Small kidney stones often go unnoticed with the urine. Larger kidney stones can, however, pinch at narrow passages and close them. This leads to unbearable, convulsive pain. No one who has ever suffered from renal colic wants to repeat this experience. In summertime, the number of kidney stones increases dramatically due to heat, increased sweating, and inadequate drinking. Stones in kidney and urinary tract are among the most common urological diseases. They are caused by the fact that salts normally dissolved in the urine precipitate, deposit themselves as fine crystals and clump together into larger structures.
Origin and causes of kidney stones
These "concrements" occur mainly in the renal pelvis and the draining urinary tract, more rarely in the kidney itself. In 80 percent of cases, they consist of calcium salts, ie calcium compounds, which are clearly visible in normal x-rays. Rare ingredients are uric acid, cystine and xanthine.
Which substances and how the stone is made up depends on several factors, for example the acidity of the urine. Urinary stones may be single or multiple, very small (urine) or large enough to fill the entire renal pelvis, for example.
Kidney stones: who is affected?
About four percent of the population in Germany has kidney stones.
Men are affected more often, the tendency can be inherited. The emergence is favored by a disturbed urinary outflow, inflammation of kidney and urinary tract and certain metabolic disorders (for example, an overfunction of the parathyroid gland or gout).
Even rapid weight loss, high purine or oxalate medications and foods such as offal, spinach and mushrooms can increase the risk of kidney stones in people at risk, especially if they are not drinking or sweating enough at the same time.
Symptoms of kidney stones often go unnoticed
Not everyone with which urinary stones form, feels them too. Especially at the beginning they are usually so small that they are flushed out while urinating and thus go unnoticed. Not infrequently, they are accidentally detected during an ultrasound examination. Some sufferers of chronic stone suffering (nephrolithiasis) complain of recurrent dull or pulling pains in the flank area.
Acute symptoms usually occur when a stone gets jammed in the ureter. The spasmodic pain in the kidney camp is caused by the gait attempt to advance the kidney stone by alternately contracting and relaxing. These strong "renal colic" in the flank can radiate across the side into the lower abdomen and the pubic region and are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Increased urination and urinary symptoms may also occur.
These kidney pains are seen as labor-like and extremely strong, the affected are often restless and move constantly. If a kidney stone completely shuts down the gait, it can lead to the backflow of urine into the kidney and to inflammation and infection, as well as life-threatening blood poisoning. Then the pain caused by kidney stones is accompanied by fever and chills.