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3 Early Indications of Kidney Stones

3 Early Indications of Kidney Stones

Thanks to overprocessed foods, an abundance of glucose and sodium in our diets, and a rise in health conditions like diabetes and obesity, kidney stones are on the rise, both here in the United States and around the world.

As it stands now, 11% of men and 6% of women in th US get kidney stones at least once during their lifetimes.

Here at our men’s health practice, board-certified urologist Dr. Robert J. Cornell routinely helps patients find relief from painful kidney stones. If you haven’t had kidney stones before, we assure you that it’s one condition you don’t want to drag out, which means that recognizing the early signs is important.

So, with that in mind, we want to outline a few red flags that are common among men who develop kidney stones.

A brief review of kidney stones

We’re going to assume that you’re new to the world of kidney stones, so we want to quickly review what this common health issue entails.

The primary function of your kidneys is to filter waste from your blood, which they convert into urine. If this urine contains high levels of minerals and salts, kidney stones can form — 80% of kidney stones are calcium stones, while uric acid stones, struvite stones, and cystine stones make up the small balance.

If these stones are small and don’t move around much, you may not feel anything and might not even be aware they exist. If, however, your kidney stones grow large enough, numerous enough, or they start to move around and down into your ureters, they can make themselves known in a variety of ways.

Common signs of kidney stones

Now let’s get into the heart of this discussion — the red flags that you may have kidney stones.

Some of the more common include:

1. Pain

This is often one of the first symptoms of kidney stones, and it’s one that’s hard to ignore. If your stone is creating a blockage, you can feel pain in your lower back, abdomen, and side. The pain can come and go in waves and worsen over time. The discomfort can also flare when you urinate.

2. Urination issues

As you might imagine, the presence of a kidney stone in your urinary tract can affect your urination. You might notice blood in your urine or it might be more difficult to urinate. You might have to urinate more frequently or at least feel the need to urinate more often.

As long as we’re on the subject of urine, another common side effect of kidney stones is pink or red urine (from blood) or cloudy urine that has an unpleasant odor.

3. Nausea, vomiting, and fever

If your kidney stones lead to an infection or blockage, you can experience nausea and vomiting, as well as fever and chills. 

Your next steps 

If any of the symptoms above sound familiar, you should come see us as soon as possible. First, we want to figure out whether your discomfort is due to kidney stones or another issue, such as a urinary tract infection.

If we confirm kidney stones, we assess their size and location to figure out the next steps, which might include:

In most cases, we try to encourage the stone to pass on its own, but if it’s too big or there’s a blockage or infection, we opt for more proactive measures.

To figure out if you’re dealing with kidney stones and how you should proceed, it’s a good idea to come in for a complete evaluation. To get started, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to schedule an appointment.

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