How Do You Tell You Have Stones? – Dr. Adeline Peters

Some say the pain of passing kidney stones can be worse than labour pain. This debate can go on endlessly but it still does not take away the fact that kidney stones is not something to be underestimated. About 10% of Malaysians are affected with kidney stones. The worst part is, more than 50% are not aware they have kidney stones. One little known fact is that kidney stones rarely cause symptoms. It is only when they are infected or stuck in the kidney causing the appearance of symptoms making the patient aware that there is an issue.


It is normal for a kidney stone patient to complain of pain in the back or at the lower abdomen and groin. In men, they tend to feel the radiating pain to the scrotum confusing it with other testicular issues. Painful urination especially at night or in the early morning is also a common symptoms of infected kidney stones.

In some rare cases, the person may notice appearance of blood in the urine. Do not panic as the bleeding is typically minimal as it is caused by injured lining of the kidney or the ureter as a result of the stones. However, any extensive bleeding may be caused by other issues and needs to be checked out by the physician immediately.

Many people tend to associate symptoms like nausea, vomiting and stomach pain with food poisoning. These are also the symptoms of kidney stone. So how do we tell the difference?

The key is the area of the pain and the colicky nature of the pain. (i.e. the pain comes and goes)

So, once you know that you have kidney stones, what do you do about it? Well there are different treatment methods available. It all depends on the severity of the symptoms and size of the stones. For small stones with minimal symptoms, drinking plenty of water (about 3L a day) plus pain relievers and medications to help pass the stone would be sufficient. When I say water, I mean plain water, not carbonated drinks as they can precipitate stone formation. For larger stones which are unable to be passed naturally, there are different treatment modalities available. There is ultrasound to break down the stones, or impacted stones can be removed using a scope or surgery. This is generally a more complicated procedure and it would require a hospital stay.

One last key fact about kidney stone; In some people, kidney stones can be a recurring affair as a result of elevated level of parathyroid hormone, a key hormone in maintaining a healthy and strong bone structure. If suspected, the patient may be asked by the doctor to test for this hormone and will be recommended set of actions to prevent future episodes of kidney stones.

If you have any of these symptoms or any questions regarding your kidney and its stones, you can always contact us at


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