What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are the hard accumulation of minerals and salt that are mostly composed of uric acid and calcium buildup. As their name implies, kidney stones usually develop in an individual’s kidneys which may be transported to the different parts of the urinary tract. These kidney stones can have varying sizes with some growing to a few inches while some may only grow to a fraction of an inch. It is also possible that kidney stones grow so large that they take up the entire size of the individual’s kidney.
Kidney stones usually develop when there are elevated levels of certain minerals in the body that are collected in the urine. Individuals who do not hydrate properly are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones as their urine may become more concentrated with certain kidney stone causing minerals. If these concentrations of minerals are not dissolved or diluted via hydration, kidney stones may develop and cause some adverse effects for the individual or patient.
People who have type 2 diabetes, those are obese and male individuals have an increased chance of developing or forming kidney stones. Data also show that people in the United States are one (1) in ten (10) more likely to develop kidney stones.
Kidney stones that are small in size may not pose any serious problem and symptom unless it starts to get transported to the other parts of the urinary tract system such as the utterer. While kidney stones are painful, passing them via the urine is fairly common. Those that don’t pass, though, due to their size or dimension, may need some for medical intervention such as breaking up or removing the stones from the kidney itself.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
Now, what are the early symptoms of kidney stones? As stated earlier in the article, small kidney stones don’t usually have any significant symptoms and they usually pass on their own via the patient’s urine. However, kidney stones that are larger in size may present some signs and symptoms that patients and individuals may no longer be able to ignore. Listed below are some of the signs and symptoms of kidney stones:
1. Patients will experience pain in the side, belly or back
Renal colic which is another term form for pain caused by kidney stones is one of the highest levels of pain known to man. People who experienced renal colic may even compare the pain of being stabbed by a knife or to giving birth. This pain is so significant and can greatly affect the quality of life of patients that over a million cases of kidney stones are rushed to the emergency room for immediate treatment.
Renal colic or kidney stone pain usually begins when the kidney stone causes pressure in the kidney by blocking the utterer. This pressure can trigger the pain response of the body through the nerves that react to the said utterer pressure. The onset of this kidney stone pain can be sudden and unexpected and may change locations based on the stone’s trajectory within the urinary tract of the patient. This, in turn, can make patients experience pain in the side, their belly or their backs.
2. Patients may feel a burning sensation while urinating
Kidney stones may travel and get lodged between the patient’s bladder and utterer. Medical professionals and doctors call this Dysuria and are the main reason behind the burning sensation and pain felt by patients with kidney stones while they are urinating. People describe the pain as burning or sharp and may be thought of as UTI or a urinary tract infection by those individuals who may still not be aware that they have kidney stones.
3. Patients may need to urinate more frequently
Patients with kidney stones that have already been pushed to the lower portions of the Urinary tract may feel the urge to urinate more frequently. Patients may also associate this with other health conditions such as a UTI or a urinary tract infection.
4. Patients may see blood in their urine
Hematuria or the presence of blood in the urine is a fairly common occurrence for people with kidney stones. The color of the blood can either be pink, red or brown and may even appear colorless on the urine itself unless a microscope is used.
5. Patients may also have smelly or cloudy urine
Healthy and normal urine should generally be odorless and clear. Smelly or cloudy urine may be an indication that an individual or a patient may have some form of infection of the kidney or the urinary tract. There was also a study conducted that showed that some patients with kidney stones, around 8% of them, also had UTI or urinary tract infection. Pyuria, or pus in the urine, can cause cloudiness of the urine. The pus and bacteria and the urine produce the odor that is often associated with UTIs or Urinary tract infections.
6. Patients may have to urinate in small amounts at a time
Patients with kidney stones stuck in the ureter may have difficulty urinating in regular quantities and may only urinate small amounts at a time. However, urine that completely stops from coming out should immediately be referred to a doctor or medical professional.