Kidney Stones Symptoms for Women

Kidney stones or nephrolithiasis is considered one of the most common diseases affecting American women and statistics denote that renal stones in women burden tax payers with an estimated amount of 2 billion dollars per year. Early detection of these stones can markedly lessen or even reverse the complications that can affect the kidneys of affected individuals.

Generally speaking, kidney stones occur more frequently in men as compared to women. However, kidney stones which develop in response to infectious agents affecting the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract are more common in women.

Detection of kidney stones in women can sometimes be rather problematic. The reason for this is that a large proportion of women experience abdominal pain related to their menstruation which, in many cases, can mask the pain or “colic” caused by the occurrence of kidney stones.

The most common manifestation of kidney stones is loin pain which is known as renal colic. The pain usually occurs in paroxysms starting in the loin and sometimes radiates to the front of the abdomen. Renal colic is considered one of the severest forms of pain an individual can experience in his/her whole life. Other symptoms of kidney stones include blood in urine, nausea, vomiting and complete obstruction of the flow of urine (retention of urine). However, these symptoms can also be caused by a considerable number of medical disorders; thus, whenever you complain of any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor to rule out the presence of kidney stones.

Stones usually form in the kidneys but can travel down the urinary tract and can sometimes be expelled out of the body with the passage of urine. Passing a stone is usually accompanied by burning pain and blood in urine. It is always advised not to throw stones passed in urine as laboratory examination of them can help in diagnosis and treatment.

So, how can your physician detect the presence of kidney stones? It is almost impossible for your doctor to detect the presence of kidney stones by clinical examination alone. When suspicious, your physician might order urine analysis, X-ray and/or ultrasonographic examination. Renal stones are usually caused by increased concentrations of salt crystals that are normally excreted in urine. The increased concentration of these crystals can be easily detected during routine urine examination. Some kidney stones can be detected by means of simple X-ray films. However, an abdominal X-ray of a woman with kidney stones often appears normal. Ultrasonography is an important tool in the detection of renal stones in women. Moreover, an ultrasound abdominal examination can predict the effects of stones on the function of the kidney.  X-ray films of the kidneys after intravenous dye injection (IVP) is very useful in detection of most of the stones originating in the kidneys.

Urinary stones usually develop in women between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. If a woman has more than one stone, she is more likely to complain in her second or third decade of her life. If you suspect having kidney stones, it is recommended to contact your physician as soon as possible to early detect and initiate management; thus, minimizing any affection of the functions of your kidneys.