Kidney stone symptoms: These are typical signs
Kidney stone symptoms: from mild to severe
It can become painful when kidney stones from the kidneys reach the ureter and slowly migrate from there. These stones, then called ureteral stones, can cause different degrees of discomfort depending on their size:
Kidney gravel and very small stones flow off with the urine – the affected person feels at most a small, stabbing pain when urinating. Larger kidney stones are more problematic: Symptoms such as severe, colicky pain, which increases within 15 to 30 minutes almost to the point of intolerability and, depending on the location of the stone, can radiate into other parts of the body, accompany the acute stone discharge. Doctors speak of a renal colic (ureteral colic). It is one of the most intensively felt types of pain in humans and is based on irritation and overstretching of the ureter by the kidney stone.
Symptoms that could indicate renal colic are:
- Sudden, sharp, stabbing, cramp-like, undulating pain, which, depending on the location of the kidney stone, may radiate into the back, the lateral lower abdomen, the groin or the genital region (labia, testicles)
- Nausea, nausea and vomiting
- Defecation and flatulence can no longer go away (reflexive intestinal obstruction)
- Frequent urination of small amounts of urine (pollakiuria) and an unsuppressible urge to urinate
- Often blood in the urine due to injuries to the mucous membrane in the urinary tract caused by the stones that come out; the blood is either visible to the naked eye (macrohaematuria) or only under the microscope (microhaematuria)
- Motor restlessness
- Sweating, tendency to collapse
- Fever, chills and pain when urinating with additional urinary tract infection
As soon as the descending kidney stone reaches the bladder, the renal colic disappears spontaneously. How quickly this happens depends on the size of the stone. With smaller kidney stones, renal colic sometimes lasts only minutes. Renal colics, which are caused by kidney stones about half a centimeter in size, usually end after a few hours. In severe cases, when a kidney stone has become lodged in the ureter, it can take several days for the stone to disappear.
Kidney stones: complications
If a kidney stone (ureteral stone) completely occludes the ureter, the urine produced in the kidney in question can no longer drain away. Doctors call this a urinary retention. The urine collects in the kidney and with it the toxins filtered from the blood. Over time, these damage the kidney tissue.
In addition, the urinary stasis makes it easier for bacteria to enter and settle in the urinary tract – a urinary tract infection occurs. The combination of urinary retention and infection favours the passage of bacteria from the urinary tract into the bloodstream. The result is urosepsis, i.e. blood poisoning caused by bacteria that have entered the bloodstream from the urogenital tract (urinary and sexual tract).
Chronic kidney stones: symptoms
Larger kidney stones have difficulty getting into the ureter. They can remain in the renal pelvis and grow into a sink stone, i.e. a kidney stone that fills the entire renal pelvis. The symptoms are often not very pronounced; often there is a dull pressure in the kidney area. In addition, such kidney stones can cause symptoms of urinary retention and chronic inflammation of the renal pelvis with loss of renal tissue (shrinking kidneys).