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.
Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
In order to understand the more common symptoms of kidney disease, it’s helpful to review the structure and function of the kidneys. Your kidneys are located on your flanks, near your spine. Injuries to your back or side below your diaphragm may cause injuries to your kidneys. Your kidneys perform several important functions. These include filtering your blood to remove toxins, maintaining the proper levels of electrolytes to ensure proper functioning of your cells, and maintaining fluid balance in your body.
If you become dehydrated, your kidneys initially work to restore the fluid status to your body, but kidney injuries may occur with prolonged or severe dehydration. If your kidneys are not functioning properly, the level of sodium and potassium in your body may be affected. Electrolyte problems with kidney disease can be serious, Since the right amount of potassium is necessary for proper functioning of your heart, kidney problems may result in abnormal heart rhythms.
Abnormal blood pressure, whether high or low can result in kidney damage. Kidney damage, in turn, can cause problems with regulating your blood pressure.
The kidneys are also responsible for making a hormone involved in the production of red blood cells. For this reason, kidney disease can result in anemia, a lower red blood cell count.
Some people have urinary problems, such as difficulty urinating. Occasionally people also have flank pain, due to the location of the kidneys.
How Kidney Stones Are Diagnosed
There are several tools doctors can use to diagnose kidney stones, according to the NIDDK. After talking to you about your symptoms and doing a physical exam, your doctor may order these tests as well:
Urinalysis: This is a test of your pee that can show whether your urine contains high levels of minerals that form kidney stones. A urinalysis can also tell whether your pee has blood, bacteria, or white blood cells in it .
Blood tests: Your doctor may want to take a sample of your blood to test for high levels of certain minerals that can lead to kidney stones.
Abdominal X-Ray: This is a picture of your abdominal area that can potentially show the location of kidney stones in your urinary tract. One major caveat, though: Not all kidney stones can be seen on X-ray.
Computed Tomography Scan: CT scans use a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create images of your urinary tract. In some cases you might be given an injection of contrast medium, a dye or other substance that makes certain things inside your body easier to see during imaging tests.
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Kidney Stones: Early Signs And Symptoms You Shouldnt Ignore
Kidney stones can cause excruciating pain that can spread from your middle back through your abdomen to your pelvis. The agony from kidney stones can be worse when you try to urinate and can feel like a strong burning sensation. In some cases, kidney stones can cause a fever and you may notice the presence of blood in your urine .
In many cases, kidney stones actually pass without causing any painful symptoms. Drinking plenty of water or drinking acidic drinks like apple cider vinegar can help to flush out even painful kidney stones. If you have extreme kidney stone pain, then you should see a doctor who will recommend the best way to get rid of the renal stones.
In this article, I will look at the many signs and symptoms of kidney stones. Very often, treating the first signs of kidney stones can help to prevent many of the painful symptoms that are associated with them. You will also learn what scientific evidence says about treating kidney stones naturally.
Kidney Stone Symptoms And When To See A Urologist
Kidney stones can occur in adults of any age and can be extremely painful and inconvenient. About 11% of men and 7% of women in the United States will experience a kidney stone at some point, and approximately half of those who experience kidney stones will get them again. There are 4 different types of kidney stones and knowing which one you have can help determine the appropriate course of action. Its important to identify your symptoms and understand when your kidney stone occurrence merits an appointment to see a urologist.
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Should I Cut Calcium Out Of My Diet If I Develop Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones
If you develop kidney stones composed of calcium, you may be tempted to stop eating foods that include calcium. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. If you have calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, its recommended that you have a diet higher in calcium and lower in oxalate.
Foods that are high in calcium include:
- Cows milk.
Its also important to drink plenty of fluids to dilute the substances in your urine.
Reducing Kidney Stone Risk
Drinking enough fluid will help keep your urine less concentrated with waste products. Darker urine is more concentrated, so your urine should appear very light yellow to clear if you are well hydrated. Most of the fluid you drink should be water. Most people should drink more than 12 glasses of water a day. Speak with a healthcare professional about the right amount of water thats best for you. Water is better than soda, sports drinks or coffee/tea. lf you exercise or if it is hot outside, you should drink more. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup should be limited to small quantities.
Eat more fruits and vegetables, which make the urine less acid. When the urine is less acid, then stones may be less able to form. Animal protein produces urine that has more acid, which can then increase your risk for kidney stones.
You can reduce excess salt in your diet. What foods are high in salt? Everyone thinks of salty potato chips and French fries. Those should be rarely eaten. There are other products that are salty: sandwich meats, canned soups, packaged meals, and even sports drinks.
Some herbal substances are promoted as helping prevent stones. You should know that there is insufficient published medical evidence to support the use of any herb or supplement in preventing stones.
- What food may cause a kidney stone?
- Should l take vitamin and mineral supplements?
- What beverages are good choices for me?
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Hydration Is Keyboth For Passing And Prevention
Staying hydrated while passing kidney stones is crucial. Kidney stones need to be flushed out of the body, and drinking lots of fluids will help move them along. Water is best , and there are a few liquids that should be avoided while passing a kidney stone.
You should do your best to eliminate alcohol, coffee, tea and soda during this time. Do your best to drink as much water as possible. Dehydrating fluids like alcohol and coffee will not help you pass your kidney stones and may make the pain worse.
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Risk Factors For Kidney Disease
Since kidney disease can become serious before symptoms are present, it’s important to have a high index of suspicion and be aware of conditions which predispose you to kidney disease. People who are at greater risk of developing renal failure include those with:
- Long-standing high blood pressure
- Heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, or congestive heart failure
- Other vascular diseases such as cerebrovascular disease and peripheral vascular disease
- A family history of kidney disease
- Prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil and Celebrex
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Blocked Ureter And Kidney Infection
A kidney stone that blocks the ureter, the tube that connects your kidney to your bladder, can cause a kidney infection.
This is because waste products are unable to pass the blockage, which may cause a build-up of bacteria.
The symptoms of a kidney infection are similar to symptoms of kidney stones, but may also include:
- a high temperature
What Are The Most Common Types Of Kidney Stones
The most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone. This type happens when calcium and oxalate combine in your urine. It can happen when you have high quantities of oxalate, low amounts of calcium and arent drinking enough fluids.
Stones caused by uric acid are also fairly common. These come from a natural substance called purine, which is a byproduct of animal proteins .
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Common Kidney Stone Symptoms
Kidney stones can be debilitating and painful . While a stone forms in the kidney, there may be no signs or symptoms. Most people start experiencing symptoms once the formed stone passes into the ureter . The most common kidney stone symptoms include:
The Evaluation For Kidney Stones
If your , imaging is often the first step in an evaluation. For many years the standard of care was a type of abdominal x-ray called an intravenous pyelogram . In most medical centers, this has been replaced by a type of computed tomography called unenhanced helical CT scanning. In some cases, such as when a person has impaired renal function or a contrast dye allergy, renal ultrasound may be used as an alternative.
You will also have blood tests, including tests for renal function . Your doctor may suggest other blood tests as well. A urinalysis will be obtained and if infection is suspected, a urine culture will be sent.
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Kidney Stones Treatment And Prevention
In some cases, you can pass kidney stones on your own, with the help of certain medicines to control the pain. Kidney stones that are 4 millimeters in diameter or less have a 90% chance of passing on their own, given time and pain control.
However, some kidney stones require surgery to be removed.
Drinking plenty of water can help lower your chances of getting kidney stones as can changing your diet, depending on the type of kidney stones.
- For calcium stones, you should reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
- For oxalate stones, eat less oxalate, which can be found in green, leafy vegetables.
- For uric acid stones, try eating less non-dairy animal protein, such as red meat or fish.
If you have questions or concerns about kidney stones, talk to your healthcare provider.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in May 28, 2021, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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.
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How A Urologist Can Help With Kidney Stones
When it comes to kidney stones, many patients arent sure which specialist to see for treatment. While a nephrologist specializes in diseases of the kidneys, urologists provide comprehensive care of the genitourinary system. Even though kidney stones form in the kidneys, they are passed with urine, making a urologist an ideal provider to diagnose and treat. This blog provides a guide to this common condition and explains how a urologist can help with kidney stones.
When Should A Kidney Stone Be Treated
When a kidney stone causes pain to the extent that the pain cannot be controlled with oral pain medication, the stone should be treated. Similarly, stones that are associated with severe nausea or vomiting should be treated. Some stones are associated with infection or fever such situations can be life threatening and demand prompt attention. Stones that are associated with a solitary kidney, poor overall kidney function or complete blockage of urine flow should also all be treated.
Sometimes, when a stone is associated with bothersome symptoms, it may be appropriate to wait and see if the stone will pass on its own. If the stone is small, this is a very reasonable course of action. However, stones larger in size than 5 mm are unlikely to pass on their own and should be considered for treatment.
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How Do Kidney Stones Form
Most stones form just under the inner surface of the kidney. Small crystals in your urine fuse together, similar to the way salt crystals form from evaporating saltwater.
More crystals can bind over time until a stone is formed. The stone can then continue to grow bigger and ultimately become so heavy that it breaks off within the kidney. Once free to move around, it can either stay in the kidney or try to pass down the ureter.
Risk Factors You Can Control
Drinking too little water is the most common cause of kidney stones. Diet also plays an important role. Eating a lot of animal protein, sodium, and high-oxalate foods, such as chocolate or dark green vegetables, can boost the risk for kidney stones in some people. Other risk factors include drinking sweetened beverages, putting on weight, and taking certain medications.
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How To Pass Kidney Stones
If you get a kidney stone, youll want to try to encourage your body to pass it naturally. Some people experience a lot of discomfort, while others feel nothing. Its better to be prepared for some discomfort, as most people do feel pain while passing kidney stones. If you experience a lot of pain, but still have relatively small stones, your doctor may be able to prescribe something to help. Regardless, there are a few things you can do to help encourage natural passage through your urethra.
The most important thing when passing, and preventing, kidney stones is to stay hydrated. When you stay hydrated, you discourage mineral build-up and help keep your urethra clear and free of infection. If you absolutely hate the thought of drinking plain water, try adding some lemon, lime, or other citrus fruits. Citrus has been shown to help break up kidney stones and make passing easier.1
Eat Diuretic Foods
Increasing the number diuretic foods that you eat will keep your body hydrated through food. Consider adding asparagus, beets, celery, cucumbers, watermelon and other diuretic foods to your regular diet.
Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is primarily composed of acetic acid, which helps to actively dissolve kidney stones.3 Try adding it to your water, creating dressings, or mixing it into recipes for the best results.
Mix Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
When to See a Doctor
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy
Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy
How Will I Know If I Have A Kidney Stone
To find out the size and type of kidney stone you have, your doctor may do tests, including:
- Blood tests to show if there is too much calcium or uric acid in your blood
- Urine tests to show the type of wastes that are in your urine. For this test, your doctor may ask you to collect your urine over two days.
- Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, CT scan or X-ray, to show kidney stones in your urinary tract
If you get kidney stones often, your doctor may ask you to urinate through a strainer to catch stones that you pass. Your doctor will then find out what they are made of to decide what is causing your kidney stones and how to prevent them.
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