In today’s hectic world and busy work schedules, people are always on the lookout for possible ways to improve their overall physical and mental well being and to enhance their quality of life. A number of things can be done to achieve this such as an adjustment in one’s diet, increased physical activity, and exercise, taking different natural supplements or food items, and lessening unnecessary stress and unhealthy activities. Primarily, though, people look for ways to avoid certain illnesses or medical conditions that may affect the overall quality of their lives. One such medical condition is the development of kidney stones. To better take care of themselves to immediately address the said medical condition, people will naturally look for ways to identify its signs and symptoms. In this article, we will look at the signs and symptoms of having kidney stones.
Kidney Stones: A Brief Overview
Kidney stones are usually formed when a hard collection of various minerals and salts are formed within the kidney. This accumulation and hardening of minerals are usually composed of uric acid and calcium and once they are completely formed in the kidney of an individual or patient, they may be transported to other parts of the urinary tract system.
These kidney stones come in different shapes and sizes. One kidney stone can be as large as to occupy the entire kidney and can measure a number of inches in total size. Others can be extremely small and will only take up a very small portion of an inch. These kidney stones form when there are excess accumulation and hardening of specific minerals in the kidney and eventually end up in an individual’s urine. This can be exacerbated or worsened by being dehydrated. People who do not get enough fluids or water may prevent the accumulation and concentration of the aforementioned minerals. Once these concentrated minerals are not dissolved with enough liquids due to dehydration, then the risk for developing kidney stones increases exponentially.
In the United States of America (USA), a significant number of people may develop the aforementioned health condition. Data suggests that around one (1) out of eleven (11) Americans may develop kidney stones. In addition, people with certain medical conditions may be more prone to developing kidney stones compared to others. These medical conditions include type 2 diabetes, people who are struggling with obesity and individuals who are male.
Kidney stones that stay in the kidney and those that are small in size may not cause any symptoms or any other adverse health effects. Patients may not even know that they have kidney stones until these get transported to their ureter or the tube connecting the body’s kidney to its bladder. Kidney stones that do pass, though, have been described as being very painful. Fortunately, smaller kidney stones have been known to pass or resolve on their own. Larger or bigger kidney stones, however, are a different story, as they may result in extreme pain and require that medical treatment is sought immediately.
What are some of the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
As mentioned earlier, kidney stones usually resolve on their own without any major health issues for the individual. However, those kidney stones that are bigger in size and those that have been transported by the body to the other parts of the Urinary tract such as the ureter, may experience some symptoms that need to be managed and addressed. Listed below are some of the said symptoms:
1. Pain on the side, belly or back can be a symptom of kidney stones
Also called renal colic, pain caused by kidney stones can be considered as one of the most severe types of pain that can be experienced by an individual. People who already had pain from kidney stones reported feeling the pain that is comparable to childbirth or to a knife stabbing. The pain is so extreme in some cases that a kidney stone pain or renal colic prompts people afflicted to visit their hospital’s emergency rooms for immediate treatment. Renal colic is usually initiated by a kidney stone that has been transported or moved by the body to a narrow portion of the ureter which in turn results in a blockage which consequently translates to kidney pressure buildup. The said kidney stone pain can come and go and change locations as the kidney stone moves along the urinary tract system. The pain will usually move from the patient’s back, side, under the ribs and eventually down the patient’s lower abdomen and the patient’s groin. Small stones can also develop extreme kidney stone pain depending on how it can cause blockages and pressure in the ureter and kidney.
2. Burning sensation or pain while urinating
Kidney stones that reach the intersection of the bladder and ureter may contribute to pain for the patient while he or she is urinating. This is called dysuria and may commonly and mistakenly be assumed as Urinary tract infection or UTI by the patient.
3. The urge to urinate frequently
Frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate may also be a sign or symptom of kidney stones. This can mean that the kidney stone has moved further down the lower portions of the urinary tract. This condition may result in individuals frequently needing to rush to the bathroom to urinate all throughout the day.
4. Blood found in the urine of the patient
Hematuria, or the presence of blood in the urine, is a common symptom for people with kidney stones. The blood in the urine may look brown, red or pink and even colorless if the blood cells present in the urine are so minuscule. The patient’s doctor can easily detect this though through laboratory tests conducted under a microscope.
5. Smelly or Cloudy Urine
Urine that comes from a healthy kidney and bladder will usually be free from foul odor and clear. Smelly or cloudy urine can simply indicate that a patient has kidney stone problems. People with smelly or cloudy urine may also have some form of UTI or urinary tract infection.