It is estimated that one in ten people will develop kidney stones during their lifetime. As common as they are, they can cause severe pain and discomfort. The earlier they are detected, the sooner they can be treated. So, how do you know if you have them?
Here are some of the key signs that you may have kidney stones to watch out for.
Pain in Your Back, Stomach or Side
The most common sign you have kidney stones is pain. This is often felt in the back, stomach or side. Some people have compared it to the pain of childbirth and that isn’t an exaggeration! It is known to be one of the worst types of pain you can experience, which is why approximately one million people with kidney stones visit the emergency room each year.
You’ll find the pain tends to start suddenly and it will move along the body as the stone moves. The pain largely comes in waves too so if you notice this symptom, it’s a strong sign you have a kidney stone.
Increased Urination with or without Pain
You may find you need to urinate more frequently than usual. This can be accompanied by a burning or painful sensation. Kidney stones often cause pain when they reach the junction between the bladder and ureter.
This symptom can often be mistaken for a urinary tract infection. Therefore, it is a good idea to watch out for other symptoms of kidney stones to confirm a diagnosis.
Smelly or Cloudy Urine
When you are healthy, your urine should be clear and odorless. However, when you have a kidney stone, you could find your urine turns a cloudy color and has a strong smell.
It isn’t actually the kidney stones which cause the change in smell and color. Instead, it points to a urinary tract infection. A study has shown that approximately 8% of those diagnosed with acute kidney stones have a urinary tract infection too.
You Don’t Fully Empty the Bladder during Urination
While you may need to urinate more frequently, you’ll find it difficult to fully empty the bladder when you go. This is usually caused by larger kidney stones which form a blockage of the urinary tract. If it stops the flow of urine completely, this is classed as a medical emergency and should be seen to as soon as possible.
You Feel Nauseous
Another symptom you may experience is the feeling of nausea. The kidneys and the GI tract share the same nerve connections. So, if the kidney stones impact the nerves of the GI tract, it can cause both nausea and vomiting. It is also possible the pain of the stones could cause you to feel nauseous.
These are the main signs associated with kidney stones. If you think you might have them, it is important to seek a proper diagnosis. This will help you to determine whether treatment is required, alongside revealing which type of kidney stone you are suffering with.