Kidney stones: what to look out for

Kidney stones are hard collections that develop in the kidney. They are often made up of uric acid or calcium. They develop in the kidney and can move to other parts of the urinary tract including the ureters and bladder. Kidney stones can vary in size, from a small barely visible collection to large stones that can be several centimetres across.

Kidney stones are often incredibly painful. Those that remain within the kidney may not cause too many problems. However, stones that move into the ureter can cause problems and severe pain.

Kidney stone symptoms include;

Pain in the abdomen, back or sides

This pain is known as renal colic and is claimed by many to be one of the most severe pains imaginable. The pain commences when the stone or stones move into the ureter, causing a blockage which in turn builds up pressure within the kidney.

Burning or pain during urination

When the stone reaches the end of the ureter and is close to the bladder, you may notice pain on urination. This can be a burning or sharp pain, that is often mistaken for a urinary tract infection.

Urinary urgency

You may feel that you need to pass urine more often than usual. Ans that when you get the urge to urinate, you feel you must get to the bathroom urgently. This can also mimic a UTI.

Peeing blood

Blood in the urine (haematuria) is common in both UTI’s and kidney stones. You may be able to see visible blood with your urine being pink, brown or red, or it may be microscopic blood that can only be seen under the microscope.

Nausea and vomiting

Kidney stones can trigger nausea and vomiting, both due to their location (they may irritate nerves linked to your GI tract) or due to the intense pain that comes with the kidney stone.

Urinating only a small amount

If you find you are feeling the urge to pass urine but can only go a small amount at a time, it may be because the kidney stone is causing a blockage.

If you suspect you have a kidney stone, a urologist will be able to examine you for urinary disorders and offer kidney stone treatment or removal if needed.

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