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Kidney Stone Symptoms in Men

Updated on February 27, 2016
JCielo profile image

As a researcher and author, John provides information in an easy-to-understand way that helps readers understand their condition.

Kidney stones in men
Kidney stones in men

What Are Kidney Stones?

Before we dive straight into describing kidney stone symptoms in men, let's quickly summarize what such stones are, what causes them, how they are diagnosed and their treatment...

Around 12% of men and some 5% of women in the US will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives. The UK has somewhat similar figures. So, according to the figures, men are more than twice as likely to have a kidney stone.

Stones can occur at any age, but most often in men between 40 and 70 and in women in their 50's.

Additionally, around 50% of all those who get a stone will suffer at least one recurrence at some point in the future.

The kidneys' job is to filter the blood, remove waste substances and excess water and so produce urine which then travels from the kidneys through the ureter tubes, into the bladder whence it is expelled through the urethra.

Urine travelling through the urinary tract has very many substances dissolved within it, and sometimes, these form into crystals which can 'clump' together to form small stones.

Most kidney stones are made of calcium, but you can also get stones made from uric acid or other chemical compounds. Uric acid kidney stones are more common in men because they are more likely to have gout than women.

The kinds of conditions that help kidney stones to develop are things like;

  • dehydration through not taking in sufficient fluids
  • living in a hot climate
  • hot work environment where you lose a lot of fluid through sweating
  • underlying health issues that produce higher levels of chemicals in the blood, e.g. uric acid, oxalate, calcium, etc.
  • certain medications such as triamterene, indinavir, and acyclovir
  • chronic urine infections
  • chronic kidney infections

X-rays of the kidneys and ureters are often used to diagnose a kidney stone. Depending on the severity of the condition and / or medical history of the patient, further tests may be carried out. These could include analysis of the actual kidney stone after it passes out, as well as blood and urine tests.

In cases where the stone stays in the kidney and does no harm, no treatment may be required.

Most stones that move into the ureters are small and pass through into the bladder and out through the urethra in a day or two. All that's normally needed is some painkillers to alleviate the pain.

A larger stone that becomes lodged in the kidney or ureter can be removed either through surgery or by using ultrasound to break it up into smaller pieces that can pass out through the urine.

Let's now have a look at the symptoms of kidney stones in men...

A painful-looking kidney stone
A painful-looking kidney stone

Kidney Stones in Men - Signs and Symptoms

In many cases kidney stones are too small to cause any noticeable symptoms. But if they are large enough or move from the kidney into the ureter and cause a blockage, then you may experience the following symptoms:-

  • severe pain in one or both sides of your lower back
  • sudden jets of excruciating lower-back pain spreading around to the abdomen
  • pain in your groin
  • pain in your testicles
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • feeling feverish
  • getting chills
  • feeling that you need to urinate more frequently
  • burning sensation when passing urine
  • cloudy or dark colored urine, perhaps obviously bloody

It goes without saying that you should visit your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

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Kidney stone signs, symptoms and treatments - Dr. Ann Becker

How to Prevent Kidney Stones Reoccurring

As said in the introduction, around 50% of men who have had a kidney stone will get another. But there are things you can do to help prevent those horrible symptoms appearing again.

The most important is to stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of fluid (2 to 3 litres per day) including a large glass before bed. And even if you wake up to go to the bathroom during the night.

If you suffer from gout it's important that you get your uric acid levels down and maintain them at healthier levels. High uric acid can produce urate crystals that can form stones.

Get advice from your doctor / nutritionist on your diet in respect of those foods that can raise the risk of further kidney stones, e.g. salt, high sodium foods, high-purine foods, high-oxalate foods, etc.

Lastly, maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and a healthy, well balanced, diet may reduce the risk of those kidney stone symptoms appearing again.

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References

  • http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/kidney-stones/overview.html
  • http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/kidneystonediet/index.aspx
  • http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/k/kidney-stones
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidney_stone
  • http://www.livestrong.com/article/137804-kidney-stone-symptoms-men/
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kidney-stones/DS00282/DSECTION=causes

Disclaimer

The content of this Hub is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical diagnosis, treatment or advice, and you should not assume that it is. Always consult your health-care provider / physician / doctor before taking any medications, natural remedies, supplements, or making any major changes to your diet.

© 2013 JCielo

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    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi JCielo. You are so right about the pain issue. I have passed three stones at different times. The pain is unbearable. The largest one was the size of a Sultana. I cannot believe it but it is true. A

      greatly informative hub.

      Graham.

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