Kidney stones may give you sleepless nights and unbearable pain. The condition may be caused by many factors but what’s important for us is to recognize its early symptoms of it. This will help in getting timely treatment and provide relief.
Health Shots spoke to Dr Atul Ingale, Consultant Nephrologist and Transplant Physician, Director, Department of Nephrology, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, who told us all about kidney stones and ways to recognize the disease at an early stage.
Dr Ingale says “Kidney stones are also called nephrolith or renal calculi. They are complex collections of salt and minerals generally made up of calcium or uric acid. They form inside the kidney and can even travel to other parts of the urinary tract. A kidney stone forms when there are too many minerals that have accumulated in your urine. When people do not drink sufficient water, their urine becomes more concentrated with higher levels of certain minerals. When these minerals are more elevated, they can result in a kidney stone.”
Kidney stones are also quite common in people who have diabetes or obesity. This disease can also be caused by a genetic condition called cystinuria. Small kidney stones generally do not cause any symptoms, but when it reaches the person’s ureter (the tube that urine travels through to get from the kidney to the bladder),it can cause pain and other symptoms. If the kidney stone is small, it will continue from the bladder to the urethra and exit the body through your urine. In most cases, kidney stones pass naturally within 31 to 45 days. If a stone hasn’t passed during this duration, it’s essential to get medical attention.
Dr Ingale says, “If a person has a tiny kidney stone, they may not have any symptoms as the stone passes through the urinary tract without causing any problems. But if the kidney stone is more significant, they will likely have some symptoms.” The signs will include the following:
Kidney stones can cause severe pain, and some people have even compared it to the pain of stabbing. The pain begins when the stone moves into the narrow ureter, which causes a blockage and builds pressure in the kidney. The pressure causes the nerve fibers to activate and send pain signals to the brain. Kidney pain can often start suddenly and come in waves as the stone changes its location. While large stones can be more painful, even smaller stones can be painful and cause blockage.
“After the stone reaches the part between the ureter and bladder, it will cause discomfort during the urination process. This condition is called dysuria.
If a person does not recognize the symptoms of a kidney stone, it can easily be mistaken for a urinary tract infection. So, if symptoms persist, it is best to consult a doctor so that they can give a definite prognosis,” adds Dr Ingale.
“A common symptom of kidney stones is blood in the urine, which is also called hematuria. The blood can be red, pink, or brown, and sometimes the blood cells are too small to see without a microscope (called microscopic hematuria). Still, a specialized doctor can test urine to see if it contains blood and diagnose kidney stones in a patient,” says Dr Ingale.
Healthy urine is clear and does not possess a pungent smell. A person having cloudy or foul-smelling urine could signal a kidney or urinary tract infection. The smell in the urine can come from bacteria that can result in a Urinary Tract Infection.
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