Annually, over half a million people go to the hospital for problems with kidney stones, and the National Kidney Foundation estimates that one in ten people will get a kidney stone in their lifetime.
Kidney stones are known for being severely painful and interfering with urination, but the symptoms can vary more widely and may not be directly related to urination. In addition to abdominal pain and urinary difficulty, kidney stones can cause flu-like symptoms as well.
Patients in need of treatment for kidney stones in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Greater South Florida areas are in luck. Drs. Craig Herman, Steven Kester, and the staff at Urology Center of Florida have 25 years of experience helping people deal with kidney stones and many other urological conditions.
What are kidney stones?
Also referred to as renal calculi, nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis, kidney stones are solid masses of minerals and other substances in the body found in your urine. They range in size from a grain of sand to the size of a bean, and they can make urinating painful or can create blockages in your urinary tract. This results in things like blood in your urine, lower body pain, and smelly or cloudy urine.
If you’re dealing with dehydration, family or personal history of kidney stones, digestive diseases, medical conditions like renal tubular acidosis, or obesity you are at higher risk for getting kidney stones. Dietary supplements, excessive amounts of laxatives, vitamin C, and certain migraine or depression medications also increase your chances.
How do they affect the body?
Kidney stones can affect any part of your urinary tract from your kidneys to your bladder and form when your urine creates more minerals and other substances than your urine can dilute. This can result in different types of kidney stones including calcium (which are most common), uric acid, struvite, and cystine stones.
Symptoms don’t show until the stones start to move around in your kidneys or pass through your ureter, which connects your kidneys and bladder. The stones can then become lodged in your ureters, which can lead to blocking urine flow and swelling in the kidneys. This leads to directly lower abdominal pain, bloody urine and other symptoms.
How do you get flu-like symptoms?
Among the symptoms you can get from kidney stones not related to urination are nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. A bad enough case can cause nausea and vomiting, while an infection in the kidney or bladder can cause fever and chills.
Many of these symptoms are also closely associated with bad cases of the flu, which can create confusion over what condition you have. When you have these symptoms in addition to abdominal pain and urinary problems, they may be the sign of an infection, so you should seek treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor can treats the infection in addition to helping you pass the stone.
A blood or urine test can determine if you’re dealing with kidney stones. Treatments are available, including anti inflammatory drugs, allopurinol to reduce uric acid levels, shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) to break up larger stones, ureteroscope (a lighted tube camera inserted in your ureter), or surgery.
Kidney stones can be painful, but many treatment options are available. If you’re dealing with kidney stones and need treatment, make an appointment with Drs. Herman, Kester and Urology Center of Florida today.