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When To Go To Hospital With Kidney Stones

Risk Factors You Can Control

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Things you can control include:

  • How much fluid you drink. The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Try to drink enough water to keep your urine light yellow or clear like water .
  • Your diet. Diets high in protein, sodium, and oxalate-rich foods, such as dark green vegetables, increase your risk for kidney stones. If you think that your diet may be a problem, schedule an appointment with a dietitian and review your food choices.
  • Being overweight. This can cause both insulin resistance and increased calcium in the urine, which can result in a greater risk for kidney stones.
  • Medicine. Some medicines, such as acetazolamide and indinavir , can cause kidney stones to form.
  • What Is A Kidney Stone

    Kidney stones are a type of crystal that is formed by substances in urine. Kidney stones can cause pain, infection and even kidney damage. When a kidney stone forms, it may travel from the kidney down one of the ureters thin tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder.

    The stones start small, but can grow large enough to fill the entire kidney if not detected early. Kidney stones are very common among both men and women, but children can also get them, although it is rare. Stones are especially common in southern states, like Texas, that have prolonged, warmer climates.

    If you are experiencing pain and suspect that the source may be a kidney stone, please read the symptom checker below to decide your next step.

    When Extra Help Is Needed

    However, more than 40 to 50 percent of patients will have a recurrence of the disease within five years. For that reason, Dr. Calle says, this patient population would potentially benefit from seeing a specialist at least once.

    A urologist and/or nephrologist will determine the exact cause of the kidney stones. Because there are several types of kidney stones and the causes for each vary, knowing this information is critical in determining the best course of treatment and prevention, including medical management of the condition on an ongoing basis.

    Our work as nephrologists is mainly to focus on prevention of the stone and to make sure no other associated diseases are the cause for them or a worsening factor, Dr. Calle explains. I believe almost all patients with multiple kidney stones or large kidney stones and associated diseases should have a referral to nephrology for prevention and management of those associated conditions.

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    What Treatments Are Available

    Because of the pain caused by kidney stones, many people find that they need pain relief. Many describe it as the worst pain theyve ever felt.

    If you have a kidney stone, you will be encouraged to drink a lot of water if you dont have a medical condition that limits the amount you may have. The extra fluid is to help wash the stone through your urinary system.

    If the stone doesnt pass within a reasonable amount of time, your doctor may recommend extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy . Shock waves are sent through to the stone to break them down into smaller pieces that can be passed. Sometimes, surgery may be needed.

    The stone should be removed because of the high risk of infection, which could in turn lead to sepsis.

    When And How Soon To See A Doctor If You Suspect A Stone

    Should I Go to the ER for Kidney Stones?

    At the time of a first kidney stone attack, people often arent sure what is going on and need to be seen by a doctor to make sure the symptoms arent the result of a more serious problem, such as appendicitis, says Lieske.

    As a general rule, you need to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

    • Severe pain that makes sitting still or getting comfortable impossible
    • Pain with nausea and vomiting
    • Pain with fever and chills
    • Blood in the urine
    • A strong need to urinate
    • A burning sensation while urinating

    If you cant see your doctor that day, head to the ER.

    If stone pain and fever develop, go directly to the ER, says Timothy F. Lesser, MD, a urologist at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, California. A kidney stone with a urinary tract infection may cause and must be treated immediately.

    If urine is trapped behind a kidney stone that is blocking the ureter, the urine can become infected, says Seth K. Bechis, MD, a urologist at UC San Diego Health in San Diego. This, in turn, can cause an infection of the kidney tissue or result in the infection spreading to the bloodstream, causing sepsis, he explains.

    While men are more prone to kidney stones than women, women are more likely to get UTIs, says Lieske. So its not surprising that women are also more likely to get a urinary infection associated with their kidney stones, he says.

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    Tests To Find Out The Type Of Stone

    Finding out the type of your kidney stone will help with treatment decisions and measures to prevent stones from forming again. Tests you may have include:

    • A medical history and physical examination.
    • Stone analysis. Your doctor may ask you to collect stones by straining your urine through a fine-mesh strainer or fine gauze. He or she will then determine what type of stone it is.
    • Blood chemistry screen, to measure kidney function, levels of calcium, uric acid, phosphorus, electrolytes, and other substances that may have caused the stone to form.
    • Urine collection for 24 hours, to measure volume, pH, calcium, oxalate, uric acid, and other substances that may have caused the stone to form. This is a test you may do at home.

    What Does A Kidney Infection Feel Like

    Generally speaking, the symptoms of a kidney infection tend to come on over a period of several hours to a day. The symptoms may include:

    • Pain. This is often a dull, aching type of pain that most commonly affects the back, side, or abdomen.
    • Urine changes. If you have a kidney infection, you may notice that your urine is cloudy, smells bad, or contains blood.
    • Urgent, painful urination. A UTI can irritate the lining of your urinary tract. As a result, you may feel the urgent need to urinate and experience a painful, burning sensation when you do so.
    • Fever. People with a kidney infection typically develop a fever, which can often be high. A raised temperature is one of your bodys ways of trying to fight the infection.
    • Chills.Chills are a feeling of being cold without any apparent cause. For example, you could be wrapped up under a blanket and still shiver or feel very cold. In extreme cases, chills may lead to episodes of strong, uncontrollable shaking, which are known as rigors.
    • Nausea or vomiting. The infection may cause you to feel nauseated or to vomit.

    Its important to note that you may not have all of the above symptoms with a kidney infection. If you develop concerning symptoms that may point to a kidney infection, seek prompt medical care.

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    When To Actually Go To The Er

    If you have below symptoms of kidney stones its best you present yourself to the emergency room . Pain medications can be given to relieve the pain then necessary investigations can be carried out and proper treatment can be given according to the diagnosis.

    • Fever with severe loin pain
    • Pain that does not answer the usual pain medication
    • Previous episodes of stones
    • If the urine output is reduced
    • Cloudy or foul smelling urine
    • Severe nausea and vomiting preventing drinking fluids

    Frequently Asked Questions About Kidney Stones

    Kidney Stones – (Why I was in Hospital)

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    Medicine To Prevent Stones

    Which medicine you take depends on the type of stones you have.

    Calcium stones

    • Thiazides.

    Uric acid stones

    Some kidney stones are made of uric acid, a waste product that normally exits the body in the urine. To prevent these types of stones, you may take:

    • Allopurinol.
    • Sodium bicarbonate.

    Cystine stones

    A very small number of stones are made of a chemical called cystine. Medicines to prevent them include:

    • Penicillamine.
    • Captopril.

    Struvite stones

    Some struvite stones form because of frequent kidney infections. If you have a struvite stone, you will most likely need antibiotics to cure the infection and help prevent new stones from forming. You may need surgery to remove the stone.

    Is It A Kidney Infection Or Something Else

    Your symptoms could also result from another common illness. Some similar conditions you may mistake for a kidney infection include:

    • Other UTIs. Other types of UTIs, such as those affecting the urethra and bladder, can also cause symptoms like urgent and painful urination, abdominal pain, and urine thats cloudy, foul-smelling, or bloody.
    • Kidney stones.Kidney stones are hard deposits of materials like calcium or uric acid that form in the kidneys. When they become lodged in the kidneys, they can cause pain in the abdomen, side, or back, as well as nausea and vomiting.
    • Lower back pain. If low back pain is your primary symptom, you may have a condition thats affecting your lower back. Examples include injuries, degenerative disc disease, and nerve compression.
    • Pregnancy. Symptoms like frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal cramping can all be early signs of pregnancy.

    Its always a good rule of thumb to seek medical attention if you experience any new or concerning symptoms. A healthcare professional can work with you to determine what may be causing them.

    Heres an idea of what you can expect when you seek care for a possible kidney infection.

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    Signs Of Kidney Stones

    Its not uncommon for kidney stones to begin to occur but resolve without any medical treatment. In these minor cases and similar mild cases, its fairly common not to experience any symptoms. However, kidney stones, if left untreated, can enlarge and become infected posing a dangerous problem. When this happens, youll experience:

    • Severe pain in the abdomen, groin, genitals, or side

    Treating And Preventing Kidney Stones

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    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.

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    Whats The Outlook For Kidney Stones

    The outlook for kidney stones is very positive, although there is a risk of recurrence . Many kidney stones pass on their own over time without needing treatment. Medications and surgical treatments to remove larger kidney stones are generally very successful and involve little recovery time.

    Its possible to get kidney stones multiple times throughout your life. If you keep developing kidney stones, your healthcare provider may work with you to discover why the stones happen. Once the cause is found, you may be able to make dietary changes to prevent future stones.

    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.

    Diet Changes

    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.

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    When Do You Need A Ct Scan For A Kidney Stone

    A kidney with a kidney stone. A CT scan is a type of medical test uses X-rays to study the bodys internal structures and organs. A spiral CT scan is the diagnostic test of choice when a CT scan for kidney stones is necessary. This type of scan encircles the body to obtain a complete view of the kidneys and surrounding organs.

    How Long Does It Take To Pass A Kidney Stone

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    The amount of time it can take for you to pass a kidney stone is different from anothers. A stone thats smaller than 4 mm may pass within one to two weeks. A stone thats larger than 4 mm could take about two to three weeks to completely pass.

    Once the stone reaches the bladder, it typically passes within a few days, but may take longer, especially in an older man with a large prostate. However, pain may subside even if the stone is still in the ureter, so its important to follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont pass the stone within four to six weeks.

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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:

    • ultrasound
    • CT scans
    • x-rays, including an intravenous pyelogram , where dye is injected into the bloodstream before the x-rays are taken.

    Treating Small Kidney Stones

    Small kidney stones may cause pain until you pass them, which usually takes 1 or 2 days.

    A GP may recommend a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to help with pain.

    To ease your symptoms, a GP might also recommend:

    • drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day
    • anti-sickness medicine
    • alpha-blockers

    You might be advised to drink up to 3 litres of fluid throughout the day, every day, until the stones have cleared.

    To help your stones pass:

    • drink water, but drinks like tea and coffee also count
    • add fresh lemon juice to your water
    • avoid fizzy drinks
    • do not eat too much salt

    Make sure you’re drinking enough fluid. If your pee is dark, it means you’re not drinking enough. Your pee should be pale in colour.

    You may be advised to continue drinking this much fluid to prevent new stones forming.

    If your kidney stones are causing severe pain, your GP may send you to hospital for tests and treatment.

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    What Causes Kidney Stones

    Kidney stones, which are hardened or calcified deposits of certain minerals, salts, and other materials, develop in the kidneys themselves before traveling through the ureter and into the bladder, where they are ultimately passed from the body in the urine. Generally speaking, kidney stones affect men more often than women, though virtually anyone can develop a stone. There are a number of potential causes of kidney stones, as well as risk factors that make certain patients more likely to develop kidney stones. Some of the most common causes and risk factors of kidney stones include:

    • Dietary factors, such as increased salt, oxalate, or calcium intake
    • Certain medications
    • Personal history or family history of kidney stones

    Emergency Services In Colorado Springs And Texas

    Kidney Stones Emergency Room Or Urgent Care

    If you or a loved one are showing signs of kidney stones, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

    Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

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