spread to other body organs. Upper tract urothelial carcinoma puts you at the risk of losing your kidney or ureter and in severe cases, it may lead to death as well.
Data from the same study has revealed that kidney stones are associated with a 1.7 fold increase in the risk of upper tract urothelial cancers.
What Makes Some Kidney Stones More Painful Than Others
Kidney stones can range from the size of a grain of sand to as big as a pea. Some are even as large as a Ping Pong ball.
Larger stones are less;likely to pass and more;likely to block the urinary tract, so they are generally more painful, says Lesser.
The size of the stone is not necessarily proportional to the degree of pain, adds Dr. Maniam. Its possible for a large stone to remain in the kidney, not causing an obstruction or pain, and its possible for a small stone to pass without causing pain if it doesnt create a blockage.
On the other hand, a person may have a small stone in the urinary tract that causes considerable pain;because the ureter itself is so tiny, even a small stone can cause obstruction that creates an incredible amount of pain, Lesser notes.
How To Get Relief From Kidney Stone Pain
When pain does occur, it can be so severe that many patients have to go to the closest emergency room to seek immediate treatment. ;Often a single dose of pain medication given by an ER doctor is enough to alleviate the pain for a prolonged period of time, allowing the stone to pass, says Lieske.
While narcotic pain medications can be carefully given for this purpose, studies suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs milder pain medications with fewer side effects can be as effective. A review of 36 clinical trials that compared NSAIDs with stronger pain medications for kidney stone pain relief found that NSAIDs were equivalent when it came to pain reduction and led to fewer side effects. 30977-6/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”>7)
Tamsulosin is also widely used to help relax the muscles of the ureter, increasing the chance of passing the stone and helping reduce symptoms of pain, Bechis notes. However, new evidence suggests this medication may not add as much benefit as previously thought, he adds. A study published in July 2015 in the;Lancet found that tamsulosin didnt help stones pass. 60933-3/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”>8)
How long does kidney stone pain last? It depends on how long it takes to pass the stone.
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Urge To Urinate Or Frequent Urination
Sometimes people with kidney stones feel like they need to peea lot. This symptom depends on where the stone is located.;Stones that are close to the bladder will have a lot of bladder symptoms: frequency, urgency, needing to get to the bathroom quickly, and going small amounts, Dr. Pearle notes.
The reason? Stones irritate the walls of the bladder and that manifests as the bladder contracting, she says, which makes you feel like youve gotta go.
If not a lot of pee comes out, you might think youre having trouble passing urine. But those bladder contractions can occur even if your bladder is empty, Dr. Peale explains. Unless the stone is actually in the urethra, there shouldnt really be trouble urinating, she says. You should always be making urine.
Ii Diagnostic Confirmation: Are You Sure Your Patient Has Nephrolithiasis
Definitive diagnosis of nephrolithiasis requires that a renal calculus is seen on imaging or identified in urine on urination. If a stone is never isolated for analysis, no risk factors point to alternative etiologies, and if radiology is consistent , most first idiopathic renal stones are calcium-based stones.
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E Common Pitfalls And Side
Fifteen to twenty percent of patients will require further management by urology for non-resolving renal calculi. Occasionally urology will opt for definitive management initially based on obstruction, stone size, or infection. The type of intervention is decided based partially on stone size, among other factors:
Ureteral stones no larger than 1 cm in proximal ureter first-line therapy is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, with percutaneous nephrolithotomy or ureteroscopy as alternatives.
Ureteral stones greater than 2cm, or an obstructing stone percutaneous nephrolithotomy, open or laparoscopic stone removal.
Urinary Bleeding Demands A Diagnosis
Your urologist will invariably recommend a brief diagnostic cystoscopy and a renal CT to be sure bleeding is not from cancer. It is during that evaluation stones may be seen. Even in a proven stone former, one needs this kind of diagnostic checkup over the years. The matter is outside my immediate concerns as physicians always attend to it.
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