Kidney stones is the common term for the medical condition of renal lithiasis or nephrolithiasis. The stones are made up of salts and minerals that form into hard deposits inside your kidneys.
Kidney stones can be caused by many different factors and can show up in different sections of your urinary tract. They may travel from the kidneys to your bladder, and from the bladder to the ureter. Sometimes kidney stones occur when the urine is too concentrated, which allows minerals to coalesce and crystallize. Heeding early signs like painful urination and an irregular urge to pee can help you seek medical help earlier and get treatment.
Pain from Kidney Stones
How can you be sure that kidney stones are causing your pain?
Because there are other maladies that have similar symptoms to kidney stones, a visit to your urologist may save you from uneccesary grief. Some symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Acute pain below the ribs on the side of your body or in your back. The pain may intensify or shift to various locations as the stones travel along the urinary tract.
- Pain located in the lower abdomen or groin
- Pain that fluctuates in severity
- Painful urination
- Cloudy or discolored urine (pink, red or brown)
- Foul-smelling urine
- Persistent need to urinate or urinating more than usual
- Urinating in small amounts
- Nausea and consequent vomiting
- Chills and fever due to associated infection
You could have just one of these symptoms or several. If you are experiencing severe discomfort along with nausea or blood in your urine, you should seek medical help.
Kidney stones do not usually cause any permanent damage if treated early and correctly. You may be able to drink plentiful amounts of water, take a pain medication, and be able to pass the stone on your own. However, if the stones get lodged in the urinary tract or cause a urinary infection, more aggressive treatment may be in order.
Tests for Kidney Stones
There are several ways your doctor can test for kidney stones that will also reveal their size and precise location. These tests include:
- Imaging tests: The imaging technology to determine if you have kidney stones includes X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds.
CT scans are more thorough than X-rays and result in lucid composite images of kidney stones. Ultrasound is also used to create images of the affected area.
- Blood tests: Your doctor can determine if your have too much uric acid or calcium in the blood, which can cause kidney stones to form.
- Urine tests: These lab tests can detect minerals that cause kidney stones in your urine. They can also reveal if you lack elements that prevent stones from forming.
Treatment for Kidney Stones
Your doctor can determine if sound-wave therapy can resolve the problem or if surgery is indicated due to stones being too large to pass, causing infection or other damage. If you are able to pass the stone on your own, saving it for your urologist to examine can help your doctor determine what causes your stones and what can be done to prevent additional ones from forming.
If you would like more information about kidney stones and their treatment, schedule a consultation at the Advanced Urology Institute location nearest you or visit the website.