Kidney Stone Signs, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention | Medtalks

Kidney Stone Signs, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention | Medtalks

Kidney Stones

Renal calculi, or kidney stones, are solid masses of crystals. Kidney stones are mainly formed in the kidneys. They can, however, appear anywhere throughout your urinary tract, which is made up of the following parts:

  • kidneys

  • ureters

  • bladder

  • urethra

Kidney stones can be a debilitating medical condition. Kidney stone causes differ depending on the type of stone.The crystals that make up kidney stones are not all the same. Kidney stones come in a variety of shapes and sizes.


The most prevalent type of stone is calcium. Calcium oxalate is commonly found, but calcium phosphate or maleate can also be found.

You can lower your risk of forming this sort of stone by eating less oxalate-rich foods. Foods high in oxalate include:

  • Chips made of potatoes

  • Peanuts

  • Chocolate

  • Spinach

Even though calcium is found in some kidney stones, getting enough calcium in your diet can help prevent them from forming.

Uric Acid

This is the second most prevalent form of kidney stone. Gout, diabetes, obesity, and other types of metabolic disorders can all cause them.When urine becomes overly acidic, this type of stone forms. Purine-rich foods can raise the acidity of urine. Animal proteins, such as fish, shellfish, and meats, contain purinel.


This sort of stone is most commonly discovered in patients who have had a urinary tract infection (UTIs). These stones can grow to be quite large, obstructing the urinary tract.A kidney infection causes struvite stones. Struvite stones can be prevented by treating an underlying infection.


Cystine kidney stones affect about one out of every 7,000 people on the planet. Cystinuria is a hereditary condition that affects both males and women.Cystine, a naturally occurring acid in the body, passes from the kidneys into the urine in this form of stone.

Kidney Stone Signs & Symptoms

Kidney stones can be extremely painful. Kidney stone symptoms may not appear until the stone has moved down the ureters. Renal colic is the medical term for this type of extreme pain. One side of your back or abdomen may be in agony.Pain in the genital area is common among men. Renal colic causes discomfort that comes and goes but can be quite severe. Renal colic patients are often restless.

Kidney stones can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Hematuria (red, pink, or brown urine)

  • Nausea

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Frequent need to urinate

  • Urinating in small amounts

When a little kidney stone moves through your urinary tract, you may not experience any discomfort or symptoms.

Kidney Stones & their Causes

People between the ages of 20 and 50 are most likely to get kidney stones. A variety of conditions can raise your chances of developing a stone. White people are more prone than black persons to have kidney stones. Sex is also a factor. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), men are more likely than women to suffer kidney stones.

If you've had kidney stones before, you're at a higher risk. A family history of kidney stones also helps.

Other aspects to consider are:

  • dehydration

  • obesity

  • a diet with high levels of protein, salt, or glucose

  • hyperparathyroid condition

  • gastric bypass surgery

  • inflammatory bowel diseases that increase calcium absorption

  • taking medications such as 

    • triamterene diuretics

    • antiseizure drugs

    • calcium-based antacids

How are Kidney Stones Treated?

The type of stone determines the type of treatment. Urine can be strained, and stones can be removed for testing.Urine flow is increased by drinking six to eight glasses of water every day. Intravenous fluids may be required for people who are dehydrated or have severe nausea and vomiting. Other alternatives for treatment include:


Narcotic drugs may be required for pain alleviation. The presence of infection necessitates antibiotic treatment. Other drugs to consider are:

  • allopurinol (Zyloprim)

  • thiazide diuretics to prevent calcium stones from forming

  • sodium bicarbonate or sodium citrate to make the urine less acidic

  • phosphorus solutions to prevent calcium stones from forming

  • ibuprofen (Advil) for pain

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain

  • naproxen sodium (Aleve) for pain


Sound waves are used in extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy to break up big stones so they can move more easily down the ureters and into your bladder.This technique can be unpleasant and may necessitate the use of a local anesthetic. It can result in bruising and bleeding in the abdomen and back, as well as around the kidneys and other adjacent organs.

Tunnel Surgery (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy)

The stones are removed through a small incision in your back by a surgeon. This procedure may be required when: 

  • The stone either obstructs the flow of urine and causes infection, or it damages the kidneys.

  • The stone has grown too large to pass, and the pain is unbearable.


If a stone becomes lodged in the ureter or bladder, your doctor may use a ureteroscope to remove it.A camera is attached to a small wire that is inserted into the urethra and passed into the bladder. The doctor then snags the stone and removes it with a tiny cage. The stone is then sent to a lab for examination.

Management of Renal Colic Pain

A kidney stone can be painful and inconvenient to pass.To help alleviate symptoms, your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Testing for & Diagnosing Kidney Stones

A complete health history assessment and a physical exam is required for diagnosing of kidney stones, such as:

  • Blood tests for calcium, phosphorus, uric acid, and electrolytes

  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine to assess kidney functioning

  • Urinalysis to check for crystals, bacteria, blood, and white cells

  • Examination of passed stones to determine their type.

The following tests can rule out obstruction:

  • abdominal X-rays

  • intravenous pyelogram (IVP)

  • retrograde pyelogram

  • ultrasound of the kidney (the preferred test)

  • MRI scan of the abdomen and kidneys

  • abdominal CT scan

Brain and Nervous System

How to Pass Kidney Stones?

Passing a kidney stone is a process that usually happens in stages over a few weeks.

What is the average time it takes to pass a kidney stone?

The length of time it takes to pass a kidney stone is determined by the size of the stone. Small stones can usually be passed through the urine without therapy within 1-2 weeks. Larger stones, on the other hand, may take up to two weeks to pass past the kidneys and into the bladder.Medical treatment is usually required for stones that do not pass on their own after four weeks.

How to Prevent Kidney Stones?

Hydration is an important preventative step. It is recommended that you drink enough water each day to pass at least 2.5 liters of urine. Increasing the amount of urine you pass aids in kidney flushing.To help you drink more water, try substituting ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, or fruit juice for water. Citrate juices may help prevent the formation of stones if the stones are caused by low citrate levels.

Kidney stones can be avoided by eating oxalate-rich foods in moderation and lowering your salt and animal protein intake.To assist prevent the formation of calcium and uric acid stones, your doctor may prescribe medicines. If you've ever had a kidney stone or are at risk of getting one, talk to your doctor about the best ways to avoid one.

The Bottom Line

Although dealing with kidney stones can be a painful and frustrating experience, there are a variety of therapeutic options available.There are a variety of drugs and treatments that can aid in the management of kidney stone symptoms and the passing of kidney stones.Furthermore, staying hydrated and making dietary modifications can help prevent kidney stones from forming in the long run.


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