Kidney Stones: Causes & Symptoms
Oftentimes, there is a strong family history of passing kidney stones. They may form in people who are dehydrated – either not taking in enough fluids or losing too much fluid (from sweating, or perhaps from frequent loose stools). Medical conditions such as obesity, hyperparathyroidism or gout can lead to kidney stones. High protein diets, also diets rich in salt (sodium) and oxalate (spinach, chocolate, peanuts, rhubarb) may contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
A kidney stone may remain in the kidney for years and never cause any obstruction to the flow of urine down the ureter (the tube leading from the kidney to the bladder). When the stone does pass into the ureter, it is likely to cause severe flank pain that may also be felt in the lower abdomen on the same side. This pain can be very intense and may also cause nausea and vomiting. People who have passed stones before can usually recognize “ureteral colic” (the pain of a stone passing down the ureter).
Other symptoms may include the observation of blood in the urine (visible to you, possibly only on microscopic analysis of the urine), urinary urgency or frequency, and less commonly, painful urination.
Fever may be a sign that urine is not easily getting past the stone and may be infected. Fever is fortunately uncommon; but when it occurs, it is an important sign that may require medical intervention.