How to Relieve Major Kidney Stone Symptoms
If you have ever had a kidney stone before, you probably know exactly what that pain feels like. But for those who have never experienced passing a stone, the initial symptoms can be easily confused with other conditions (like a urinary tract infection, gallstones, or appendicitis).
What are the symptoms of kidney stones? And how do we relieve major kidney stone symptoms? (more on the relief part in a bit. Let’s tackle the symptoms part first.)
What can you expect to feel as the stone moves through your body? Are there any symptoms that signal you need a doctor?
I want to go through all the signs and symptoms you can expect with kidney stones, so you can begin to pinpoint what condition is causing your pain.
But before we begin, it is important to realize that you may absolutely have a kidney stone – and even pass a kidney stone – without ever realizing it happened. Those lucky patients get to bypass some of these more severe symptoms.
The #1 Kidney Stone Symptom: Pain
Kidney stones are painful. That’s your #1 symptom – feeling pain. But the level of that pain and even the exact region of that pain all depend upon the size and location of your kidney stone. Since these stones move through the urinary tract, each step along the way can be different.
The pain may last the entire time until the kidney stone is finally removed from the body, or the pain may come and go. In others, the pain is always there, but the intensity varies. All of this to say: you will feel pain, but there is not just one way the pain presents itself.
However, there are a few common ways you may feel pain with a kidney stone:
- In the side below the ribs
- In the back below the ribs
- In the lower abdomen
- In the grown
- When urinating
If you find the pain to shift place and intensity, that is a big sign that you are experiencing a kidney stone instead of – say – a urinary tract infection (UTI) or appendicitis.
Most of the time the pain is considered to be high, even excruciating. If it gets to be more than you can bear, call your doctor.
An interesting thing that sets kidney stones apart from other pain you may be experience in similar areas is actually the time of day you feel it most intensely.
The pain you experience from a kidney stone often starts (or is at its worst) late at night or early in the morning. “Why?” you must be wondering. Because you urinate less frequently. This means your ureter is “constricted.” A constricted ureter is a tighter space for the kidney stone to pass through.
Of course this is not a hard and fast rule. You can experience pain at any point. But it can be a good indicator to help you figure out if the symptoms you are experiencing are directly connected to kidney stones.
Other Kidney Stone Symptoms
Just like the pain of a kidney stone can differ, so can the other symptoms. It also depends on the size and where the stone has moved to in your body. Some of the other symptoms you may have during the process are:
- Blood in the urine (often this means it looks pink, red, or brown)
- Cloudy urine
- Foul-smelling/different-smelling urine
- Urination frequency
- Small amounts of urine
As you may have noticed, many of these symptoms are incredibly similar to a UTI. If you simply are not sure which you are suffering from, go ahead and see your doctor.
When To Call Your Doctor
Even if you are positive you have a kidney stone, you may not need to see your doctor. It may pass on its own without medical attention. However, if your symptoms get significantly worse, you should make it a priority to get checked out. You may have an infection or complications.
Here are some of the symptoms that warrant an immediate call to your doctor:
- Severe pain – so bad you cannot sit still
- Fever and chills
- Difficulty passing urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Signs similar to a urinary tract infection (like burning when you urinate)
If you are not sure whether your pain or other symptoms are severe enough to warrant a visit with your doctor, always err on the side of caution. You may need antibiotics, prescription pain medications, or medical help for passing the stone.
Symptoms In Children
There has been a recent rise in kidney stones among children and teens. Their symptoms will be quite similar to the symptoms in adults. Normally they will have pain with urination (they may even see the blood in the toilet). Of course, they will often have that hallmark symptom: pain in the back or belly.
If the kidney stone is small enough, there are some children who do not even realize they have one or are passing one. If you think your little one may be exhibiting these signs of a kidney stone, set up an appointment with their pediatrician.
Do You Have A Kidney Stone?
So back to the relief part I was talking about in the beginning of the article. (if you were paying attention!) One of the best ways to wrap up our talk on kidney stone symptoms is this 3-minute video on kidney stone formation, symptoms, and treatment:
If you have gone through this list of symptoms and feel confident you have a kidney stone, you have two main courses of action: try to treat it at home or head to a doctor.
Home remedies are simple. Basically you can drink plenty of fluids to help flush it out. Then you can take over-the-counter pain medications to help deal with the pain.
Another fabulous option is Chanca Piedra, a magical herb literally translated to “stone breaker.”
If this helps and you start feeling better, you may be able pass it on your own (often within 48 hours).
Sometimes, even without the troubling symptoms we talked about earlier, you may need to head to the doctor to deal with your kidney stone. There are times it simply cannot pass without medical intervention. Even a stone of 5mm only has a 20% chance of passing at home without a doctor’s help.