Kidney Stones: Is There Something Wrong With My Kidneys?
When crystal-like structures form in the kidney are referred to as kidney stones. Kidney stones are mostly known to occur in people aged from the age of 30-60 years. Most of these people are men. According to research, around 15% of people in the world suffer kidney stones at one point in their lifetime.
Kidney stones form when materials such as urate and other acidic salts solidify and get stuck in the kidney or along the urinary tract. These stones are of different sizes and shapes. They also appear to be brown or yellow in color. Depending on their sizes once they get stuck in the system they cause a lot of pain more especially around the lower part of the back and abdomen.
What are Kidneys?
Kidneys are organs located in the abdomen. They are bean-shaped. They are around 10cm long. The main function of the kidneys is to clean waste materials from the blood. These materials are dissolved into the urine for excretion.
To understand the relationship between your kidneys and kidney stones it is important to understand some of the tissues involved or affected in kidney stones. The urinary tract is a system in the body meant for transport of urine from the kidneys up to the urethra for excretion.
The urinary tract is made up of the ureter, bladder and the urethra. The urethra is a tube connecting the bladder and the kidneys. It receives waste from the kidney and passes to the bladder.
The bladder is a bag-like structure is functions as a storage point for urine and other waste materials before they are passed out.
The urethra is a tube from the bladder and through the penis or the vagina. The urethra carries urine from the bladder when a person is urinating.
All these members of the urinary tract are affected in case you have kidney stones.
Relationship Between Kidney Stones and Kidney Problems
Most of the people having kidney stones get worried that their kidneys have stopped working. Others think it is a result of kidney failure that they are having kidney stones. Patient get worried that once they get kidney stones they have to undergo kidney transplant which is a dangerous and serious operation to many people.
NO. Having kidney stones does not mean that you have kidney problems. However, such fear is brought by the type of pain that kidney stones patient experience in their kidneys.
When you experience kidney stones, your kidneys function normally. Kidney stones form when minerals filtered by the kidney from the blood are not dissolved into the urine but rather accumulate and solidify in the urinary system. Yes, your kidneys are functioning properly. When these crystals start forming, some of them accumulate in the kidney. If they are not passed out with urine, as these stones become larger they cause a lot of pain in the kidneys. When many patients experience this they get worried that they may have a problem in their kidneys.
Treatments for kidney stones may also create fear to patients to make them think that they have kidney stones. When kidney stones are very big and get stuck in the kidney, the doctor might be forced to do a kidney surgery to remove the stones. This also makes any people to believe that they have kidney stones.
Symptoms of Kidney stones
If you have very small kidney stones, the symptoms are likely to be minimal. At this stage the kidney stones cannot be detected since they can pass out with urine undetected. Some of the symptoms you are likely to experience occur when the small kidney stones are:
- If you get an infection and mostly urinary tract bacterial infection
- A stuck on your kidney which might bring other complications
- The stones start to flow down the ureter and the ureter is very narrow to let the stones pass. This is likely to cause pain as you force your urine out.
With the above discussed cases the symptoms for your kidney stones can be:
- Nausea or a feeling of sickness
- Persistence pain on the lower part of your back. This pain can sometimes be felt in the groin. Pain may also be felt in the scrotum and testicles for men.
- A feeling of restlessness which can make one unable to lie down
- Frequent urination which is abnormal
- Dysuria: This is a condition characterized by pain during urination
- A period where one may experience a lot of pain in the side or back of your abdomen. This pain can also be felt in the groin and lasts for minutes or hours
- Hematuria:This is a condition which is characterized by blood in the urine. This happens when the stones scratch the ureter or the kidney.
Complications Caused by Kidney Stones
Complications as a result of kidney stones can be minimal or uncommon. If they are present, they can cause severe pain. At times, big kidney stones can block your urine passage causing urine retention. This can cause damage to the kidney and lead to other infections as well. Doctors use Scans and X-rays to detect the stones which cause blockage of the urinal system.
Kidney Infection and blocked Ureter
A kidney stone that happen to block the ureter can lead to kidney and bladder infections. This is as a result of waste accumulation due to blockage of the ureter. Bacteria may build-up as a result.
The symptoms of kidney infections as are almost similar to those of kidney stones. They include:
- Shivers and chills
- Cloudy urine with bad smell
- Fever elevating temperature to 30 c and over
- Tiredness and a feeling of body weakness
The Bottom Line
It is important to know that when you have kidney stones there is nothing wrong with your kidneys. Apart from kidney stones you may have other kidney infections with symptoms resembling those of kidney stones. It is therefore important to know the condition disturbing your kidneys. It is also important to treat kidney stones and other complications as early as possible since long periods of kidney problems may damage your kidneys or cause kidney failure.