Some kidney stones are as small as a grain of sand. Others are as large as a pebble. And a few are as large as a golf ball! As a general rule, the larger the stone, the more symptoms the person will have.
The symptoms could be one or more of the following:
- severe pain on either side of your lower back
- more vague pain or stomachache that doesn't go away
- blood in the urine
- nausea or vomiting
- fever and chills
- urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
The kidney stone starts to hurt when it causes irritation or blockage. This builds rapidly to extreme pain. In most cases, kidney stones pass without causing damage-but usually not without causing a lot of pain. Pain relievers may be the only treatment needed for small stones. Others will need treatment, especially those stones that cause lasting symptoms or other complications. In severe cases, however, surgery may be required.
If you think you have a stone, see a doctor as soon as possible. You may be asked to drink extra fluid in an attempt to flush the stone to come out in the urine. You can help if you strain out a piece of the stone in your urine and bring it to your doctor. Or, the stone will be removed with treatment.
Dogs, Cats, and Kidney Stones
Humans aren't the only ones affected by kidney and bladder stones. Dogs, cats, and other animals can also have kidney stones. The causes of kidney stones in animals are similar to the causes of stones in people.
You should take your pet to a veterinarian if you see blood or crystals in the urine or signs of painful urination. Pets with stones often try to urinate frequently, but excrete only a tiny amount of urine most of the time. They will squat and strain but either nothing comes out or the urine has a red or reddish-brown color. When they do urinate, the quantity of urine is small. In between urination these pets are restless. Owners may think the pet is constipated.
Any animal can be affected, but certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to stones: Dalmatians, Yorkshire Terriers, miniature schnauzers and poodles, and cocker spaniels, to name just a few. Ask your veterinarian. Pets with frequent urinary tract infections may also have a greater risk of stones.
Studying animal stone disease may help doctors better understand and ultimately treat kidney and bladder stones in humans.