Myths About Kidney Stones
If youve ever gotten a kidney stone you know that its not like a nagging cough, it is quite painful and in extreme cases can even require surgery to correct. The rumors that people spread about what a kidney stone experience is like can be quite frightening but the fact is most of these rumors are just that rumors. Its important to know, however, if the what you are experiencing are actual kidney stone symptoms, or something else, for example, a urinary tract infection or sometimes just plain old indigestion. When you start buying into these myths that people spread about kidney stones, it can can cause you undue stress or worse, lead you to a treatment that will advance your problem not help it. This is why we want to debunk the top myths about kidney stones so you can better know kidney stone symptoms when you spot them. Keep in mind the main symptoms will be different for everyone but include pain when you urinate, nausea, frequent urination, fevers and cold chills, and pains that come in different intensities and fluctuate. Just because you have one of these symptoms or lack thereof, does not indicate you have kidney stones. For your healths sake dont believe the hype of these kidney stone and treatment myths:
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Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones
Many kidney stones are discovered by chance during examinations for other conditions. Urine and blood tests can help with finding out the cause of the stone. Further tests may include:
- x-rays, including an intravenous pyelogram , where dye is injected into the bloodstream before the x-rays are taken.
We asked ourselves that very question and tried to find out.
Lots of things happen as we get older. We get fat. Our kidneys gradually lose their youthful glow. Both of these can lower the urine pH. We get diabetic, and that surely lowers urine pH. Do any of these account for what this figure shows us?
How Will I Know If I Passed A Kidney Stone
When a kidney stone enters the bladder, any pain you may have felt while trying to pass the stone will significantly decrease. Instead of pain, you may feel pressure and the need to urinate frequently as your body tries to get rid of the stone. In most cases, you can assume the stone has passed completely once you begin to feel relief from your symptoms.
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Why Do Doctors Examine The Contents Of The Stone
There are four types of stones. Studying the stone can help understand why you have it and how to reduce the risk of further stones. The most common type of stone contains calcium. Calcium is a normal part of a healthy diet. The kidney usually removes extra calcium that the body doesn’t need. Often people with stones keep too much calcium. This calcium combines with waste products like oxalate to form a stone. The most common combination is called calcium oxalate.
Less common types of stones are: Infection-related stones, containing magnesium and ammonia called struvite stones and stones formed from monosodium urate crystals, called uric acid stones, which might be related to obesity and dietary factors. The rarest type of stone is a cvstine stone that tends to run in families.
Kidney Stone Treatment Options
The key to treating kidney stones is to get the right diagnosis through imaging to see the size and location of the stone.
The pain really comes from the stone blocking the collecting system within the kidney so urine cant get by. The obstruction causes the pain. So, to treat this, we work to reduce the pressure in the kidney, says Sweet.
The first course of action is usually to treat the pain and reduce inflammation using medications to see if the stone will break down and pass on its own. If a stone wont pass, further treatment can reduce the pressure inside the kidney and reduce the risk of infection.
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Treatment For Kidney Stones
Most kidney stones can be treated without surgery. Ninety per cent of stones pass by themselves within three to six weeks. In this situation, the only treatment required is pain relief. However, pain can be so severe that hospital admission and very strong pain-relieving medication may be needed. Always seek immediate medical attention if you are suffering strong pain.
Small stones in the kidney do not usually cause problems, so there is often no need to remove them. A doctor specialising in the treatment of kidney stones is the best person to advise you on treatment.
If a stone doesnt pass and blocks urine flow or causes bleeding or an infection, then it may need to be removed. New surgical techniques have reduced hospital stay time to as little as 48 hours. Treatments include:
What Does A Kidney Stone Attack Feel Like
There are many different symptoms that a person can have which may indicate that they have a kidney stone.
Kidney stone symptoms include:
- Sharp pain in the abdomen below the ribcage on the side, back, and possibly the groin area
- Frequent urination or having urge to urinate
- Burning sensation or pain while urinating
- Color change in urine blood, darker brown, cloudy or foul-smelling
- Chills or fever
- Nausea and vomiting
Depending on the nature of the patientâs kidney stone, the severity and feeling of these kidney stone attacks will vary. Kidney stone attacks are often a very painful and discomforting feeling for patients, lasting for minutes or hours. These sharp pains begin suddenly and rapidly without much warning, may come and go, and vary in intensity, becoming very debilitating over the course of the attack. When a patient first experiences a kidney stone attack, they may be able to tolerate it initially. Many people find themselves restless. They are unable to sit still or comfortably, continuously tossing and turning in order to find a comfortable position that will help subside their pain. The sudden pain increases over a short period of time often causes the patient to report to the emergency room or seek medical attention.
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What Causes Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are formed from substances in your urine. The substances that combine into stones normally pass through your urinary system. When they dont, its because there isnt enough urine volume, causing the substances to become highly concentrated and to crystalize. This is typically a result of not drinking enough water. The stone-forming substances are:
These and other chemicals are some of the waste products that exit your body.
Medication For Kidney Stones
For most people with recurrent calcium stones, a combination of drinking enough fluids, avoiding urinary infections, and specific treatment with medications will significantly reduce or stop new stone formation.
Certain medications such as thiazide diuretics or indapamide reduce calcium excretion and decrease the chance of another calcium stone. Potassium citrate or citric juices are used to supplement thiazide treatment and are used by themselves for some conditions where the urine is too acidic.
For people who have a high level of uric acid in their urine, or who make uric acid stones, the medication allopurinol will usually stop the formation of new stones.
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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.
Signs You May Have Kidney Stones
Publish Date: 06/23/2020
By Kristin Baldea, MD, Urology
Kidney stones are hardened deposits of minerals, salts and other natural substances that develop inside the kidneys.
Kidney stones develop when minerals that are filtered by the kidneys become concentrated. The minerals collect inside your kidneys where urine is formed.
Over time, these minerals can form stones that be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.
At first, kidney stones usually dont cause symptoms, especially if they arent moving inside the kidney.
However, once they pass into the ureter , you may notice several symptoms.
This happens because the stone can block the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder.
Below are some of the most common signs of kidney stones to look out for:
Pain is the number one indicator of a kidney stone. This discomfort is caused when the kidney stone is moving around the kidney or through the ureters.
Such pain may take several forms, including:
- Pain in the groin or lower abdomen
- Pain that comes and goes in severity
- Pain while urinating
- Sharp pain along your side and back, usually just below your ribs
Because pain in your abdomen is a symptom associated with many conditions, its always a good idea to check with your doctor if you are experiencing this type of pain so they can give you a better diagnosis.
You will especially want to see your doctor if the pain prevents you from sitting down, causes vomiting or makes you feel feverish.
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Types Of Kidney Stones
The different types of stones are made of different types of substances. Itâs important to know the type of stone you have, so you can know what may have caused it and how to prevent it.
If you pass a kidney stone, you should take it to your doctor so they can send it to the lab and find out what kind it is:
Calcium stones. Most kidney stones are made from calcium, in the form of calcium oxalate. There are two kinds of calcium stones:
Calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a substance made daily by your liver. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, are high in it. Your body absorbs the substance when you eat these foods. Other things that can make the concentration of calcium or oxalate in your urine to rise are taking high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery and certain metabolic disorders.
Calcium phosphate. This type of stone happens more often in people with metabolic conditions, like renal tubular acidosis or with people who take medications to treat migraines or seizures.
Struvite stones. These can form from a urinary tract infection . The bacteria that cause the infection make ammonia build up in your urine. This leads to formation of the stones. The stones can get large very quickly.
Uric acid stones. These form in people who lose too much fluid because of chronic diarrhea or malabsorption eating a high-purine diet or having diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Certain genetic factors also may increase your risk of uric acid stones.
What Does A Kidney Stone Feel Like
If youre having an immediate kidney stone issue, call us at 1-844-NOSTONE for a same-day appointment.
Kidney stones can go undetected for a while, but once one starts stirring around, theres a big chance youll be in a lot of pain. Stones that remain in the kidneys may not cause any symptoms, but if a stone moves into the urinary tract, the symptoms can get intense fast. It sounds like this could certainly be a possible cause of the symptoms youre describing.
Kidney stone pain can be felt in your side, back, lower abdomen and groin areas. It can start as a dull ache, then quickly transform into sharp, severe cramping or pain. The pain can come and go, meaning you may feel excruciating pain in one moment then fine the next.
Stones can vary in size, but some can be so large that your physician will have to break up before they pass or just remove them. However, some stones are so small you could pass them and never know it!
You may find it difficult to sit still due to being uncomfortable, and you may feel the need to urinate more often than usual. You might experience burning sensations while urinating, or notice blood in your urine. Other symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, profuse sweating, and diarrhea or constipation. Sometimes kidney stones can even cause vomiting.
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What Is Shock Wave Lithotripsy
Shock Wave Lithotripsy is the most common treatment for kidney stones in the U.S. Shock waves from outside the body are targeted at a kidney stone causing the stone to fragment. The stones are broken into tiny pieces. lt is sometimes called ESWL: Extracorporeal Shock Wave LithotripsyÂ®.
These are what the words mean:
- extracorporeal: from outside the body
- shock waves: pressure waves
So, SWL describes a nonsurgical technique for treating stones in the kidney or ureter using high-energy shock waves. Stones are broken into âstone dustâ or fragments that are small enough to pass in urine. lf large pieces remain, another treatment can be performed
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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What Are The Symptoms After You Pass A Kidney Stone
There might be some residual soreness and pain, but this should be temporary. Lingering pain after passing a kidney stone could be a sign that you have another stone, an obstruction, or infection. It could also be an unrelated issue. Kidney stones can also cause nausea, vomiting, or blood in the urine.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Kidney stones are one of the most common reasons for visits to the emergency room.¹¹ Depending on its size and location, you may need treatment to remove or break up the stone as well as medicine for pain relief.
If your pain is not that severe, you might not feel like a trip is necessary, but if you do have symptoms, reach out to your healthcare provider. Along with your symptoms, your provider may order imaging tests such as ultrasounds and X-rays, along with blood and urine tests, to diagnose your condition.¹
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Opinions Of Urologists In General
Though the physiologic basis of pain in the setting of obstruction is clear, it does not provide an explanation for one of the most commonly encountered conundrums in stone disease the symptomatic non-obstructing stone. These can be actual free stones that have not passed, stones attached to plaque, or actual plugs in the kidney tubules that are massed together enough to show up on a CT scan as stones though actually tissue calcifications.
There is perhaps as much variation in clinical opinion in such instances as any other clinical scenario in the field.
If one were to ask a group of urologists whether they believed that small nonobstructing stones could cause renal colic, opinions would range from absolute certainty to complete dismissal of the concept altogether.
The 4 Stages Of Passing A Kidney Stone
Your kidneys work hard to remove fluid and waste from the body. During this process, kidney stones can sometimes form. Kidney stones are hardened mineral deposits that can form in the urinary tract. They often pass unnoticed or can be extremely painful and require treatment.
This article provides a look at the four main stages of passing a kidney stone.
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Pain Or Burning During Urination
Once the stone reaches the junction between your ureter and bladder, youll start to feel pain when you urinate. Your doctor might call this dysuria.
The pain can feel sharp or burning. If you dont know you have a kidney stone, you might mistake it for a UTI. Sometimes you can have an infection along with the stone.