Signs Of Kidney Disease
What Are Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are hard collections of salt and minerals often made up of calcium or uric acid. They form inside the kidney and can travel to other parts of the urinary tract.
Stones vary in size. Some are as small as the period at the end of this sentence a fraction of an inch. Others can grow to a few inches across. Some kidney stones can become so large they take up the entire kidney.
A kidney stone forms when too much of certain minerals in your body accumulate in your urine. When you arent well hydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated with higher levels of certain minerals. When mineral levels are higher, its more likely that a kidney stone will form.
About 1 out of every 11 people in the United States will get a kidney stone. Stones are more common in men, people who are obese, and those who have diabetes .
Smaller kidney stones that remain in the kidney often dont cause any symptoms. You might not notice anything is amiss until the stone moves into your ureter the tube that urine travels through to get from your kidney to your bladder.
Kidney stones are typically very painful. Most stones will pass on their own without treatment. However, you may need a procedure to break up or remove stones that dont pass.
Here are eight signs and symptoms that you may have kidney stones.
2 ). Some people whove experienced kidney stones compare the pain to childbirth or getting stabbed with a knife.
4 ). Your doctor might call this dysuria.
Follow These Top Warning Signs Indicating You May Have Kidney Stones
About one out of every ten people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives, according to the National Kidney Foundation, with stones occurring about twice as often in men. Kidney stones have become more common during the past couple of decades. That increase could be due to the concurrent rise in obesity, which is a potential risk factor for kidney stones.
Kidney stones form when minerals and salts in your blood create hard concretions inside your kidneys. Normally, your kidneys filter out these materials, but when concentrations are high or when your kidneys are overworked or arent working normally, the substances can collect and clump together, forming sharp crystals. Very small stones may be excreted on their own when you urinate. But sometimes, the crystals get stuck and thats typically when most symptoms begin.
Larger kidney stones usually cause significant symptoms almost right away. With smaller stones, the symptoms can be less obvious and more difficult to discern. If you have a kidney stone, getting prompt medical care is essential for preventing complications. Heres a list of some of the most common kidney stone symptoms to watch out for.
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How Do You Get Kidney Stones
While we dont know what causes stones to form, we do know some stones form more easily than others. Dehydration, not consuming enough fluids, can contribute to stones forming, as there may not be enough urine to wash out the microscopic crystals.
Calcium stones, the most common kidney stones, seem to affect more men than women and they are most often in the twenties when it happens.
- Too much calcium in the urine caused by disease, such as hyperparathyroidism
- Having too much sodium, usually taken in through salt
Although food doesnt cause the stone formation, some people may be told to avoid high calcium foods if they are prone to developing stones.
Cystine stones are caused by a disorder that runs in families and affects both men and women.
Struvite stones are virtually always caused by a urinary tract infection as a result of an enzyme secreted by certain types of bacteria. Because more women than men have UTIs, more women than men develop struvite stones. These stones can grow very large and can block the kidney, ureter, or bladder.
Uric acid stones affect more men than women and they can also occur in people who already get calcium stones. People who have high uric acid levels may have or develop gout.
Symptom Of Kidney Stone: Blood In Your Urine
Because stones tend to have those jagged surfaces, they can scrape along through your system, causing abrasions and inflammation.
That can lead to some blood in the urine, Dr. Zhao says. In some cases, you can actually see the blood in your pee. Thats called gross hematuria. In other cases, the blood in your urine is microscopic and can only be picked up on lab workthats known as microscopic hematuria.
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Treatment Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be managed in a number of ways, depending upon the size of the stone, your other medical problems, and your overall comfort level. Many small stones will pass with the help of medications, which will keep you comfortable while the stone passes naturally. This process may take a few days to a week or more.
For larger stones, stones that are associated with severe symptoms, or stones that will not pass with medical therapy, surgery is often required.
How Are Children Treated For Kidney Stones
Most childrens kidney stones can be treated with the shock wave lithotripsy , a completely non-invasive procedure. Your child is placed under anesthesia and sound waves of specific frequencies are focused on the stones to shatter them into fragments small enough to be easily passed during urination.
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Signs Of Acute Pyelonephritis
Acute pyelonephritis is a painful bacterial infection of the kidneys which occurs when bacteria enter the urethra, move into the bladder, travel up the ureters and affect the kidneys. It is usually caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli, but can sometimes be caused by other bacteria.
Acute pyelonephritis is a common kidney problem in females, especially those between the ages of 15 and 29. The condition is rare among males, although it is more common in men over the age of 65 or men with anatomical abnormalities of the urinary tract. It can, however, affect people of any age. Although it is quite uncomfortable, acute pyelonephritis is seldom a cause of long term kidney problems. Some underlying conditions can increase the risk of developing acute pyelonephritis. These include:
- Urinating painfully or with difficulty
- Producing no urine
- Low blood pressure, which can manifest as dizziness and/or faintness
In men and women older than 65, the above-mentioned symptoms may be absent, and additional symptoms may include:
- Jumbled speech
Good to know: In babies and toddlers, the only sign of acute pyelonephritis may be a high fever.
For more information, consult this resource on acute pyelonephritis. If you are worried that you or a loved one may have pyelonephritis, you can do a symptom assessment with Ada.
Symptoms Associated With Kidney Stones
When a kidney stone starts to pass, symptoms typically occur suddenly and without warning. Sharp, stabbing pain usually develops in your side or back, typically right at the bottom part of the ribcage. Sometimes, the pain will travel downward into the genital area. Stones that have nearly passed into the bladder may be associated with an intense urge to urinate.
Stone pain typically comes and goes. After an initial period of severe pain, you may feel better for a few hours before developing another attack. Many patients will require medication to help with stone pain.
Nausea and vomiting are also very common and are often a reason for hospital admission during stone attacks. You might also see blood in your urine. This can be unsettling to many patients, but is generally not life-threatening.
The most concerning symptom during a stone attack is fever, which indicates that you may have an infection in addition to a kidney stone. This is a potentially life-threatening combination and requires immediate evaluation and treatment.
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Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented
While not all kidney stones can be prevented, there are ways to lower your risk of developing one or developing another one. The first and foremost way would be to drink enough fluids to ensure your urinary system gets flushed out well.
Your doctor could recommend that you avoid certain types of foods, but that is an individual call. For certain types of stones, sometimes medications are prescribed to help reduce the risk as well.
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Function Of The Adrenals
A part of the endocrine system, the adrenals are located on top of the kidneys. One major task of these organs is secreting hormones that serve several purposes in the body.
One of the major hormones secreted by the adrenals is cortisol . This is the hormone your body needs when under stress. Anytime stress comes into your life, your body responds the same way regardless of the origin of the stress.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is activated, setting in motion a cascade of hormonal and chemical changes. At the end of this cascade, the adrenals secrete cortisol to fight the effects of stress.
Ordinarily, once the stress is over, the adrenals return to a state of homeostasis. When stress continues, the burden of producing more and more cortisol can lead to adrenal fatigue, where the adrenals can no longer produce sufficient cortisol and the effects of stress grow.
Initially, adrenal fatigue presents vague symptoms. As the condition worsens, so do the symptoms, until finally, they may become so severe as to render the person bedridden and/or unable to function.
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Common Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
If the kidney stones are small, minimal symptoms may be experienced, but the larger the stones the more predominant and noticeable symptoms can be. Kidney stone symptoms can result from a stone being stuck in the kidney, a stone travelling through the urethra, and a stone causing an infection.
Common symptoms of kidney stones include pain in the lower back, groin or abdomen, periods of intense pain, restlessness or inability to lay still, nausea, frequent urination, pain when urinating, and blood in urine.
Sudden Urge To Urinate
If you find yourself suddenly needing to urinate or needing to urinate more frequently than normal, it may be a sign that a kidney stone has reached the lower portion of your urinary tract. Like cloudy urine, increased urgency is also associated with urinary tract infections, although with kidney stones, urgency can be present even without an infection.
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Symptom Of Kidney Stone: Nausea Or Vomiting
If pain is present, you may feel sick as a result. Theres nothing specific about the kidney stones themselves causing it, but when your body is experiencing pain, your nervous system kicks into overdrive.
This can mess with your digestion, leading to symptoms like nausea or vomiting.
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What Causes Kidney Stones
The waste products in the blood can occasionally form crystals that collect inside the kidneys. Over time, the crystals may build up to form a hard stone-like lump.
This is more likely to happen if you don’t drink enough fluids, if you’re taking some types of medication, or if you have a medical condition that raises the levels of certain substances in your urine.
Read more about the causes of kidney stones.
After a kidney stone has formed, your body will try to pass it out when you go to the toilet . This means it will often travel through the urinary system .
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How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones
There are several ways to decrease your risk of kidney stones, including:
- Drink water. Drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses every day . Staying hydrated helps you urinate more often, which helps flush away the buildup of the substances that cause kidney stones. If you sweat a lot, be sure to drink even more.
- Limit salt. Eat less sodium. You may want to connect with a dietician for help with planning what foods you eat.
- Lose weight. If youre overweight, try to lose some pounds. Talk to your healthcare provider about an ideal weight.
- Take prescriptions. Your healthcare provider may prescribe some medications that help prevent kidney stones. The type of medication may depend on the type of stones you get.
How To Prevent Kidney Stones
What you can do to prevent future kidney stones depends on the type of stone and your medical history, so youll want to speak with your doctor about your options, Simon says. Prevention strategies might involve drinking plenty of water, making dietary adjustments , or taking various medications to help moderate the levels of certain minerals in your urine, the Mayo Clinic explains.
Additional reporting by Claire Gillespie.
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If You Think You Have A Kidney Stone
If you have been diagnosed with a kidney stone, please call 362-8200 to schedule an appointment for evaluation and treatment we will do our best to make sure you are seen promptly. You may be directed to the emergency department if you are experiencing intractable nausea, vomiting, pain or fever so that urgent treatment can be given.
We have a very limited number of same-day appointments therefore, it is likely that you will be directed to the emergency department for rapid evaluation. There, they will obtain scans and labs that will help confirm the diagnosis of kidney stones. From that information, we can make an informed decision about your treatment.
If you have recently passed a stone, you should have close follow-up with a urologist. Our team of stone experts can accommodate you at any of our clinic locations.
Once The Stone Has Left The Bladder
Steadyhealth.com notes that a person with kidney stones may experience frequent and painful urination when the stone has passed from the bladder into the ureter 12. Lack of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, fever, fatigue and excessive perspiration are also signs of kidney stones at this stage 1. According to Webmd.com, blood in the urine can be a sign of a kidney stone that has stayed in the kidneys or that has moved through the ureters.
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Kidney Stones Make You Feel Tired
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The Skin Color Is Getting Darker
The skin color that becomes darker is one of the kidney problems that we can see. The skin will be dark and seem dull, not shiny and dim.
This is caused by the accumulation of waste products that the kidneys can not waste into the urine. By contrast, pale skin color can be a characteristic of chronic kidney disease.
This occurs due to anemia which commonly occurs in chronic renal failure. Anemia or lack of red blood cells will provide a paler shades on your skin.
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Pressure Or Pain In The Lower Back
In some cases, a stone may become stuck in the ureter. The ureter is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. A blockage here causes urine to back up in the kidney, resulting in pressure and pain sensations in the lower back. These symptoms may occur on the left or right side, depending on which kidney is affected.
According to the University of Chicago, pain or pressure are usually the first signs of a kidney stone. In some cases, the symptoms may be very subtle and build up slowly. In other cases, they may come on suddenly, with no early warning signs. This pain can be severe and may lead to nausea or vomiting, or both. People often experience sharp, stabbing pain, and common measures such as rest or lying down do not relieve it.