Formation of kidney stones is a very common ailment with many adults. Stones are formed inside the kidneys and sometimes get pushed into the urinary tract as well. They are formed by the solidification of different minerals and salts, and sometimes they are made of uric acid as well.
These solid sediments leading to the formation of kidney stones are deposited when those particular minerals start getting deposited in excess. This situation is heightened when the water intake is less, and the concentration of these deposits increases. The greatest likelihood of kidney stones forming is when the mineral deposits have higher concentration and the intake of water is low.
You will find that there is a great variety in the size of these kidney stones. There are some people whose stones become as large as the kidney itself, while some kidney stones are just a millimeter or so in diameter. But the most common size of kidneys is a couple of inches.
In the United States of America, close to 10% of the population suffers from kidney stones at least once in their lifetime. The propensity of occurrence of kidney stones is highest in overweight males who suffer from diabetes.
Many of us carry smaller stones in our kidney without any major discomfort or any adverse effects. It is only when some of these stones gradually move down the tract into the ureter that they begin to create problems. The ureter is the tube through which urine flows from the kidneys to the urinary bladder.
Under normal circumstances, small to medium sized kidney stones would pass through the urinary tract and be ejected along with the urine. But if they are slightly bigger, then they are difficult to pass along with urine, and also cause considerable pain.
Symptoms of kidney stones
As we explained above, many of us carry kidney stones under the normal course, and it is only when they become unmanageably big or cause a lot of discomfort that we begin to take them seriously. But here are 8 signs that would tell you that you are developing kidney stones.
1. Frequent Urination : If you get the urge to urinate very frequently during a day, it is a clear signal that the kidney stones have moved into the urinary tract. This urgency to urinate could not only occur several times during the day, but also wake you up in the night. You should be aware that this is also a symptom of urinary infection, so that should be checked.
2. Odor in urine : In case you notice your urine giving off a foul smell, or if it is not completely transparent, then it indicates some kind of infection in the urinary tract. The cloudiness in urine indicates that there is some presence of pus in the urine. There are usually two reasons for bad odor in urine – the bacteria in the urine, or the higher concentration of urine. It is usually found that people who have kidney stones also have urinary tract infection.
3. Inadequate Discharge : When you have kidney stones, the stones usually offer resistance to the free flow of urine. As a result, the complete amount of urine that has been produced is often not able to be passed, and you pass small amounts multiple times instead of passing the full quantity in one go.
4. Rising Temperature : Like any other infection, a urinary tract infection associated with kidney stones often gives rise to increased temperatures, and that gives you bouts of shivering (chills). But high fever accompanied by pain could also indicate some other ailment and should be checked.
5. Vomiting and nausea : When you have kidney stones, it often gives you nausea and vomiting tendencies. The reason for this is that the gastrointestinal tract and the kidneys share the same set of nerves. That is why the stones inside the kidneys often impact the nerves of the gastrointestinal tract and cause a stomach upset. That is why people with kidney stone often suffer vomiting tendencies.
6. Blood in urine : When you have kidney stones, the color of your urine often turns into shades and colors other than the usual yellow. If your urine is of red, pink or brown color, it could indicate that you are passing small amounts of blood in your urine, and you should have your urine tested. Kidney stones often cause hematuria, which releases small amounts of blood into the urinary tract.
7. Pain or Burning Sensation : This is a very common occurrence with people who have kidney stones. The pain or the stinging sensation would usually occur only during passing of urine. Many people who are still not aware that they suffer from kidney stones often mistake this pain or burning sensation as a sign of urinary tract infection.
8. External Pain : Apart from the urinary burn, people suffering from kidney stone often experience severe external pain as well. The areas where these pains occur are usually the back, belly or side. These pains sometimes occur with such ferocity that the person needs to be admitted to the emergency section in a hospital. The pain sometimes occurs as sharp stabs and sometimes as waves of recurring pain.
These pains begin when the stone shifts from inside the kidney into the urinary tract and blocks the way. The pain occurs in the back and along the sides of the body, usually in the lower part of the torso. The pain often moves on to the tummy area or to the groin. Unlike what many people think, the extent of pain isn’t always proportional to the size of the stone. Sometimes even a tiny stone can cause immense pain if it is placed at an inconvenient position and angle.
Although kidney stones are very common, yet a majority of them would pass through along with urine without causing any damage or discomfort. If you get any of the symptoms listed above, you should get yourself examined thoroughly for kidney stones.