Kidney Stones vs Kidney Infection: What Are The Major Differences?

Most of us rarely think about our kidneys.

Those two, small, bean-shaped organs don’t often come to mind until they start acting up. Once you do have a problem, however, they’re probably all you can think about.

Two of the most common problems you can have with your kidneys are kidney stones and kidney infections.

Healthy or sick, male or female, young or old – both of these conditions can strike anytime and bring pain and other uncomfortable symptoms to just about anyone.

So how do you tell the difference? Could one turn into the other?

Are they connected in any way? I want to answer all of these questions so you can have a better understanding of the similarities and differences in these two common kidney issues.




So What Are Kidney Stones and Kidney Infections?

Later on I will show you how many similarities kidney stone and kidney infections can have (mostly when it comes to symptoms), but stones and infections are actually quite different. Here’s a basic rundown:

Kidney Stone

A kidney stone is a collection of stone-forming substances that have crystalized in the kidneys. While these stones are normally caused from a build-up of calcium and oxalate, uric acid is another common substance.

Stones often form when you are dehydrated. When you do not have enough fluid flushing out all the stone-forming substances regularly, they are more likely to build up. Other causes include: diet, being overweight, digestive diseases, or family history.

Ways to prevent kidney stones include:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit your intake of animal protein, salt, sugar, and oxalate (but keep eating calcium-rich foods; they are important for you!)
  • Take Chanca Piedra if you are predisposed to kidney stones and want to prevent them from occurring again

Kidney Infection

A kidney infection is exactly what it sounds like: bacteria has infected your kidneys. Often the culprit is E. coli bacteria.

RELATED: How To Use Chanca Piedra To Dissolve Kidney Stones 

Most of the time a kidney infection is caused by a bladder infection that has spread upwards. Sometimes – though it is extremely rare – the infection can come through bacterial contact with the skin. If it gets to the blood, it could potentially end up in the kidneys.

Bonus: Download This Essential Home Remedies Guide  that will show you how to tackle your worst kidney stone symptoms quickly.

Ways to prevent kidney infections (and all UTI infections) include:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Go to the bathroom right after having sex
  • Avoid spermicide or spermicide-coated condoms
  • Take D-mannose or hibiscus extract for UTIs

Kidney Stone Symptoms

Many kidney stones have no symptoms at all. In fact, you may have passed a couple throughout your life without ever knowing. But the kidney stones that do have symptoms often feel extremely severe.

The #1 symptom of a kidney stone is pain. You may feel it in your:

  • Side
  • Back
  • Lower ribs
  • Grain
  • Lower abdomen

Other than pain, you may also have symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection. These include:

Kidney Infection Symptoms

Now here are some of the common symptoms of a kidney infection:

  • Pain in your side (flank), back, or groin
  • High fever (often over 101 F)
  • Chills
  • Shaking
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upper back pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Not wanting to eat

It’s important to realize that many times kidney infections come from a bladder infection (UTI); this means you are probably already experiencing these common UTI symptoms as well:

  • Pain when you urinate
  • A burning sensation when you urinate
  • Frequent urgency to urinate, but very little urine may come out
  • Bloody urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Foul-smelling urine

Know it is possible that some patients may not have any other symptoms than side pain (near your kidneys). So if you feel some side pain that is not going away, always visit your doctor.

How To Tell Which One You Have

As you can tell by looking through the symptoms of kidney stones and kidney infections – there are quite a few similarities. You could hypothetically have pain in similar areas. So how can you tell?

Here are a few ways to help you determine which you are suffering from:

  • If you started out with a bladder infection (UTI), and then start developing these symptoms, the infection has probably moved up to your kidneys. Most likely it’s a kidney infection that needs antibiotics right away.
  • If you start out with only pain near your kidney region and no other symptoms, you probably only have a kidney stone.

Still, never leave this to guessing. The treatments are entirely different, and one could be more serious than the other.

Treatments for Stones vs. Infections

If you have a kidney stone, it is normally treated at home. The doctor will just have you “watch and wait” to see if it eventually passes on its own. Often, you will get painkillers to help through this time. The herb Chanca Piedra is extremely helpful in helping the kidney stone pass as well.

If the stone is too big to pass on its own, you may need medical intervention to break it up or surgery to remove it entirely.

A kidney infection, on the other hand, needs medical attention right away. There is no “watch and wait” happening here. You will need to go in for antibiotics. Sometimes you will even need to stay in the hospital and have IV antibiotics.

When One Leads To Another…

Once in awhile it is possible for a kidney stone to lead to a kidney infection. This can happen when the stone blocks the urinary tract and bacteria begins to multiply. Normally this is the only time a kidney stone is considered very serious.

So if you know you have a kidney stone, but start developing other symptoms like fever, chills, or extremely severe pain – always head straight to your doctor to check for infection.

Kidney Stones Vs. Kidney Infections

Telling a kidney stone apart from a kidney infection may not be as easy as you hoped it would be. So the whole moral of the story is this…

…just go the doctor when you aren’t sure!

Medical professionals will not only be able to diagnoses the kidney condition definitively, but they can also help you with any additional medical treatment you may need.

Read Next: High-Purine Foods to Avoid To Skyrocket Your Health 

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/kidney-infections-symptoms-and-treatments#2-5
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-stones/symptoms-causes/dxc-20319562