Kidney Stones: Small But Severe

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 10 Americans will have a kidney stone during his or her lifetime. A kidney stone is one of the most common problems of the urinary tract, and can be one of the most painful disorders. How can you prevent them? Read on…

What is a kidney stone?

A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms from crystallization of excreted substances in the urine. The stone, which can vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball, may remain in the kidney or break loose and travel down the urinary tract.

A small stone may pass all of the way out of the body, but a larger stone can get stuck in a ureter, the bladder, or the urethra, which can block the flow of urine. White Americans are more prone to developing kidney stones, and men are much more likely than women to develop them.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Kidney StonesA kidney stone can cause agonizing pain, but each person experiences symptoms differently. You might have a kidney stone if you have:

  • Extreme, sharp pain in the back or side that will not go away. Changing positions does not help, and pain can come and go.
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cloudy or odorous urine
  • Frequent urination
  • A burning feeling when you urinate
  • Fever and chills

The symptoms of kidney stones may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis. Prompt medical attention for kidney stones is necessary.

How can I prevent kidney stones?

The best ways to prevent kidney stones are:

  • Drink more water. Up to 12 full glasses of water a day can help to flush away the substances that form stones in the kidneys.
  • Limit coffee, tea, and soda to one or two cups a day.
  • Consult your doctor about dietary modifications.
  • Medications may be prescribed to prevent calcium and uric acid stones from forming.

Worried that you are experiencing symptoms of a kidney stone? OSF OnCall can provide guidance as to the best course of action.