Kidney stone symptoms are highlighted by an intermittent, excruciating pain on the side of the abdomen between the hip and the ribs. Once the stone passes from the kidney to the bladder it is appropriately called a bladder stone.
Stones typically form in the urinary tract because the urine is too saturated and salts begin to crystallize, or because the normal factors which prevent the formation of stones are not present. However, there are many pathological conditions which predispose some individuals to the formation of urinary tract stones.
The vast majority of kidney stones are formed from calcium, and do so because a stone-forming inhbitor, citrate, is not present, or is not present in sufficient quantities.
Kidney stones range in size and smaller ones may pass without any symptoms. Larger stones may temporarily block tubes draining the kidney and cause excruciating pain. Irritation and infection may occur due to this blockage. A complete blockage may result in a backup of urine which eventually causes increased pressure in the kidney and possibly permanent damage to the kidney structure.
Kidney stone symptoms:
- excruciating, intermittent pain in side of abdomen, back, groin, and inner thigh
- blood in urine
- chills and fever
- abdominal swelling
Diagnosis is typically through examination and observation of symptoms. Imaging techniques can be used to confirm the presence of stones in the urinary tract.
Treatment is dependent on the size of the stones and the discomfort experienced by the individual. Proper hydration may help to pass the stone. Sound wave generating machines can be used to break up stones and the smaller broken pieces can be passed individually. Stones may also be removed surgically (invasive or non-invasive).
If an underlying disorder does not exist which promotes the formation of stones, prevention can generally be achieved through lifestyle and diet changes. Proper hydration with water and avoidance of certain foods has been shown to be effective in reducing the prevalence of stone formation.