Kidney stones are one of the most painful things to deal with. There are multiple types of kidney stones you could be suffering from, such as:
- Calcium Stones: calcium that builds up and forms crystals in your urine and can't be dissolved.
- Struvite Stones: these form in response to an infection, like a UTI, and can grow quickly with no warning.
- Uric Acid Stones: if you don't drink enough water (or lose too much fluid), eat a high-protein diet, or have gout, you can have a build up of uric acid which will cause stones.
- Cystine Stones: form from a genetic disorder in which your kidneys excrete too much of certain amino acids.
Your diet, family history, weight, and dehydration can all increase your risk of kidney stones. That's why it's important to know the symptoms so they can be treated early.
Kidney stones can lay dormant for a while, and you generally don't notice them until they start moving in your kidney and make their way to your ureter, the tube connecting your kidney and bladder. When that happens, you may start to experience these signs and symptoms:
- severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- pain in your lower abdomen or groin
- pain when peeing
- pink, red, or brown urine
- foul-smelling or cloudy urine
- nausea and vomiting
- persistent need to urinate
- fever and chills if there's an infection
- urinating small amounts
When To See A Doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:
- Pain so severe that you can't sit still or find a comfortable position
- Pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting
- Pain accompanied by fever and chills
- Blood in your urine
- Difficulty passing urine
Treating kidney stones is fairly easy, but if they get large you could be due for legitimate treatment.
Small kidney stones don't require invasive treatment. There are many ways you can try to pass a stone without surgery or harsh treatment:
- Drink lots of water: this can help flush out your urinary system
- Pain relievers: though the stone is small, it can still be painful to pass. Taking Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve can all help ease the pain of the process.
- Medication: Your doctor may prescribe an alpha blocker which helps relax the muscles in your ureter. This will hopefully make the stone-passing process a lot easier.
Larger kidney stones will likely cause more pain and bleeding, and will need more extensive treatment, such as:
- Sound Waves: extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy uses sound waves to create small vibrations that break up the stones into smaller pieces which can be passed.
- Kidney Surgery: if the stones are too large, or there are too many, surgery may be required to removed the stones directly from the kidney.
- Scope: your doctor may decide a ureteroscope is required, which will send a small tube with a camera up your ureter. Special tools with then be used to break down the stone and remove it.
- Parathyroid Gland Surgery: the calcium build-ups that lead to kidney stones can be caused by overactive parathyroid glands. There may be a small, benign tumor on your parathyroid glands which can lead to the over-production of hormones that cause stones. Doctors may decide that surgery to remove the growth is your best option.