Kidney stones will form when calcium, uric acid, or cystine builds up too much in the body. The most common type of kidney stone is made of calcium oxalate. Cystine stones are rare and affect people with a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak from the kidneys into the urine. A struvite stone is associated with urinary tract infections and women are more likely to get it. Fortunately, most kidney stones are as small as a grain of sand, and they pass in the urine without causing any symptoms. But if those stones get much larger (sometimes reaching the size of a pebble or a golf ball), they can’t pass through the urinary tract and cause pain and other symptoms.
If you think your parent may have a kidney stone, look for the following symptoms.
- Sharp pains are usually the most common symptom of having a kidney stone. If your parent has a strong sudden pain that he complains to you or his senior home care provider about, ask him where it’s located. Kidney stones can cause pain in the lower back, but they can also occur in the groin, depending on where the stone is located.
- If a kidney stone is lodged in the urinary tract, it might cause urination to be very painful for your parent. If your parent needs help using the bathroom, you or his senior home care provider may notice him wince in pain as he urinates or even cries out. This is because the kidney stone is blocking the flow of urine through the ureter or moving around against the sensitive lining of the kidney or other areas of the urinary tract.
- Blood in the urine. Your parent may notice some blood in his urine if he has a kidney stone. This does not always happen and depends upon where the kidney stone is located. If your parent or his senior home care provider notices this symptom, it could be caused by several things so it’s best to call your parent’s doctor.
- Foul-smelling urine. Cloudy urine that smells worse than usual can indicate a kidney stone. When a kidney stone lodges in the urinary tract, bacteria might build up behind it and cause a urinary tract infection. It is more likely to happen to women than men.
- The urge to urinate frequently. When the kidney stone moves into the lower urinary tract, the urge to urinate may increase without the ability to fully empty the bladder.
- For some people, the presence of a kidney stone may cause them to feel nauseous or vomit. Nausea can be a reaction to the pain and can lead to dehydration if your parent starts to vomit.
- Sweating without exertion. People with kidney stones can sweat profusely even if they aren’t exerting themselves. This symptom is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting and may occur due to the general discomfort the body is experiencing.
Your parent may need a doctor visit to help him get rid of the kidney stone or perhaps have some medication to help him pass it with less pain.