Kidney stones are hard mineral and salt deposits that form inside your kidneys. They can start small, almost like a grain of sand, but can grow to the size of a pea or a ping pong ball. Kidney stones moving through your urinary tract can cause several warning signs. Here are eight symptoms of kidney stones to watch for so you can be better informed and proactive about your kidney health.
1. Sharp Pain in the Back or Lower Abdomen
The pain usually starts when the stone moves into the narrow ureter or the tube transporting urine from the kidney to the bladder. The pain may feel like a sharp cramping in your back, side, lower abdomen, or groin. The pain’s intensity can also change as the stone moves.
2. Pain That Comes and Goes
Kidney stone pain can be intermittent but intense. You may feel the pain in waves and experience changes in intensity as the stone changes location and moves along your urinary tract.
3. Blood in Your Urine
Blood in your urine, known as hematuria, can be caused when the kidney stone moves and scrapes or irritates the walls of your urinary tract. Seeing pink, red, or brown in your urine can be an alarming indication of the presence of kidney stones. It can also be a sign of infection.
4. Cloudy or Foul-Smelling Urine
Kidney stones can cause a distinctly unpleasant odor in your urine. Your urine may also appear cloudy or have an unusual consistency. These are signs that there might be an infection in your urinary tract.
5. Frequent Urination
If you have a kidney stone in the lower part of the urinary tract, you might feel the need to go to the bathroom more often than usual.
6. Pain or Burning During Urination
When a kidney stone reaches the junction between your bladder and the urethra, the tube where urine exits the body, it can cause discomfort or a burning sensation during urination.
7. Persistent Need to Urinate
You might feel a persistent and urgent need to urinate, even if you’ve just gone. Your bladder may feel like it can’t be emptied completely.
8. Serious Red-Flag Warnings
Sometimes, kidney stones can present symptoms that signal a need for urgent medical intervention. Red-flag symptoms indicate that the condition might have progressed to a more serious stage or is causing significant complications like a blockage.
Here are a few red flags that may indicate a more serious issue:
- The pain becomes so severe that you can’t find relief in any position or if it’s the worst pain you’ve ever experienced.
- You have a high fever along with chills. This can indicate an infection in your kidney, known as pyelonephritis, and requires prompt treatment to prevent sepsis, a potentially life-threatening response to infection.
- You are experiencing persistent nausea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration.
- There are signs of infection such as pain, fever, a general unwell feeling, and cloudy, pink, or foul-smelling urine.
When to Seek Immediate Medical Help
Without prompt intervention, kidney stones may cause serious and long-term damage to your kidneys. Seeking immediate medical care will help manage discomfort and ensure a precise diagnosis and effective treatment. Treatment may involve managing pain, treating infections, and using procedures to remove or break down kidney stones.
Don’t wait for the situation to worsen. If you recognize these symptoms, take a proactive step toward your health and call us at 843.347.2450 to schedule an appointment today!