Renal colic is a pain, usually severe, that starts in one side in the back (the lumbar area, between the lower ribs and hip) and radiates along the same side anteriorly to the flank, to the inguinal area, and scrotum in men (vaginal lip in women).
The intensity of the pain is typically fluctuating like in waves. Usually there is no analgesic position you can find.
Quite often is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. In some cases, you can feel a constant urgent need to urinate or difficulty urinating.
Renal colic occurs when a stone has stuck in the ureter. The ureter is a small tube connecting the kidney to the bladder. In this tube, normally the urine flows to the bladder after its production in the kidney. If a stone blocks the urine flow in the ureter, the kidney will contract and increases its pressure in order to push it out. The contractions of the kidneys and the increased pressure are very painful.
Other less common associated symptoms
Renal colic is just one of the symptoms that urinary stones can cause. Other symptoms that commonly occur alongside renal colic include:
- blood in the urine, which may make it appear pink, red, or brown
- urine that smells unusual
- small particles in the urine
- cloudy urine
When to see a doctor
The seek for pain relief is a good reason to see a doctor even if the majority of uncomplicated renal colic can be treated with common painkillers.
Symptoms of a related urinary tract infection (UTI) may occur for some people. These include fever, chills, and cold sweat. Anybody experiencing any of these symptoms should talk to a doctor.
Anyone experiencing the following symptoms alongside renal colic should contact the emergency medical services or go to the emergency room immediately:
- a complete inability to urinate
- uncontrollable vomiting
- a fever higher than 38°C