Ureteric colic

Most common in adults around the age of 35-45 years, ureteric colic occurs when a ureteric stone obstructs the urinary tract, causing it to stretch and widen. Ureteric stones are hard crystals that form when minerals, such as calcium and uric acid, become stuck together in your urine. These stones can be really small and can sometimes be passed without the patient knowing, but when they grow big enough, they can be extremely painful.


Patients may experience severe lower abdominal pain that radiates down towards the genital area. In men, the pain can sometimes be felt towards the testicles and, in women, the pain can be felt towards the labia. The pain is described to come in intense waves and can be accompanied by vomiting.

Other symptoms associated with ureteric colic are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal distension
  • Fever and chills
  • Haematuria
  • Abnormal urine colour
  • Urinary tract infection

Some people may have a higher risk of forming stones if there is a family history, or they suffer from Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal problems and from the use of certain medications.

Diagnosing and treating ureteric colic

To diagnose ureteric colic, a urinalysis or urine culture is carried out to check for any infections of blood in the urine. A basic metabolic blood test will also be conducted to check your kidney function. Imaging such as a CT scan may also be offered for suspected ureteric colic. Treatment options will differ depending on severity and the underlying cause. Antibiotics may be administered to help with any urine infection.

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