Kidney stones: what are the symptoms?

Kidney stones, medically known as nephrolithiasis, are a relatively common issue in both men and women and usually appear in-between the ages of 30 to 60. They can cause acute pain and be extremely uncomfortable to deal with.

They’re caused by the crystallisation of minerals and salts found in your urine, which forms hard stone-like deposits that can affect any part of your urinary tract from your bladder to your kidneys.

Kidney stones are more likely to occur if you’re using certain medication, you don’t drink sufficient fluids, or you have an underlying medical condition that increases levels of specific substances in your urine.

Small kidney stones can go unnoticed and don’t cause many any major symptoms, they can even be passed undetected.

Certain symptoms can transpire if the kidney stone gets stuck in the kidney, begins to travel through the ureter (a tube joining the kidney and bladder), or an infection is caused.

If this happens, you might experience the following kidney stone symptoms:

  • Lower abdomen pain
  • Groin pain
  • Acute pain under the ribs (side or back)
  • Pain while urinating
  • Waves of pain that alternate in force
  • Urine that’s red, brown or pink in colour
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constant need to urinate
  • Urinating more frequently than normal
  • Urinating in small quantities

As kidney stones can cause infection, it’s important to know what the symptoms of infection can be, you may experience:

  • High temperature or fever
  • Shivering
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cloudy urine
  • Foul-smelling urine

When a kidney stone passes, it may be rather painful, but they generally don’t create any long-lasting injury if they’re acknowledged swiftly. Every situation is different, and your kidney stone treatment may just be to take pain relief and drink plenty of fluids to help a kidney stone pass.

In more serious circumstances, for example if a kidney stone becomes stuck in the urinary tract or causes urinary infections, surgery might be an option for kidney stone removal.

If you experience pain that is very severe and you can’t get comfortable, sit down, or the pain is followed by nausea and vomiting, you will need to pursue urgent medical attention. Speak to us at Harrogate Urology for more information.

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