What You Need To Know About Kidney Stones
Aug 07, 2019Cedars-Sinai Staff
Passing a kidney stone is said to be some of the most severe physical pain a person can experience.
You may picture someone passing a kidney stone in excruciating pain while a small rock moves through their bladder, but according to Dr. Brian Benway, director of the Comprehensive Kidney Stone Program, pain peaks much earlier in the stone’s journey.
Nothing subtle about a kidney stone
“Contrary to popular belief, passing a kidney stone once it reaches the bladder isn’t the painful part,” says Dr. Benway.
The pain usually starts once the stone has migrated from the kidney into the ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
“Basically, for the first-timer with a kidney stone, the symptoms are not subtle.”
“The pain is usually sudden and quite severe on one side of your back and it can cause immediate nausea and vomiting,” says Dr. Benway
“Basically, for the first-timer with a kidney stone, the symptoms are not subtle.”
This sudden pain will begin to ebb and flow after the first few hours, gradually getting better after a few days. Dr. Benway says you shouldn’t wait for the pain to easeseek evaluation right away.
“Along with pain, kidney stones can sometimes be associated with infection, which will present itself as a fever,” he says.
“Go to the ER right away if you have strong pain with nausea or fever.”
Treating the stone
Capturing the stone
Can You See Kidney Stones On Ct Scan
CT scans of the kidneys are useful in the examination of one or both of the kidneys to detect conditions such as tumors or other lesions, obstructive conditions, such as kidney stones, congenital anomalies, polycystic kidney disease, accumulation of fluid around the kidneys, and the location of abscesses.
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What Treatment Is Offered For Large Stones
If the stone is bigger than 5mm and has led to the obstruction of your kidney, youll be admitted to hospital. Depending on your condition, you will have the obstruction treated urgently or youll be booked in for an elective procedure.
The majority of small stones within the kidney are fragmented by lithotripsy . Read Mr Syeds in-depth explanation of lithotripsy from initial consultation to the procedure, aftercare and follow up checks).
However, a proportion of smaller stones and most larger stones need other treatment methods using telescopes passed through the bladder or through a keyhole operation. You may be offered laser surgery, cystoscopy or a ureteroscopy.
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Get Rapid Relief From Kidney Stones At Your Nearest Emergency Room In Frisco Or Fort Worth Tx
The pain and frustration of kidney stones can be debilitating and wreak havoc on a persons everyday life. Not only that, but some kidney stones can cause dangerous complications when left untreated. Dont sacrifice your comfort, health, and safety when it comes to kidney stones. If you suspect you may be passing a kidney stone or have previously been diagnosed with kidney stones that are now causing you painful or worrisome symptoms, visit your nearest iCare ER & Urgent Care location in Frisco or Fort Worth, TX today. Our exceptional and compassionate team of board-certified emergency physicians looks forward to giving you the relief and confidence you deserve.
Diagnostic Tests For Kidney Stones
Your doctor conducts an initial physical exam and may order several tests, including blood and urine tests and imaging exams, to determine whether you have kidney stones and to diagnose the particular type and location. If you have passed a stone or had one surgically treated, your doctor may analyze the stone to determine its type and suggest additional testing to find out if you have more.
All of these tests may be scheduled on the same day as your doctors visit. Our radiologists and urologists can also review the results of scans youve had done at other medical facilities.
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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.
Visible Blood In The Urine Gross Hematuria
Gross hematuria is among the urologic emergency conditions that should be assessed immediately. It is characterized by blood in the urine that is clearly seen by the naked eye. Blood can range in color from bright red to brown, and is symptomatic of an underlying medical condition. Individuals with gross hematuria many also be experiencing pain. As a medical standard, persons who detect blood in their urine should seek immediate help.
There are several medical ailments associated with gross hematuria. These can include:
- Urinary tract infection
- Blood disorders such as Sickle Cell Anemia or Hemophilia
- Urologic cancers including bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer
Gross hematuria may also be the result of an injury, certain medications or strenuous exercise.
Gross hematuria differs from what is known as microscopic hematuria. With this condition, blood is also present in the urine, however, it can only be detected under a microscope. Oftentimes, it is an incidental finding during a urinalysis or other lab test. There are many common reasons to have microscopic blood in the urine. These can include sexual intercourse, menstruation, or exercise. Regardless, when blood is present in the urine, it should always be diagnosed and treated.
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Types Of Kidney Stones
There are four main types of stones:
How Are Kidney Stones Treated
Once diagnosed, your healthcare provider will first determine if you even need treatment. Some smaller kidney stones may leave your system when you urinate. This can be very painful. If your provider decides that you do need treatment, your options include medications and surgery.
Medications. Medications may be prescribed to:
- Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or, if youre in the emergency room, an IV narcotic.
- Manage nausea/vomiting.
- Relax your ureter so that the stones pass. Commonly prescribed medicines include tamsulosin and nifedipine .
You should ask your healthcare provider before you take ibuprofen. This drug can increase the risk of kidney failure if taken while youre having an acute attack of kidney stones especially in those who have a history of kidney disease and associated illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Surgery. There are four types of surgeries used to treat kidney stones. The first three are minimally invasive, meaning that the surgeon enters your body through a natural opening , or makes a small incision.
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Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone
Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.
Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.
The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:
How Do You Get Kidney Stones
While we dont know what causes stones to form, we do know some stones form more easily than others. Dehydration, not consuming enough fluids, can contribute to stones forming, as there may not be enough urine to wash out the microscopic crystals.
Calcium stones, the most common kidney stones, seem to affect more men than women and they are most often in the twenties when it happens.
- Too much calcium in the urine caused by disease, such as hyperparathyroidism
- Having too much sodium, usually taken in through salt
Although food doesnt cause the stone formation, some people may be told to avoid high calcium foods if they are prone to developing stones.
Cystine stones are caused by a disorder that runs in families and affects both men and women.
Struvite stones are virtually always caused by a urinary tract infection as a result of an enzyme secreted by certain types of bacteria. Because more women than men have UTIs, more women than men develop struvite stones. These stones can grow very large and can block the kidney, ureter, or bladder.
Uric acid stones affect more men than women and they can also occur in people who already get calcium stones. People who have high uric acid levels may have or develop gout.
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Kidney Stones Can Be One Of Several Emergency Conditions
Most individuals are unaware that they have kidney stones until they move. Once they start to move, they can cause excruciating pain, nausea, and vomiting. When stones move suddenly, they can be one of several urologic emergency conditions that require immediate attention. A urologist will want to determine how the kidney stone should be removed. They will also want to assess if the patient will benefit from medications to ease their pain and discomfort.
Sometimes, kidney stones are incidentally detected by the presence of microscopic hematuria . If a stone is suspected, imaging will be performed to confirm the diagnosis. These stones can be treated or watched depending on their size and location.
How Well Does Ultrasound Detect Stones
An alternative to CT scan is renal and bladder ultrasounds. The advantage of the renal ultrasound is that they do not expose patients to radiation and the costs are typically cheaper than the CT scans are. The renal ultrasounds will often miss smaller stones and stones that are in the tube that drains the kidney to the bladder, the ureter.
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Whats The Urinary Tract How Does It Work
Your urinary tract is vital to your body because it gets rid of waste and extra fluid. Its made up of both your kidneys, two ureters, your bladder and your urethra. Each organ has an important job :
- Kidneys: Your fist-sized, bean-shaped kidneys are located on either side of your spine, below your rib cage. Each day they filter 120 to 150 quarts of your blood to remove waste and balance fluids. Your kidneys make one to two quarts of urine every day.
- Ureters: After your kidney creates urine, the liquid travels through the tube-shaped ureter to the bladder. There is one ureter per kidney. Kidney stones can pass through the ureters or, if theyre too big, get stuck in them. You may require surgery if the stone is too large.
- Bladder: Between your hip bones is your bladder, an organ that stores urine. It stretches to hold about one and a half to two cups.
- Urethra: Like a ureter, your urethra is a tube through which urine passes. Its the final stop of the urinary tract where your urine leaves your body. This is called urination.
Are There Any Foods Or Drinks That Help Treat Kidney Stones Are There Any Home Remedies
There are three liquids rumored to help with kidney stones:
- Cranberry juice. Although cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections , it doesnt help with kidney stones.
- Apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and it can sometimes create changes to your urine, which helps with kidney stones. But, this doesnt always help. Talk to your healthcare provider about the use of vinegar.
- Lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in citrate, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming. Citrates are found in several citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges and melons.
- Coffee. Studies show that coffee may decrease your risk of developing kidney stones.
Avoid soda and other drinks with added sugar or fructose corn syrup. They increase your risk.
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Presentation And Differential Diagnosis
Urolithiasis should always be considered in the differential diagnosis of abdominal pain. The classic presentation of renal colic is excruciating unilateral flank or lower abdominal pain of sudden onset that is not related to any precipitating event and is not relieved by postural changes or nonnarcotic medications. With the exception of nausea and vomiting secondary to stimulation of the celiac plexus, gastrointestinal symptoms are usually absent.
The pain of renal colic often begins as vague flank pain. Patients frequently dismiss this pain until it evolves into waves of severe pain. It is generally believed that a stone must at least partially obstruct the ureter to cause pain. The pain is commonly referred to the lower abdomen and to the ipsilateral groin. As the stone progresses down the ureter, the pain tends to migrate caudally and medially .
Renal colic, anterior abdominal pain, flank pain
Renal colic, dysuria, urinary frequency, anterior abdominal pain, flank pain
Distal ureteral stones may be manifested by bladder instability, urinary frequency, dysuria and/or pain radiating to the tip of the penis, or the labia or vulva. Increasingly, however, calculi are encountered in asymptomatic patients and are found incidentally on imaging studies or during the evaluation of microhematuria.
What Are The Common Causes
These stones can be the result of:
- Family history: you are more likely to get these stones if someone else in your family has dealt with them
- Personal history: if youve had kidney stones before, it increases the risk of getting them in the future
- Dehydration: resulting from not drinking enough water, excessive sweat, or a dry climate
- Obesity: being overweight is linked with higher risk of kidney stones
- Diets: if youre eating lots of salt, protein and sugar, youre raising your risk of these stones
- Medications: vitamin C, dietary supplements, excessive use of laxatives, and some drugs for migraines and depression can raise your chances of this condition
- Medical conditions: inflammatory bowel disease and chronic diarrhea can affect the way you absorb calcium and water, increasing your risk
These risk factors may lead too little liquid and too much waste. As a result, rather than passing waste substances in your urine, minerals and salts, waste materials you normally pass when you use the bathroom, may clump together and form crystals.
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Drink Plenty Of Fluids Throughout The Day
This is the most basic and most emphasized tip. You should keep yourself hydrated throughout. 8-9 glasses of waterare just right for you to prevent any kind of kidney stone emergency. You should also make sure to drink healthy fresh juices on a regular basis. These will improve the functioning of your kidneys and readily flush out the toxins.
But yes, you gotta keep in mind to not add extra sugar in the juices or beverages. Doing so will have a negative impact on kidney stones.
When To Go To The Er For Kidney Stones
When to Go to the ER
When you suddenly experience severe pain in the abdomen, your mind races to what could be causing the problem is it your gallbladder, a cyst , or your kidneys? Has your time on this earth finally reached an end? While that last question may be a little dramatic, most people experiencing sudden, extreme pain usually only think about one thing while in the moment how to make the pain stop.
When the cause is kidney stones, a trip to the emergency room is typically your best bet. But, what if youre not yet experiencing excruciating pain? How do you know when severe is severe enough?
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Signs Of Kidney Stone Blockage
They may happen as a result of kidney stones, spread from colon infection or perforation, or result from the obstruction of urine.
Most people do not have any signs or symptoms in the initial.
A risk with kidney stones is a kidney infection, which can lead to sepsis.
McConnell he has a kidney stone, hed refuse to pass it, said.
and some Republicans in the crowd had signs that showed pictures of Obama on one side and Grimes on the other.
Larger stones may stay lodged in the kidney or ureter and cause severe flank pain known as renal colic. Hydronephrosis is an accumulation of urine in the kidney leading to kidney swelling. It occurs with any cause of urinary tract obstruction like a kidney stone, enlarged prostate , pregnancy or tumor in or around the tract.
Symptoms associated with kidney stones. When a kidney stone starts to pass, symptoms typically occur suddenly and without warning. Sharp, stabbing pain usually.
Bladder stones can also block the urethra and make it difficult or even impossible for your cat to urinate. Depending on the minerals that make up the stone, its shape and size will vary. The two most common types of bladder stone are struvite and calcium oxalate stones. Symptoms of Bladder Stones in Cats
A blockage in urine flow, such as an enlarged prostate or kidney stone, could cause kidney obstruction.
Doctors can use GFR levels to check for signs of chronic kidney disease.
means it doesnt show any key signs until late in its course.