Kidney Stone Causes, Symptoms & Treatment: All You Need To Know

Signs You May Have Kidney Stones & When To Seek Emergency Care

Kidney stones (or renal calculi) are caused when minerals and salts inside the body become bonded together to form hard, rock-like deposits. These deposits begin inside the kidney but can have an impact anywhere along the urinary tract, which comprises the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

Kidney Stone Causes, Symptoms & Treatment: All You Need To Know

What Causes Kidney Stones?

About 10% of the American population will get a kidney stone at some point, with men slightly more at risk than women. Though certain people are more likely to get kidney stones due to genetic predisposition, a number of factors can cause or contribute to their formation:

  • Diet (foods high in salt or sugar)
  • Certain medications and supplements
  • Other health conditions/surgeries
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Lack of or too much exercise
  • Being overweight

Importantly, once someone gets a kidney stone one time, he or she is much more likely to develop another one in the future.

Recognizing Kidney Stone Symptoms 

Though kidney stones may crystallize in one part of the kidney, they usually don’t start to cause symptoms until they move to another part of the kidney or urinary tract such as the bladder or the ureter, which connects the two organs. When this occurs, comes the most well-known symptom of kidney stones: pain, which can take many forms.

  • Shooting pain below the ribs along the side or back
  • Pain in the stomach and/or groin area
  • Painful burn when urinating
  • Pain that fluctuates between vague and intense

In addition, blood in the urine, urine that appears pink or brown or is cloudy or smells different can also be a telltale indication of kidney stones. More general symptoms that may accompany the condition include nausea, fever or chills.

Treating Kidney Stones Fast & Effectively 

It sounds simple but drinking plenty of water and other fluids is an important way to prevent kidney stones. Liquids help dilute the urine, giving minerals and other waste products less of a chance to concentrate and form stones in the kidneys.

Seek immediate medical care at The Emergency Center for these potential kidney stone symptoms:

  • blood in the urine
  • inability to urinate
  • severe ongoing pain
  • pain with fever or vomiting

The Emergency Center can use diagnostic imaging to confirm the presence of a kidney stone or stones as well as size and shape. Meanwhile, a blood test or urine test can check for too many minerals that may form a stone, uncovering the likely composition of the stone and what steps the patient may need to take to prevent future stones.

Small stones (which are most typical) are usually passed by loading up on liquids and urinating. While it may be painful, The Emergency Center offers pain relief and other medications which can help patients more easily pass a stone, in addition to treatments for other accompanying symptoms. Larger stones may require surgery to remove.

Regardless of size, it is important to quickly address kidney stones, as they can increase risk of kidney disease, as well as a major source of pain.

Enjoy life. We’ll be here for the bumps along the way.™


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The Emergency Center

San Antonio
11320 Alamo Ranch Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78253

Phone: 210-485-3644