A kidney stone is a hardened object formed out of minerals that have accumulated gradually in the kidneys.
The kidneys being the filtration devices of our body, are perhaps only to be expected that things like kidney stones occur in them every now and then.
There are many types of kidney stones, by the way. The most popular method of classifying them in conventional medicine is to do it by their makeup. The following are the most common types:
- Calcium kidney stones
- Cystine kidney stones
- Struvite kidney stones
- Uric acid kidney stones
Knowing some of these types.
- Calcium kidney stones are far and away the most common. A lot of things can add to high level of calcium in your kidneys that leads to their formation, but the risk of them does get enhanced by specific things like too much vitamin D or having had an intestinal bypass operation.
- Then there are cystine kidney stones. When inspected outside of the body, these are usually crystalline, yellow lumps. They are often linked to a disorder that is called cystinuria.
- Third are struvite kidney stones. These are composed of ammonia and magnesium deposits in most cases, and they are usually the most sizeable of the kidney stone types currently catalogued. They often form following a bodily infection and can form and grow very swiftly.
- Finally, uric acid kidney stones are usually the smoothest and softest of all four common types. They are often associated with insufficient fluid intake and issues like gout.
As you can see from the different types, there are a lot of reasons these “stones” can form in the kidneys. Still, whatever their origins, knowing your don’t have stones in your kidneys is a good feeling.
You are better off without them.
This is because of their most well known symptom: acute pain. Not all kidney stones cause pain (more on that later), but a good number do—and many describe it as the most horrible pain they have ever felt in their lives.
Even with this unpleasantness, though, there is at least one good piece of news about kidney stones: they are not fatal in and of themselves.
So while you can and often do suffer great discomfort while they remain in your body, they cannot kill you. They can lead to complications, yes, but these are not all that common. Most people tend to detect kidney stones before they begin to lead to other issues.
So how does one detect the presence of kidney stones? Let us take a look at the typical symptoms of kidney stones to find out.
Common Kidney Stone Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, pain is typically the symptom most people think of when it comes to kidney stones.
It can be misleading to assume it presents in every case, though. Some kidney stones—usually the very smallest ones—cause no pain whatsoever.
So just because you lack pain to go with your other symptoms does not assure you that you have no kidney stones (and vice versa).
Where do you feel acute pain?
The pain people feel with kidney stones is usually localized. It is most often felt in the lower back, the sides (below the ribs), or the groin. This is because the pain is caused in most cases by the kidney stone scraping against an internal organ or passage as the body tries to get rid of it.
How does our body react to these stones?
Your body tries to void itself of kidney stones by passing them out of your urine. However, if the stone is large enough, it can get stuck in various places: the kidney, for example, or the ureter, which is the tube connecting your kidneys to the urinary bladder.
These are obviously places that were never designed to allow a hard object the size of a pebble to pass through them. The pain comes from the sides of the stone scratching them as it moves.
In general, larger stones mean more pain. Stones large enough to make it impossible for your body to pass them out by itself can occur: there have been stones the size of a small bird egg, for example.
When blood is found in urine.
The scraping against your kidneys or ureter can cause another symptom: hematuria.
Hematuria refers to the condition of passing bloody urine. The little wounds caused by the stone in your body bleed into the urine stream and cause this symptom.
Note that your urine can take on any number of reddish or earthen colors with hematuria. Some see pink-tinged urine, for example, where others see a dark brown.
Another symptom you can get with kidney stones is nausea along with restlessness.
Urination-related problems like overly frequent urination or pain during urination are also symptoms of kidney stones passing through your system.
Can You Confuse Kidney Stone Symptoms With Another Ailment?
In short, yes.
The symptoms of kidney stones do have some overlap with a number of other health issues, appendicitis and hernia being just two of them.
You can try to check if it is a kidney stone or something else by observing the timing of your symptoms.
If the pains tend to be worst in the late evening and early day, for example, the chances are higher of it being kidney stones. You still cannot be sure, though.
The surest way to tell whether or not you are experiencing the above issues due to kidney stones is to get imaging tests done.
These can tell you very quickly if your body has a kidney stone or not.
Can Kidney Stones Lead to Other Issues?
As mentioned earlier, yes they can, even if it does not always happen.
If you allow a kidney stone to remain in your body longer than it should, it can lead to a kidney infection, usually through the stone blocking the ureter.
That prevents the waste products your kidneys have filtered out of your blood from being urinated out of the body.
You will likely experience added symptoms if this is the case, as a new ailment has been introduced: fever, chills, diarrhea, and foul urine are some of them.
Detection and preventing re-occurence.
Obviously, you should treat kidney stones as soon as you detect them.
If you have had them already, you also want to take measures to prevent them from occurring again.
It could be as simple as eating more healthily and reworking your lifestyle and dietary habits to promote better kidney health and function.
You can ask your personal physician for instructions or consult kidney-health-focused natural-healing programs like The Kidney Disease Solution.
Basically, you should ensure that your kidneys get all the support they need to continue doing their jobs without problems.