Kidney stones are one of the most common urinary tract problems. A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline material formed within the kidney. In medical terms, the condition is called nephrolithiasis and the stones are called calculi. These stones are formed from calcium and other chemicals present in the urine. Kidney stones can occur at any age, but the incidence is high in people between the age of 20 and 40 years.
Usually, small stones readily pass out through urine without causing pain or any other symptoms. But larger stones move around from the kidney to the urethra by passing through the ureter and urinary bladder, leading to painful symptoms. You may have the following 9 symptoms if you have kidney stones.
You may experience persistent sharp pain in the lower back and sometimes in your groin region due to kidney stones. The pain is usually called as renal colic. Most of the people say that this pain has a sudden onset and becomes intense over time or the pain disappears and comes back after few minutes. Sometimes, the pain may occur with fluctuations in intensity.
The severity of pain may not depend on the size of the stone. These variations are due to the movement of the stone through the urinary system. The ureter tries to push the stuck stone towards the bladder leading to severe pain in the abdomen. You may have pain in the lower abdomen, if the stones are present in the urinary bladder. Pain in the testicles and scrotum is observed in men.
2. Obstruction of urinary flow
The ureter is the tube that connects the urinary bladder with the kidney. If the stone gets stuck in the ureter, there is a chance of obstruction of urinary flow leading to severe pain and other complications such as infection.
3. Painful urination
You may also experience pain while urinating. This occurs when the stone is present in the ureter or urethra (after leaving the bladder). Urinary tract infection also leads to pain while urinating.
Due to blockage of the ureter, the urine cannot exit from the body. This causes accumulation of waste materials leading to the growth of bacteria, causing infection.
Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- high fever (>100 F)
- bad smelling urine
5. General weakness
You may be feeling restless and have little strength. Some people complain that they are unable to find a comfortable position due to constant pain.
6. Urge to urinate
You may feel an urge to urinate more frequently than usual when the stone passes down the ureter. This condition worsens if you have an infection.
Blood in the urine is due to rubbing of stone to the walls while it is present in the kidney or moving through the urinary system. It makes the urine appear in pink, brown, or red in color.
8. Nausea and vomiting
Sometimes you may feel sick and may have chills and fever. You may also experience nausea and vomiting in these instances. If the stones are present in the ureter, then you may experience severe nausea.
9. Abdominal swelling
Distention of abdomen is also seen in some patients with kidney stones.
You may feel traumatizing due to intense pain, blood and pieces of stones in urine. Even though this condition looks severe, there is no permanent physical harm to the body.
Appendicitis, hernias, and ectopic pregnancy also have similar symptoms. If you are unsure whether the symptoms you have are due to kidney stones, observe the time at which the pain starts. Usually, people with kidney stones have more pain in the late night and early morning. This is due to the fact that people normally urinate less during the late night and early morning and at this time the ureter remains constricted.
You should seek medical advice if you experience:
- sharp and persistent pain
- difficulty in urinating
- blood in the urine
Kidney stones form when your urine is more concentrated, so keep your body always well-hydrated to dilute the urine. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Looking at the color of urine would help you to identify whether it is diluted or not. Urine will be in pale yellow color if it is more diluted. If you live in a hot climate or lose more amount of body fluid in the form of sweat, you should drink more water than normal.