How Do You Know if You Have a Kidney Stone?

February 28,2017

Very small kidney stones can pass in the urine unnoticed. However, if a stone becomes too large, it can become lodged in the kidney or ureter. Once the blockage occurs, symptoms of kidney stones, such as intense pain, are quick to follow.


Common Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Once a kidney stone grows large enough to get caught in the kidney or the tube that drains into the bladder, it may partially or completely block urine flow. At this point, a sudden and severe pain is usually felt in the middle of the back, the side or abdomen that may radiate toward the groin. Other symptoms include:

  • Small amounts of urine
  • Urinating more often
  • Pain when urinating
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Persistent need to urinate
  • Cloudy urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills (if infection is present)

When kidney stones are present, the pain often comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity. As the kidney stone moves from one place to another, it can be excruciating. Patients often say, "It is the most painful experience of their life."


What Causes Kidney Stones? 

Kidney stones form when your urine does not contain enough of the fluid needed to dilute crystal-forming substances like calcium, oxalate and uric acid. At times, a person's urine may naturally lack the substances that prevent crystal formations. Although inherited metabolic disorders are rare, they can contribute to the formation of a type of kidney stone (cystine stones). Kidney stones are more often associated with dehydration (uric acid stones), food consumption (calcium stones) or kidney infections (struvite stones).


Can Women Get Kidney Stones?

According to Dr. Kirtly Jones from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Health Care, kidney stones are becoming more common, especially in women. Currently, about one in ten men are affected by kidney stones but the occurrence in women has increased to one in twelve. It is believed that risk factors like obesity, high salt intake, increases consumption of processed sugars, pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are most likely to blame. Dr. Jones suggested that pizza is the poster food for kidney stones because of salty crust, salty meat, salty cheese and salty sauce. For both men and women, the best advice seems to be: eat your fruits and veggies, keep your gut happy with a high fiber diet, and stay hydrated.


When you suffer from intense abdominal, lower back or groin pain, it is time to seek medical care. If you add nausea and vomiting or chills and a fever, then it is time to seek immediate medical care. To schedule an appointment at either PrimeMed location (Orange Park or Southside Jacksonville) call 904-269-0500.