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Renal colic


Renal colic is the severe pain that occurs mostly in the lower back due to a significant obstruction in the urinary tract . This obstruction occurs progressively, which is why nephritic colic manifests itself suddenly, when there is a very strong pressure on the urinary tract due to the fact that the transit of urine is impossible. The pain from renal colic is so severe that it is considered one of the most common causes of an emergency room visit .

Nephritic colic usually occurs commonly in the morning, when there is a greater accumulation of urine in the urinary tract. This condition affects more men and a large part of the people who suffer from it have a family history. If you want to know why renal colic occurs, what are its symptoms and usual treatment, we invite you to continue reading this eHealth article.

Causes of renal colic

Renal colic is the most common cause of urological pain and although most of the time it is caused by the presence of stones in the kidneys, this is not the only possible cause. Next, we explain the causes of renal colic.

Kidney stones

Urine contains, among other things, minerals such as calcium and uric acid. When there is a large concentration of urine in the urinary tract, these minerals accumulate within the kidneys where they crystallize and become a solid mass that progressively grows until it forms what is known as a kidney stone or kidney stone.

Uric acid and calcium are filtered by the kidney and discharged through the urine, however, when they crystallize and become a stone, they obstruct the urinary tract and make it difficult for urine to pass through . This scenario is what produces that characteristic and acute pain of renal colic.

Age, kidney health, family history, and being a male are factors that make a person more prone to kidney stones. A diet rich in protein and carbohydrates also favors the formation of kidney stones . There are different types of kidney stones, get to know them:

  • Calcium stones are most common in men between the ages of 20 and 30.
  • Oxalate stones, a substance found in spinach and vitamin C supplements .
  • Cystine stones affect people with an inherited disorder called cystinuria.
  • Struvite stones affect women with constant urinary tract infections.
  • Uric acid stones can form with gout or chemotherapy.

Urinary tract obstruction

The ducts through which urine passes can be green clogged by factors other than kidney stones. The presence of tumors in the ureter is one of the causes of urinary tract obstruction that can cause renal colic . The ureter is the channel responsible for transporting urine from the kidneys to the bladder. A computed tomography of the pelvic region or urotac can diagnose the presence of these types of tumors.

La pyelonephritis

The pyelonephritis is a urinary tract infection poorly treated acute has spread to a kidney , causing inflammation of that organ. When the kidney is affected by the bacteria causing the infection, there is a sharp and stabbing pain like colic that is accompanied by fever , chills, pain when urinating and constant urination . Treating pyelonephritis early is extremely important to avoid permanent kidney damage.

Other less common causes of renal colic

  • Trauma to the kidney can cause blood clots to block the urinary tract.
  • The consumption of some medications favors the formation of kidney stones. Chemotherapy, diuretics, and vitamin D are some of them.

Symptoms of renal colic

How is the pain of renal colic? This question goes through the minds of many people as soon as they begin to feel a sharp pain in the lower back . The truth is that not all discomfort located in the lower back is a renal colic, so it is important to recognize the characteristics of the pain of a renal colic to identify it correctly.

The pain of kidney colic

Nephritic colic is pain that starts suddenly and does not go away . You can recognize the pain of renal colic because you feel stinging that comes and goes and can be very intense at one point and softer at another. The pain, in effect, is centered in the lower back, but radiates towards the abdomen, the groin and even the genitals . Women may feel discomfort in the lower part of the uterus and men may experience pain in the testicles. This pain has no similarity to a muscle ache, the ailment feels good inside and worsens when a medical specialist performs a deep touch.

You may also be interested in:   Pyelonephritis

Phases of pain:

  1. The pain appears suddenly and can last for 1 hour. This is the best time to go to the doctor and prevent the condition from getting worse.
  2. It can last up to 4 hours and represents the period of greatest pain, since the discomfort and the prick are usually constant. It is important to avoid fluid intake so that the kidney stone does not move and cause more pain. Medical attention is essential.
  3. If you have gone to the doctor, there will be at least 2 more hours of pain and then the discomfort will begin to disappear. If an emergency room has not been attended, the pain can last up to 12 hours.

When renal colic is caused by small kidney stones, the person will most likely pass the stone through urine during discomfort . However, when the stones are larger the pain will be so acute that it will be necessary to go to the emergency room . Some people with very small kidney stones do not experience any symptoms and pass the mass without realizing it.

Other symptoms of renal colic:

  • Blood in the urine.
  • Cloudy color of urine.
  • Bad smelling urine.
  • Fever.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Shaking chills.

Treatment of renal colic

The first thing to do to treat kidney colic is to go to an emergency room immediately. There, the specialist doctors will order a series of tests to identify the cause of the pain and check for kidney stones . Among the studies that are usually carried out are:

  • Computed abdominal tomography.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging of the kidney.
  • Kidney ultrasound.
  • Intravenous pyelography.
  • Blood tests.
  • Urine test.
  • Urine culture.
  • If there is a calculation it will be necessary to analyze its composition.

Treatment will depend on the results of the tests and the doctor’s diagnosis. As in most cases this pain is caused by the presence of stones in the kidneys, the usual procedure is to squid the discomfort will be to offer medicines to the person that allow them to bear the pain and facilitate the expulsion of the stone. When the pain is very acute, it will be necessary to apply morphine intravenously.

Once the pain has subsided, it is expected that the person can expel the stone spontaneously, otherwise it will be necessary to carry out surgical procedures to remove it. There are several treatments to remove a stone , such as open surgery, percutaneous nephrolithotomy, extracorporeal lithotripsy, transurethral ureteroscopy. The choice of procedure will depend on the condition of the person, the place where the stone is stuck and the judgment of the doctor.

How to prevent kidney colic

Few know that 50% of people who suffer from renal colic are prone to suffering from this condition again. Therefore, after renal colic it is prudent to take a series of measures to preserve the health of the kidneys and prevent the formation of new stones. That said, we suggest you keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Not holding the urge to urinate.
  • Hydrate properly by drinking at least 2.5 liters of water daily.
  • Decrease salt intake to prevent fluid retention.
  • Maintain a balanced diet by regulating fat and dairy intake.
  • Cut down on caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
  • Take careful care of blood pressure.
  • Prefer lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish, as they contain little uric acid.
  • Seafood, spinach, chocolate, beets and peppers are foods rich in oxalate, avoid consuming them in excess.
  • Follow medical recommendations to the letter.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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