Kidney stones- What are they?
Kidney stones are hard collections of minerals and salts and are often made up of uric acid and calcium. They usually make a home inside the kidney but may travel to other parts of the urinary tract.
Kidney stones vary in size. Some might be as tiny as the period at the end of this sentence while others may grow to a few inches. Some kidney stones may grow large enough that they may suck up the entire kidney.
A kidney stone forms when a certain mineral accumulates in a great amount in the urine of a human body. When a human being isn’t well hydrated, the urine becomes more concentrated with higher levels of certain minerals. And, when the mineral levels are higher, kidney stones are more likely to be formed.
Kidney stones are more common among men, obese people, and those who have diabetes. Smaller kidney stones usually don’t show any symptoms. People might not even notice something is amiss until the stone moves into the ureter (the tube through which the urine travels to move from the kidney to the bladder).
Here are a few signs and symptoms of kidney stones
- Pain or Burning During Urination
Once the kidney stone reaches between the ureter and bladder, it starts to feel pain when a person urinates. The pain may also cause a burning sensation.
Some people who do not know that they have a kidney stone, often confuse it with a urinary tract infection. Sometimes, a person may also have an infection along with the stone.
- Blood in the Urine
Blood passing in the urine is a very common symptom among people suffering from urinary tract stones. The condition is also known as Hematuria. The blood can be either pink, red, or brown.
- Pain in the Belly, Side, or Back
None can deny the fact that kidney stone pain is one of the most severe types of pain one can imagine. Some of the people who’ve experienced kidney stones say that it is nothing less than getting stabbed or giving birth to a child. In fact, the pain is severe enough to account for uncountable visits to emergency rooms each year.
The pain often starts all of a sudden and as the stone moves, the pain changes its intensity and intensity.
Kidney stone pain is generally felt along the side and back, below the ribs. However, the pain radiates to your belly and groin area as the stone moves down through your urinary tract.
Large stones are usually considered to be more painful than the smaller ones. However, the intensity of the pain doesn’t relate to the size. Even a little stone can cause intense pain as it moves or causes a blockage.
- Smelly/Cloudy Urine
When you pass away healthy urine, it is clear and does not put off a strong odor. When the urine smells foul or feels cloudy, it might be a sign of infection in the kidneys or another part of the urinary tract.
A study found that around 8 percent of people with kidney stones suffer from urinary tract infections.
However, cloudiness in the urine signifies pus in the urine. The smell may come due to the presence of bacteria that cause UTI. An odor may also come from a urine that is more concentrated.
- Vomiting and Nausea
Vomiting and nausea are very common among people with kidney stones. These symptoms occur due to the shared nerve connections between GI tract and kidneys. Stones in the kidneys may trigger the nerves in the GI tract, which will eventually lead to an upset stomach.
- Fever and Chills
Fever and chills often is a sign that a person may be having an infection in the kidney or in any other part of the urinary tract. It may also be a sign of any other serious health problem besides stones.
The bottom line
As told above, kidney stones are hard collections of minerals and salts that take place in the kidneys and may travel to other parts of the urinary system.
Stones cause symptoms like pain, trouble urinating, cloudy or smelly urine, nausea & vomiting, and fever with chills. While some stones may pass on their own, others may require treatment to get removed or break them up.