What Do Kidney Stones Feel Like

What do kidney stones feel like? As long as the stones are attached to the inner kidney walls, there are usually no symptoms. Once the stones drop from the walls and start to make their way through your system, however, the process can become painful. Passing a large kidney stone can feel like a freight train ripping through your lower body.

What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are hard formations of minerals and acids. When mineral and acid levels in your urine become unbalanced, for whatever reason, the substances can cluster together. These clusters form on the inner kidney walls and solidify. Kidney stones can usually be passed naturally from the body without medical intervention. However, sometimes medication, therapy or surgery may be required.

What Shapes Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones come in three basic shapes:

  • Jagged kidney stones look like irregular balls with jagged spikes sticking out all over.
  • Staghorn kidney stones look like long cylinders with short to long arms growing off it.
  • Smooth kidney stones look like rounded rocks.

Jagged and staghorn kidney stones are usually more painful to pass than round kidney stones. However, kidney stones can range in size, anywhere from smaller than a grain of sand to as big as a golf ball. So the larger the stone, the more painful it will be, regardless of the exact shape.

What Causes Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones can be caused by many different reasons. Calcium stones are caused by an excess of calcium in the urine. Uric acid stones are caused by an excess of uric acid in the urine. Struvite stones can result from a urinary tract infection. Cystine stones result from a congenital disease that creates excess cystine amounts in the urine.

What Symptoms are Associated with Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones usually have no symptoms as long as the stone remains in the kidney. Very tiny stones can often be passed without symptoms. Occasionally, the stones can cause blood in your urine, even when they're still attached to the inner kidney wall.

Kidney stones can also cause cloudy or stinking urine. They can make urination painful or make you feel like you constantly need to urinate. Stones that have passed from the kidney cause pain in the back, sides, abdomen and groin. The pain may come and go, but is usually acute. 

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