What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are small (sometimes large) rocks like formations in the kidneys that can be as small as 1mm or even as large as 4cms. Kidney stones are formed due to the presence of high levels of minerals in the urine such as calcium, uric acid, etc. Kidney stones formation starts as crystalline deposits in the kidney and they grow in size. They can even travel from the kidneys to the urethra along with the flow of urine.
Smaller kidney stones may not show any symptoms and in some cases, they may be ejected out of the body while a man urinates. Large kidney stones cause painful symptoms that can’t be ignored and will need a urologist’s intervention to break them up or to remove them from the kidneys surgically.
Symptoms of kidney stones
* Severe pain in back, sides, or in the abdominal area
Pain caused due to Kidney stones is called “Renal Colic”. This is one of the very severe pains that could possibly be felt only by the affected person. The presence of stones in the kidneys can cause pain in the back. In cases when small stones move into the ureters and block the flow of the urine from the kidneys, the pain caused is excruciating. As the stone(s) changes its (their) location, the pain area to changes accordingly.
* Body will be able to successfully move the stones out in some cases, but in cases when they get stuck, the pain will be radiated to the sides, back, and even under the ribs. Pain caused by kidney stones is not dependent on the size of the stone. Even a small stone can cause severe pain when present in the very wrong place.
* Pain or burning sensation when urinating (dysuria)
Pain or burning sensation when urinating is a common symptom of Urinary Tract Infection. However, when the stone is stuck in the ureters while on its way to the bladder, can cause pain and a burning sensation while urinating. Seen less often, Urinary Tract Infection may also be present along with kidney stones.
Kidney stones may also block the passage of urine and the person may not be able to empty his/her bladder completely. This causes the person to urinate more frequently and may need to run to the toilet. Urgent need to urinate may also look like another symptom of Urinary Tract Infection. If the person is not able to pass urine and empty his/her bladder entirely, the situation needs to be considered critical. Ignoring the symptom may be fatal.
* Blood in Urine (hematuria)
Hematuria is a condition when blood may be seen in the urine. The urine may change from clear or light/pale yellow to reddish or dark brownish in color. If the blood cells are too less, they may not be visible to the normal eye and may have to be observed under a microscope. Such a condition is called ‘Microscopic Hematuria’.
* Stinky or cloudy Urine
As said, normal urine can be clear or pale yellow in color, but when kidney stones are present, the urine may look thick, cloudy, and may stink badly. This can be a sign of urinary tract infection or the infection of kidneys. Urine turns cloudy when pus is present in it (called pyuria).
* Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting feeling are very common symptoms in people suffering from kidney stones. The kidneys and GI tract share the same set of nerves as a result of which, the stones in the kidneys may upset the stomach.
* Fever and Chills
A very common symptom of an infection in the human body is a fever. As the body starts fighting the infection, fever is the primary symptom that shows up. Chills or shivering may also occur along with running a fever. Usually, fever and/or chills indicate a severe infection in the urinary tract or in the kidneys.
In many cases, if a person keeps a tab on the color and smell of urine (and poop), he/she will be able to get notified of any problems that his/her body might be having. Ignoring small symptoms that can be set right on their own may be a good idea but only in very few cases. Should you see any of the above-mentioned symptoms and if they don’t go away in a couple or maximum of 3 days, one needs to immediately see a urologist near him/her.
The doctors at Kidney Stones Clinic, T Nagar, Chennai have been treating kidney stone patients for 30 years. The vast experience and the availability of advanced treatment technology, help them diagnose, treat/remove kidney stones in the most painless way.