What are the Signs and Symptoms of Nephrolithiasis?

Nephrolithiasis, commonly known as kidney stones, is a condition characterized by the formation of solid mineral and acid salts crystals in the kidneys. These crystals can grow over time, forming larger stones that can cause various symptoms and complications. The signs and symptoms of nephrolithiasis can vary depending on the size and location of the kidney stone, but they typically include:

  • Severe Flank Pain: The hallmark symptom of kidney stones is intense, crampy, and severe pain in the side and back, often just below the ribcage. This pain is known as renal colic and may come in waves.
  • Pain Radiating to the Groin: The pain can radiate from the back or side down to the lower abdomen and groin as the stone moves through the urinary tract.
  • Hematuria: Blood in the urine (hematuria) is common with kidney stones and can cause urine to appear pink, red, or brown.
  • Frequent Urination: Individuals with kidney stones may feel the need to urinate more often, and the urgency to urinate can be accompanied by discomfort or pain.
  • Painful Urination: Kidney stones can cause pain or discomfort when urinating.
  • Cloudy or Foul-Smelling Urine: The presence of kidney stones may lead to changes in urine appearance and odor.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some people with kidney stones may experience nausea and vomiting, often as a result of the severe pain.
  • Fever and Chills: In cases where a kidney stone causes an infection, fever and chills may be present.
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Kidney stones can increase the risk of developing a UTI, which can lead to additional symptoms like burning during urination and urinary urgency.
  • Difficulty Passing Urine: As a stone moves through the urinary tract, it can obstruct the flow of urine, leading to difficulty passing urine or a weak stream.

The symptoms of kidney stones can be excruciating, and individuals often seek medical attention when experiencing intense flank pain. The size and location of the stone can influence the severity of symptoms. Smaller stones may pass on their own, while larger stones may require medical intervention, such as lithotripsy (sound wave treatment), ureteroscopy, or surgery to remove the stone.

If you suspect you have kidney stones or are experiencing symptoms like severe flank pain, blood in the urine, or pain during urination, it’s important to seek prompt medical evaluation and care. Kidney stones can lead to complications if left untreated, so early diagnosis and appropriate management are crucial.

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