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Home » Renal Colic

Renal Colic Relief: How to Manage the Pain and Prevent Future Occurrences

Overview

Overview

Symptoms

Symptoms

Causes

Causes

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

Treatment

Treatment

Self-care

Self Care

What is Renal Colic?

Renal colic is a type of pain that is caused by the presence of a kidney stone in the urinary tract. This pain is usually severe and can come in waves, making it difficult to manage. The medical name for renal colic is ureteral colic. The occurrence of kidney stones in the US rose from 3.8% in the late 1970s to 8.8% in the late 2000s, with a 10% prevalence rate recorded in 2013-2014. Men have an 11% chance of developing kidney stones, while women have a 9% chance. Other medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity can also heighten the risk of developing kidney stones. There are Four Phases of Renal Colic:
  • Asymptomatic phase – During this phase, there are no symptoms present. The kidney stone is usually formed during this phase.
  • Renal colic phase – This is the most painful phase of renal colic. It usually starts suddenly and is characterized by severe pain in the back or side, which may radiate to the groin. The pain is usually intermittent and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
  • Ureteral phase – During this phase, the kidney stone begins to move down the ureter towards the bladder. The pain may decrease in intensity during this phase, but it can still be quite uncomfortable.
  • Bladder phase – Once the kidney stone reaches the bladder, the pain usually subsides. However, there may be some discomfort during urination.
Treatment for renal colic usually involves pain management and supportive care. Pain medications may be prescribed to help manage the pain. In some cases, some form of surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the kidney stone.
What is Renal Colic

What Are the Symptoms of Renal Colic?

The main symptom of renal colic is severe pain, typically in the back or side, but it can also radiate to the groin or lower abdomen. The pain is usually sudden in onset and can be intermittent, coming in waves. Other symptoms that may accompany renal colic include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful or frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Fever or chills (if there is an infection present)
  • Difficulty finding a comfortable position
  • Restlessness or agitation
It is very important to note that the symptoms of renal colic can vary from person to person and may depend on the size, location, and number of kidney stones present.

What Are the Renal Colic Causes?

Renal colic is caused by the presence of kidney stones in the urinary tract. Kidney stones are small and hard mineral deposits that form in the kidneys when there is an excess of certain substances, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, in the urine. These substances can crystalize and stick together, forming a stone. When a kidney stone moves from the kidney into the ureter, it can cause obstruction and result in the symptoms of renal colic. The pain associated with renal colic is caused by the ureter stretching as the stone moves through it, which can cause spasms and pain. There are multiple factors that can potentially form the basis for the formation of kidney stones, including:
  • Dehydration – Not drinking enough fluids can lead to concentrated urine and increase the risk of stone formation.
  • Family history – If someone in your family has had kidney stones, you may be more likely to develop them.
  • Diet – A diet high in salt, animal protein, and sugar can increase the risk of stone formation.
  • Certain medical conditions – such as gout, hyperparathyroidism, and also inflammatory bowel disease, can increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Certain medications – such as diuretics and calcium-containing antacids can increase the risk of stone formation.
It is very important to note that not all kidney stones cause symptoms, and some may pass through the urinary tract without causing any problems.
causes of Renal Colic

What Are the Methods of Diagnosis of Renal Colic?

The diagnosis of renal colic usually involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests. The healthcare provider will start by asking about the patient’s symptoms, including the location and severity of the pain, any history of kidney stones, and any other relevant medical history. During a physical examination, the healthcare provider may palpate the abdomen and back to check for areas of tenderness or swelling. They may also check the patient’s vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and also temperature. Imaging tests are usually necessary to confirm the diagnosis of renal colic and determine the location and size of the kidney stone. The most common imaging tests used for this purpose are:
  • X-rays – This test uses radiation to create images of the urinary tract and can help identify the presence of a kidney stone. However, small stones or stones made of certain materials may not be visible on an X-ray.
  • Ultrasound – This test uses sound waves to create images of the kidneys and urinary tract. It is a non-invasive test and can be used to detect kidney stones as well as other conditions.
  • CT scan – This test uses multiple X-ray images to create detailed images of the urinary tract. It is a more sensitive test than an X-ray and can detect smaller stones as well as provide more detailed information about their location and size.
In some cases, a urine test may also be ordered to check for signs of infection or other abnormalities. Once the diagnosis of renal colic is confirmed, treatment can begin to manage the pain and help the patient pass the kidney stone.

What Are the Renal Colic Treatment Options?

The treatment of renal colic aims to relieve pain, prevent complications, and help the patient pass the kidney stone. The treatment approach may vary depending on the size and location of the stone, the severity of the symptoms, and other factors.
  • Pain management: Pain relief is usually the first step in treating renal colic. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. In some cases, stronger pain medications such as opioids may be needed to control severe pain.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids is important in treating renal colic as it can help flush out the kidney stone and prevent further stone formation. Patients are encouraged to drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day.
  • Small stones: In most cases, small kidney stones (less than 5 mm) will pass on their own with time and supportive care. Patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids and take pain medication as needed. If the stone does not pass after a few weeks, a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) may be recommended. ESWL uses shock waves to break up the stone into smaller pieces, which can then pass more easily.
  • Large stones: For larger stones (more than 5 mm), more invasive procedures may be necessary. These can include ureteroscopy or percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), which involves inserting a scope through the urinary tract to locate and remove the stone. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the stone.
  • Infection control: If the patient has a urinary tract infection or fever, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent complications.
It is important to note that treatment for renal colic should be individualized based on the patient’s specific situation and needs. Patients should discuss their treatment options with their healthcare providers.

Self-Care

Self-care measures can help manage renal colic symptoms and prevent future kidney stone formation. Some self-care strategies that may be recommended include:
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help flush out kidney stones and prevent further stone formation. Patients are advised to drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day.
  • Diet: Avoiding foods that are high in salt, animal protein, and sugar can help reduce the risk of kidney stone formation.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help improve overall health and reduce the risk of multiple kidney stone formation. Patients should aim for at least 30 minutes of some form of moderate exercise.
  • Pain management: Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve pain associated with renal colic. Patients should always follow the instructions on the medication label and talk to their healthcare provider before taking any new medications.
  • Medical follow-up: Patients with a history of kidney stones may need regular check-ups with their healthcare provider to monitor their kidney function and identify any new stone formation.
  • Stress management: Stress can increase the risk of kidney stone formation, so finding ways to manage stress can be helpful. This may include relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
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Prevention

Preventing kidney stone formation is the best way to avoid renal colic. Here are some ways to prevent kidney stones:
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, can help prevent kidney stones. It is recommended that individuals drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day. Adequate hydration helps to flush out the kidneys, dilute urine, and prevent minerals and salts from accumulating and forming stones.
  • Diet: A balanced diet that is low in salt, animal protein, and sugar can help prevent kidney stones. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is recommended.
  • Medications: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to prevent kidney stones. Depending on the type of stone, medications can help to reduce the amount of certain substances in the urine that contribute to the stone formation.
  • Medical follow-up: Patients who have had kidney stones in the past may need regular check-ups with their healthcare provider to monitor their kidney function and identify any new stone formation.
  • Reduce alcohol intake: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of kidney stone formation, so reducing or eliminating alcohol intake can be helpful. Exercise: Regular exercise can help improve overall health and reduce the risk of any kidney stone formation.
  • Manage underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, can increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Managing these conditions through lifestyle changes and medical treatment can help reduce the risk of kidney stone formation.
    • It is important to note that prevention measures should be individualized based on the patient’s specific situation and risk factors. Patients should discuss their prevention options with their healthcare provider.

When to See a Doctor

Patients with symptoms of renal colic should seek medical attention promptly. Some warning signs that require urgent medical attention include:
  • Severe pain: Intense, unrelenting pain in the back, side, or lower abdomen that may radiate to the groyne or genital area may be a sign of renal colic. The pain may come in waves and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and fever..
  • Blood in the urine: Blood in the urine may be a sign of kidney stones or another serious medical condition and requires prompt medical attention..
  • Difficulty passing urine: Difficulty passing urine or a decreased urine output may be a sign of an obstructed urinary tract and requires medical attention..
  • High fever: A high fever may indicate a kidney infection or another serious medical condition and requires prompt medical attention..
  • Past history of kidney stones: Patients with a history of kidney stones are at increased risk of future stone formation and should seek prompt medical attention if they experience symptoms of renal colic..
  • Worsening symptoms: Symptoms that persist or worsen over time may be a sign of a serious medical condition and require medical attention.
It is very important to seek medical attention promptly if any of these warning signs occur. Delayed treatment of renal colic can lead to complications such as kidney damage, urinary tract infections, and sepsis.

When to See a Doctor

Patients with symptoms of renal colic should seek medical attention promptly. Some warning signs that require urgent medical attention include:
  • Severe pain: Intense, unrelenting pain in the back, side, or lower abdomen that may radiate to the groyne or genital area may be a sign of renal colic. The pain may come in waves and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and fever..
  • Blood in the urine: Blood in the urine may be a sign of kidney stones or another serious medical condition and requires prompt medical attention..
  • Difficulty passing urine: Difficulty passing urine or a decreased urine output may be a sign of an obstructed urinary tract and requires medical attention..
  • High fever: A high fever may indicate a kidney infection or another serious medical condition and requires prompt medical attention..
  • Past history of kidney stones: Patients with a history of kidney stones are at increased risk of future stone formation and should seek prompt medical attention if they experience symptoms of renal colic..
  • Worsening symptoms: Symptoms that persist or worsen over time may be a sign of a serious medical condition and require medical attention.
It is very important to seek medical attention promptly if any of these warning signs occur. Delayed treatment of renal colic can lead to complications such as kidney damage, urinary tract infections, and sepsis.
When to See a Doctor Renal Colic

Ongo Care Team

Ongo Care Team is a telemedicine platform that provides virtual medical care to patients from the comfort of their own homes and is your answer to a urologist near me queries. If you are experiencing symptoms of renal colic, you can seek medical attention from a licensed healthcare provider through Ongo Care. Here’s how:
  • Visit the Ongo Care website.
  • Create an account or sign in to your existing account.
  • Click on the “Request Consultation” button and fill out the online consultation form. Be sure to provide accurate and detailed information about your symptoms, medical history, and any medications you are currently taking.
  • Wait for a licensed healthcare provider to contact you. The healthcare provider will review your medical history, assess your symptoms, and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Follow the healthcare provider’s instructions for treatment, including any medications or self-care measures.
Ongo Care is available 24/7, so you can seek medical attention at any time, day or night. Ongo Care is also convenient and affordable, with no appointment necessary and no hidden fees. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the Ongo Care support team for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is renal colic an emergency?
Yes, renal colic can be a medical emergency, especially if there are severe symptoms such as high fever, blood in the urine, or difficulty passing urine. Prompt medical attention is needed to prevent complications.
How is Renal colic recognized, and how do you deal with it?
Renal colic is recognized by its characteristic symptoms, including severe pain in the back, side, or lower abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty passing urine. Treatment options include pain relief medications, hydration, and medical procedures to remove kidney stones.
What are the various Renal colic-related health conditions?
Renal colic can be caused by kidney stones, but it can also be a symptom of other underlying medical conditions such as urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and structural abnormalities of the urinary tract.
Which supplement is likely to provide the most relief from the pain associated with renal colic?
There is no specific supplement that can provide relief from renal colic pain. However, some supplements such as magnesium and citrate may help prevent kidney stones from forming in the first place. Patients should discuss the use of supplements with their healthcare provider before taking them.