You wake up in the middle of the night feverish, your lower back hurts, and your abdomen is painfully swollen and tender. What’s worse; when you get up to use the bathroom, it’s so painful to urinate that you think you might die.
You, my friend, are likely one in 10-percent of North Americans with a kidney stone.
This excruciating condition occurs when a small speck of calcium (from your urine) forms in the kidney or the ureter (the passageway from your kidney to your bladder) and more minerals stick to it to form a tiny stone that many patients describe as so terrible its “more agonizing than giving birth”.
If you have a kidney stone, you’ll likely know it soon enough. However, there are several early warning signs that can alert you to the formation of a stone early on…
1. Frequent & Painful Urination
One of the earliest and most common warning signs that you may have kidney stones is a sudden and unexplained increase in the frequency and urgency of urination. You will notice an intense need to urinate, even when you haven’t been drinking unusually large quantities of fluid. However, you may find that very little urine comes out when you do get to the bathroom, given that your body doesn’t actually have much liquid to expel.
When you do produce a normal volume of urine, you may find that the act of urinating causes intense pain. This happens if the kidney stone is moving from the bladder into the urethra. Sharp, searing pain will occur, and you may also develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) as the kidney stone migrates further. By the time things reach this point, chances are you’ll already have gone to see your doctor; if you haven’t, book an appointment.