What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
“A kidney stone is a hard mass that’s made up of minerals , certain salts and other byproducts. They can form when these substances accumulate in the area of your kidneys where urine is produced,” explains Dr. Kannady.
Kidney stones can be as small as the point of a pen or as large as a ping pong ball.
“Typically, a person doesn’t start noticing the symptoms of a kidney stone until it moves from the kidney into the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder,” Dr. Kannady adds.
Kidney stone symptoms include:
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen, typically on one side
- A burning sensation or pain while urinating
- Urinating frequently
- Feeling like you’re urinating incompletely or in small amounts
- Urine that is brown, red or pink, which indicates the presence of blood
- Smelly or cloudy urine
- Feeling queasy or nauseous due to the intensity of the pain
- Signs of infection, including fever, chills and vomiting
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Kidney stonesare formed when there are more of certain chemicals in the urine than fluid to dilute forming a crystal. That crystal tries tomake its way out of your system through the urinary tract. Sadly, the urethrais smaller than the stone, so its a painful process. Symptoms of kidney stones can include intense pain inthe lower abdomen or back, blood in your urine, or a blockage that stops youfrom being able to urinate. If the pain you are feeling resemblesone of the stories above, get to your healthcare provider fast. They can helpwith some of the pain and put a treatment plan together.
The Kidneys Are A Pair Of Bean
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that form a part of the excretory system. The kidneys are responsible for purifying the blood of various wastes and toxins which are then thrown out of the body along with the urine. The kidneys also regulate various metabolic activities that are vital for our existence. These are located on either side of the lower back, just below the rib cage which means that if anything is wrong with your kidneys, the pain is likely to radiate to your lower back. This is the reason why a lot of people mistake kidney pain for back pain and viceversa. Reports given by the best hospital in India have shown that a lot of patients who come to the hospital complaining of back pain have been found to be suffering from kidney stones which are the most common cause of kidney pain.
What exactly are kidney stones?
Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi,are solid deposits or clumps formed by the accumulation of dissolved minerals like calcium oxalate and struvite in the inner lining of the kidneys. The size of these stones vary and these can be as large as a golf ball. Smaller stones usually go unnoticed and pass out of the body along with the urine whereas larger stones can get stuck in the urinary tract and need to be removed surgically. Treatment for kidney stones is offered at all the leading urology hospitals in Mumbai.
There are certain risk factors that can increase your vulnerability to developing kidney stones. These include:
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How Is Kidney Pain Treated
Treatment of kidney pain depends on what condition is causing it. In order to pinpoint a cause, a number of tools are available to help your doctor make a diagnosis:
- Urinalysis: Checks for the presence of blood, excess white blood cells , proteins, and certain chemicals that are linked to various kidney disorders.
- Imaging tests:Ultrasound or a CT scan provides an image of the physical structure of the kidneys and urinary tract, sees if stones are present, and helps determine if blood flow is adequate.
How To Prevent A Kidney Infection
Preventing a kidney infection is really all about preventing urinary tract infections and getting prompt treatment if you ever get one. Sorry, but dont rely on cranberry juice or supplements for thisthe science is far too mixed to consider either of these a definitive UTI-prevention method. Instead, whenever you feel a bladder infection coming on, make it a habit to drink enough water every day to stay hydrated. That will ensure youre peeing often enough to help flush out bacteria that could lead to an infection. The NIDDK recommends peeing as often as you get the urge, but definitely at least every three to four hours, since urine hanging out in your bladder for too long may help bacteria to grow, the organization says.
Kaufman also stresses the importance of urinating like a fire hose after sex. It might even be helpful to skip peeing before sex as long as that doesnt make you uncomfortable, he says. This allows you to build up a forceful stream that may better help remove any bacteria that might have been pushed up there during sex.
Also, we referenced this above, but its important to reiterate: After you pee , you should be sure to wipe from front to back, as wiping back to front can spread harmful bacteria from your rectum to your urethra, where it can cause an infection.
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Shortness Of Breath After Very Little Effort
Why this happens:
Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
What patients said:
At the times when I get the shortness of breath, it’s alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, can’t breathe, can’t walk anywhere. It was bad.
When Should You Go See Your Doctor About Back Or Kidney Pain
Back pain can be incredibly frustrating, but the good news is: It usually gets better on its own. MCG doctors suggest avoiding aggravating movements and giving heat, ice, or anti-inflammatories a try. If it doesnt clear up within six to 12 weeks, go see your primary care doctor who can assist you in finding better treatment.If, however, you are experiencing back pain after traumatic accident or have other concerning symptoms, head over to urgent care for immediate treatment.
If you suspect that you have a kidney issue, you should always schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Really anyone who has symptoms of a urinary tract infection or kidney stones should follow up with their physician to make that determination, says Santiago.
If you are pregnant and experiencing a significant fever, see emergency care to get evaluated right away, adds Santiago. Pregnant women are at a greater risk for complications so if primary care isnt available, urgent care is the best place to seek assistance.
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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 you’re 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.
Causes Of Kidney Pain
Kidney pain has many possible causes. These organs are connected to others like your bladder and ureters, where you store and get rid of urine.
Kidney stones. Intense, sudden, stabbing pain may be a kidney stone. These are mineral deposits that can grow large enough to block a ureter, a tube that connects your kidney and bladder. If that happens, you’ll feel sharp pain or cramps in your back or side. It can also spread out to your groin. As you try to pee out the stone, you might feel waves of pain.
Kidney infection. Also called pyelonephritis, this infection could cause discomfort in one or both kidneys. You may feel pain in your back, in your side or both sides under your ribs, or in your groin. You’ll also have a fever. Urinary tract infections also cause discomfort in this organ.
Kidney swelling. This condition, called hydronephrosis, can happen if your kidneys are blocked. Your urine can’t drain the way it should and builds up in your kidneys. This can happen in one or both kidneys and sometimes it causes pain.
Kidney cysts. You may not feel a simple kidney cyst until it grows larger. Once it gets big, you might feel a dull pain in your side or back, or feel pain in the upper part of your belly.
Polycystic kidney disease. This genetic disease causes many cysts to grow in your kidneys. They may cause you to feel a pain in your back or side.
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How To Distinguish Back Pain From Kidney Pain
As back pain is a common experience for many people, its easy to think that its just another ordinary ache that will go away on its own. However, your kidneys may be the organs that are actually causing you pain. It can be tricky to distinguish what exactly is causing your discomfort because of how close the pain areas are. Heres a quick guide to help you figure out if youre experiencing kidney pain or back pain:
What Is The Best Treatment For Kidney Pain Or Back Pain
When either your kidneys or your back hurt, you could either experience mild discomfort or a crippling pain. Since the actual problem might not be clear yet, consulting with a physician is imperative to determine the cause before they can administer treatment.
Issues with the kidney could either be a minor problem or a big one. If youre battling a kidney infection, your doctor would most likely prescribe antibiotics for you. A tiny kidney stone will require no treatment at all and pass naturally. In some cases, you many need a short hospital visit so they can get the stones out of your system smoothly. Drinking plenty of water can help with this problem. A larger kidney stone, on the other hand, would require surgery.
As for the back, various causes means many different cures are available. For non-serious back problems, you only need some rest, muscle relaxants, and a heating pad to relieve the pain. If the pain lasts for over two weeks, it may indicate a more severe problem that could require intensive care, physical rehabilitation, or minor surgery.
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How Is Hydronephrosis Diagnosed
Getting a diagnosis as early as possible is extremely important. Your kidneys could be permanently damaged if your condition is left untreated for too long.
Your doctor will likely begin by getting an overall assessment of your health status and then focus on any urinary symptoms you might have. They may also be able to feel your enlarged kidney by gently massaging the abdomen and flank area.
Your doctor may use a catheter to drain some of the urine from your bladder.
If theyre unable to release a large amount of urine this way, it could mean that your obstruction is in your bladder or your urethra. The urethra is a tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body.
Both of these procedures let your doctor view an image of the inside of your body, but the renal ultrasound is generally considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of hydronephrosis. It allows your doctor to get a closer look at your kidney.
Renal Tumors Or Cysts
Renal tumors or cysts do not typically cause pain unless the growth is advanced or the disbursement is extensive. The three most common growth abnormalities include:
- Renal adenoma: A type of benign tumor that can grow to a substantial size
- Renal cell carcinoma : A type of cancer that usually begins in the tubules of the kidneys
- Polycystic kidney disease : An inherited disorder in which benign, fluid-filled cysts proliferate throughout the kidneys
The pain would most often be unilateral and accompanied by hematuria, either visible or invisible .
If cancer is involved, persistent malaise and unexplained weight loss are telltale signs suggestive of an advanced malignancy.
PKD may also be symptom-free until such time as the formation of cysts causes structural damage to the kidney. In addition to flank pain, usually bilateral, PKD may cause progressively worsening symptoms, including headaches, high blood pressure, hematuria, abdominal pain and swelling, recurrent kidney stones, recurrent UTIs, and renal failure.
As opposed to many of the other renal conditions, PKD is associated with excessive urination rather than impaired urination. The most common form of PKD, known as autosomal dominant PKD, manifests with symptoms when patients are in their 30s and 40s. Around 10% will advance to renal failure.
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Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones
When you have kidney stone symptoms, as described above, see your health care provider. Shell check your medical history, give you a physical examination, and order imaging tests, as needed.
Your doctor may ask you to drink extra fluid to help flush out the stone. By straining your urine, you may be able to save a piece of the stone. This will enable your doctor to determine the type of stone, what may be causing the condition, and how to reduce your risk of recurring stones.
If your stone doesnt flush out, your doctor may order a high-resolution CT scan from the kidneys to the bladder or a KUB X-ray to determine the size and location of the stone.
Another test used for some patients is the intravenous pyelogram , an X-ray of the urinary tract taken after injecting dye.
How To Distinguish Between Kidney Pain And Back Pain
This article was medically reviewed by Sarah Gehrke, RN, MS. Sarah Gehrke is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist in Texas. Sarah has over 10 years of experience teaching and practicing phlebotomy and intravenous therapy using physical, psychological, and emotional support. She received her Massage Therapist License from the Amarillo Massage Therapy Institute in 2008 and a M.S. in Nursing from the University of Phoenix in 2013. This article has been viewed 255,777 times.
When you are having pain in your back, you may not automatically know what it causing it. It can be very difficult to recognize the differences between pain originating in your back and pain coming from your kidneys. However, the difference is all in the details. In order to distinguish between kidney and back pain you need to concentrate on identifying exactly where the pain is located, how constant it is, and whether there are any other symptoms you are experiencing. If you can identify the details, you should be able to distinguish between kidney and back pain.
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Swollen Or Puffy Face
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the face.
What patients said:
My sister, her hair started to fall out, she was losing weight, but her face was really puffy, you know, and everything like that, before she found out what was going on with her.
My checks were always puffy and tight. Sometimes they would even hurt.
Causes And Risk Factors
Doctors dont know exactly what causes simple kidney cysts. They do have a few possible explanations. For example, each kidney has about a million tiny tubules that collect urine. Cysts may start to grow when a tube becomes blocked, swells up, and fills with fluid. Another possibility is that cysts start when pouches called diverticula form in weakened areas of the tubules and fill with fluid.
Youre more likely to have kidney cysts as you get older. By age 40, about 25 percent of people will have them. By age 50, about 50 percent of people will have kidney cysts. Men are at greater risk than women of developing kidney cysts.
PKD is an inherited condition, meaning its caused by changes to genes that are passed down through families.
Usually cysts dont cause any problems. However, sometimes they can lead to complications, including:
- infection in the cyst
- blockage of urine out of the kidney
- high blood pressure
PKD can damage the kidneys over time. About half of people with this condition will develop kidney failure by age 60.
To diagnose a kidney cyst, you might see a specialist called a urologist. Your doctor may take a blood or urine sample to see how well your kidneys are working.
You might also need one of these imaging tests:
If the cyst is small and doesnt cause any problems with your kidneys, you might not need to treat it. You may just have imaging tests done every 6 to 12 months to make sure the cyst hasnt grown.
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