Many people have kidney stones without knowing about them and only notice the condition when they have renal colic. Renal colic is a type of pain that occurs when urinary stones block part of the urinary tract. Your urinary tract includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. APPOTEK can help with kidney stones.
There are substances in the urine that prevent crystals from forming and a deficiency of any of these can change the balance of the urine, causing the formation of crystals. A common cause of this imbalance is not drinking enough fluid. Diabetes, high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, obesity and an unbalanced diet that contains a lot of salt and sugar can also increase the risk of kidney stones.
Crystals – which can form the stones – are excreted with the urine. But large stones can get stuck in the ureter, preventing urination. When that happens, the pressure in the renal pelvis increases – and you get renal colic. The stones can vary in diameter from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.
Untreated renal colic can affect the mucous membrane of the renal pelvis and cause inflammation of the renal pelvis (pyelonephritis). It can also damage the kidneys and the ureter. Pyelonephritis is a serious disease and should be treated with antibiotics.
Most people who have kidney stones do not know about it.
You can get stones anywhere in your urinary tract. They form when minerals like calcium and uric acid get stuck together in your urine and create hard crystals. The stones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. When these stones grow big enough, they can become very painful.
Small stones may not cause any symptoms. Larger stones can cause renal colic, especially if they block a ureter. This is the tube urine travels through on its way from your kidney to your bladder.
Symptoms of renal colic include:
- intense pain along the side of your body between your ribs and hip, or in your lower abdomen
- pain that spreads to your back or groin
- nausea or vomiting
Renal colic pain often comes in waves. These waves can last from 20 to 60 minutes.
Other symptoms of urinary stones include:
- pain when you urinate
- blood in your urine, which may be pink, red, or brown
- cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- gravel — tiny pieces of stones in your urine
- urgent need to urinate
- urinating more or less than usual
- fever and chills (if you have an infection)
Prevention and protection
Proper hydration is a key preventive measure. Increasing the amount of urine you pass helps flush the kidneys.
You can substitute ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, and fruit juice for water to help you increase your fluid intake. If the stones are related to low citrate levels, citrate juices could help prevent the formation of stones. Eating oxalate-rich foods in moderation and reducing your intake of salt and animal proteins can also lower your risk of kidney stones.
Stones larger than 7 millimeters can either be broken up by shockwave lithotripsy or removed by ureteroscopy. There are other treatments that may be relevant in some cases. If you feel pain, a doctor may prescribe prescription painkillers after consultation.
When to consult a doctor
Seek urgent help if you get sudden severe pain along the side of your body between your ribs and hip, or in your lower abdomen.
How APPOTEK can help
APPOTEK can help you with kidney stones. An initial consultation with one of our doctors will determine what treatment is required, after which you may be prescribed medication or referred for further diagnosis.