Kidney Stones Symptoms

  • Symptoms

    Pain is the most typical symptom associated with kidney stones. Passing a kidney stone can be one of the most painful experiences you may ever go through. However, kidney stones may develop without causing any pain, or cause only mild pain Table 01. While small stones are more likely to pass from the body without causing any discomfort, size does not always predict the severity of pain. A small stone that causes acute obstruction of the urinary tract can cause more pain than a large stone that is not associated with obstruction.

    Table 1.  Symptoms of Kidney Stones

    Severe pain in your back or side, with or without nausea or vomiting.
    Burning and discomfort during urination.
    Blood in the urine.
    A persistent urge to urinate or unusually frequent urination.

    When a stone becomes trapped in the narrow ureter, it may cause severe pain in the back or side. You may experience nausea and vomiting as well. There may be blood in the urine, although sometimes in such tiny amounts that it would be visible only through a microscopic examination.

    Pain usually begins abruptly on one side of your body, then becomes constant and intense. If the pain is in the flank area, to the side of the back near the waist, it means that the stone is probably in the kidney or upper urinary tract. If the pain shifts downward, toward the groin, the stone is traveling downward through the ureter closer to the bladder. Blood may appear in your urine as the stone grows or tries to squeeze through the narrow ureter. As the stone approaches the bladder, you may feel an increased urge to urinate or experience a burning sensation during urination. You may develop fever and chills, possible signs of an infection.

  • Risk Factors

    A number of factors may increase your risk of developing kidney stones. They include family and personal history, age, gender, race, certain diseases and medications, diet, fluid intake, and activity level.

    If a member of your family has kidney stones, you are more likely to develop them too. If you have already had one or more kidney stones, you also have an increased risk of recurrence.

    Kidney stones are most likely to occur in people between the ages of 30 and 50. Kidney stones are rare in children unless they are caused by certain inherited disorders.

    Men are more likely than women to develop kidney stones, although the incidence in women has been increasing in recent years.

    The incidence of kidney stones is higher in Caucasians than in African-Americans.

    Common medical conditions such as chronic urinary tract infections, gout, cystic kidney disease, and hyperparathyroidism can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.

    Lack of fluid intake can affect your risk of developing kidney stones, particularly if you are prone to this condition. If you are susceptible to kidney stones and become dehydrated, your urine will contain a higher concentration of the chemicals that can form crystals and, ultimately, stones. If you live in a warm climate or work outdoors in hot weather, you may have a higher risk of developing kidney stones unless you drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

    A diet high in protein, from sources such as meat, chicken, or fish, may increase your risk, as could a diet low in fiber from sources such as fruit and vegetables.

    Your risk of developing kidney stones may increase if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. If you are paralyzed or are bedridden for a lengthy period, your risk may increase because your lack of physical activity causes your bones to release more calcium.

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