Renal colic is intense pain caused in your lower back and side by kidney stones. Many people describe it as the worst pain they’ve ever felt in their life. It typically comes and goes quickly, but intensifies over time. Renal colic is caused when your urethra is blocked. The blockage usually is the result of a kidney stone, however, blood clots and even dead tissue can also cause blockages.
About 12 percent of men and 6 percent of women will experience renal colic in their lifetime. Incidences peak between 40 and 60 years of age for men, and in the 20s for women.
Anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of people who have experienced renal colic will experience another episode within five years. Those who are most at risk for kidney stones and renal colic include individuals with diabetes, a family history, obesity, gout, and exposure to a hot environment (dehydration).
Symptoms of Renal Colic
Renal colic comes with several obvious symptoms. First and foremost, you’ll experience extreme pain in your lower back and abdomen. You may also have pain while urinating, nausea and vomiting, the urge to urinate frequently or not urinating at all, and a fever. If you’re prone to kidney stones, you’ll want to pay attention to how you’re feeling overall, as well as the look and smell of your urine. All of these symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. If you experience any of these symptoms, get to the doctor immediately.
Diagnosing Renal Colic
Renal colic can be diagnosed through several methods. Once you present your symptoms to your physician, he or she will likely request blood or urine tests to look for infection, test for electrolytes, blood count, and more. An x-ray, CT (cat scan), or MRI will show what is causing the blockage. Prior to running an imaging test, you’ll likely be given contrast liquid so the stone or blockage shows up as clear as possible.
Treatment of renal colic can be accomplished through several methods. Medicines can help limit vomiting, decrease pain, and lessen muscle spasms. If your doctor determines the blockage to be severe, surgery may be required to remove it and get your kidneys back in working order.
Preventing renal colic is simple. If you’re prone to renal colic make sure you drink plenty of water and avoid activity in high temperatures. This will help ensure you don’t dehydrate. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and vitamins. The key to getting the right nutrients is to make sure you’ve got plenty of color in your diet.
If you suspect you might be suffering from renal colic you’ll want to get treated right away by a physician who understands this issue. Swift response is the best way to get instant relief and create a plan for future treatment and prevention.