Blood in the Urine
The presence of kidney stones can lead to passage of blood in the urine which could either be visible or picked up on a dipstick test on microscopic examination of the urine.
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
Large stones called staghorn stones, more common in females, can lead to recurrent symptoms of infection with loin pain, frequency and burning of urine. In more severe cases this could lead to serious infection of the kidney, pyelonephritis, which can cause high grade temperature with shivering and generally feeling very unwell. Urgent clinical help is required in these cases.
Asymptomatic Kidney Stones
Many people may carry kidney stones which are not causing any blockage and thus have no symptoms. These stones may be picked up during routine imaging for another pathology.
Investigation for Kidney Stones
- Computerised Tomography (CT scan). A plain CT scan is one of the most helpful investigations in diagnosing kidney stones. Just plain CT scan without the need for contrast helps in knowing the size, number, position and extent of obstruction these stones may be causing. This helps in planning further management and deciding the type of treatment required to treat these stones.
- Ultrasound scan. An ultrasound scan can also be used to detect kidney stones although smaller stones in the kidney or ureter may be missed. However as there is no exposure to radiation it can be used in children, younger females or pregnant ladies.
- Plain X-ray (KUB). Plain X-ray is a basic imaging which helps in identifying the stone and following up patients after treatment.
- Urine and blood tests. You may also require baseline urine tests to rule out infection. A blood test called urea electrolytes is checked to know your kidney function, along with calcium and uric acid levels.