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Be informed about these symptoms of kidney stones

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Pain in lower abdomen

Story at-a-glance -

  • Kidney stone symptoms are initially felt when they move in your kidneys or make their way to the ureter
  • Pain caused by kidney stones is mainly felt on your side, back or lower abdomen
  • Ideally, talk to a doctor once you notice symptoms so you can alleviate this condition quickly

Kidney stones have a sharp texture that’s similar to crystalline,1 and can be as little as a grain of sand or grow to the size of a golf ball.2 According to the Mayo Clinic, early symptoms of kidney stones are felt when the stones move in your kidneys or travel into your ureter, a tube that links the kidney and bladder.3 You can also feel intense pain when kidney stones pass through the narrow passage of your urinary tract.4

Kidney stone pain often manifests on your side, back or on the lower abdomen.5 Authors of the book “Kidney Stone Emergencies” note that the area where discomfort occurs can vary depending on the stones’ size, location and degree and suddenness of their obstruction.6 Nevertheless, it’s important that you are aware of these common signs of kidney stones:7,8

  • Pain centralized in your back, groin, side or lower abdomen
  • Pain or a burning sensation when urinating9
  • Hematuria or presence of pink, red or brown blood in urine
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Releasing high or very small amounts of urine
  • Pain arising in waves and fluctuating in intensity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills

The appearance of these symptoms should prompt you to talk to a doctor, but more so if you notice any of these signs:10

  • Severe pain that can prevent you from sitting still or sitting comfortably
  • Pain along with nausea and vomiting or fever and chills
  • Difficulty urinating

Tests to diagnose kidney stones

The Mayo Clinic notes that there are four diagnostic methods that could help you and your doctor determine whether you have kidney stones:11

Blood tests — These tests check for excess calcium or uric acid in your blood, and may help you monitor your kidneys’ health. In some cases, your doctor may ask you to take a blood test so they can see if you’re dealing with another health problem.

Urine test — This test allows your doctor to see if your urine contains substances that prompt kidney stone formation. Usually, two urine collections are needed, and they’re taken in two succeeding days.

Imaging tests — If a kidney stone becomes trapped in your urinary tract, you could be asked to undergo any of these procedures:

Abdominal X-rays (although they may not show small kidney stones)

High-speed or dual energy computerized tomography (CT)

Ultrasound

Noninvasive test such as an ultrasound

Intravenous urography (characterized by a special dye injected into an arm vein which runs through your kidneys and bladder and enables X-rays to see the insides of these organs more easily.

CT images, aka CT urogram

Examining of passed stones — You will be given a strainer to catch kidney stones that come out when you urinate. The stones will be analyzed to determine their composition, so your doctor can determine why these stones formed and give you advice on how to address them.

MORE ABOUT KIDNEY STONES

Kidney Stones: Introduction

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney Stones Types

Kidney Stones Causes

Kidney Stones Symptoms

Kidney Stones Prevention

Kidney Stones Duration

Kidney Stones Treatment

Kidney Stones Surgery

Kidney Stones Diet

Kidney Stones FAQ

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