Renal colic

Renal colic is a type of pain that is caused by a urinary stone blocking the urinary tract. Stones can build up anywhere in the urinary tract, including in the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. They form when minerals, such as calcium, become stuck together and create hard crystals.

The size of the stone differs for every patient. Some will be the size of a grain of sand, whereas others can be as big as a golf ball. As they enlarge they can become more painful and problematic.

Common symptoms include:

  • Intense pain between your hips and ribs or in the lower abdomen
  • Pain that spreads to the lower back
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Pain when you urinate
  • Blood in your urine
  • Fever or chills (this can occur if there is an infection)
  • Visible grit in your urine

Renal colic pain will usually come and go in waves, affecting everyone in different ways. It is estimated that around 8-15% of men and women will develop urinary stones within their lifetime, which can lead to renal colic.

Some of the factors that can increase your risk of developing renal colic include:

If you believe that you have renal colic or urinary stones, it is a good idea to go and see your GP. They will likely need a urine sample to test for mineral levels in the urine and also blood. You may also need to have a CT scan as this can help to find the blockage in the urinary tract that is causing the colic pain.

If a large stone is found, you may need to have it removed, which will relieve the renal colic pain. The most common procedures include:

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