how to tell if you have kidney stones?

I’ve had about 14 stones maybe (lost count I’ve had so many) and think I might have another one. My urine has been iced tea color dark and just recently more clear but still a little dark. I had a little pain on the right side of my back but nothing excrutiating like I’m used to dealing with kidney stone pain. I want to avoid paying a doctor just to tell me my urine is dark from not drinking enough fluids (I was pretty dehyrdated during the iced tea colored urine phase) or some other simple illness that I could have fixed on my own. Does anyone know a sure fire way of knowing you have a stone without waiting for the agonizing pain to kick in or checking your urine for blood with the naked eye (it’s easy to mistake blood in your urine when it just you haven’t been hydrating yourself enough)? I really want to avoid wasting my time and money if it’s just a small problem I can deal with myself

  1. dougie, 20 May, 2010

    Hey ronsecker
    I hear you: been there (still are !)
    It sounds as though you are already fairly suspect of when you you have a stone and quite likely have many already formed in your kidney/kidneys just waiting to drop down into you ureter. I would interpret your dark urine as a presumption that you have a stone in your ureter (pain or no pain).

    Statistically, you are having calcium oxalate stones vs. uric acid stones(10:1 incidence) and the advice to avoid acidic urine is founded : Avoiding dairy productsandmost antacids (calcium carbonate) may be helpfull (won’t hurt) but recent studies speak against this: Avoiding alcohol, coffee,soda, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and tea will help you avoid dehydrated states and much of the acidity in a diet………..Water, water and more water,particularily during summer heat.
    My pain(back) is rather atypical and often can’t convince anyone that it is not muscle spasm. The "ureteral colic " can manifest itself in groin, abdominal, testicular, urge to void, or back pain and quite frankly, I have come to the conclusion that the "cure" (lithotrypsy)is worse than passing a stone.
    I have had the greatest success ( around 15 stones) of flushing with neutral liquids and then "bouncing" down multiple flights of stairs. My symptoms have never lasted more than a day.
    Periodically, whenever having a chest x-ray or other radiology procedures, my Nurse Practioner is more than happy to "shoot" a bit low to include the upper pole of the kidneysjust to see if there are any accumulations and what I may expect in the future.
    Of course there is always the possibility that one will get "hung up" and not pass. This can certainly cause"hydronephrosis" ( dilitation of the kidney pelvis) and eventual/possible damage. Male urinary tract infections are rare but you should get attention if you suspect one ) urinary urgency or frequency).
    You must keep in mind that not all stones will cause "gross hematuria" or red or coke colored urine.Most stones will produce "microhematuria" (detectable on dip stick or microscopic exam) most of the time and you won’t be able to see it: The pain may be what you have to interpret.
    I find warm tubs comforting and there can be a useful relaxation of smooth muscle that exists at the end of the ureter (spincter). You certainly want to avoid medications that have a contractile affect upon smooth muscle. (ask your pharmacist).
    I hope this helps understand or give you some of the information you ask.

  2. Ruthinia, 20 May, 2010

    I’ve never had that but from having 14 stones yourself, you should be an expert by now. You have my sympathy.

  3. Jeff B, 20 May, 2010

    You’ve had 14 stones already? For God’s sake go to the doctor!

    I’ve had one in my life. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. If you can tolerate the pain, by all means don’t go to the doctor, but I hope you pass it.

    If you don’t pass the stone in a timely manner, it can permanantly damage your kidney. You don’t want that to happen.

  4. karlbritt, 20 May, 2010

    If you have had 14 stones before, this is probably another one. I’ve had many, but I don’t know of a sure fire way to tell other than a visit to the Doc. With your history of stones, I would just start drinking all the water I could now to try and flush it out of the system. Also, once I got a chair massage and passed a kidney stone right after that.

  5. Susan Yarrawonga, 20 May, 2010

    Besides passing blood in your urine one of the other common symptoms is a sharp stinging pain in your lower back. If you drink 2, 3 or even 4 glasses of water when you get this lower back pain and the pain goes within one hour or less then most likely it is kidney stones.

    As you have a history of kidney stones you had better do some research as kidney stones tend to recur. The Yahoo search that I would suggest is one for "kidney stones" + symptoms + causes + treatment (OR cures OR remedies).

    An alkaline diet might help as most kidney stones are caused by too much acidity.

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