Kidney stones are formed because of deposits of minerals and salts, like calcium, uric acid, etc. in the kidneys. There are several causes for these stones to develop. Though these cannot be said as fixed causes, they can be definitely considered as risk factors. Also, though they are seen to be developing more in the kidneys, they can develop in any part of the urinary system. Kidney stones usually form when the urine becomes concentrated, meaning that the fluid part in the urine becomes less and the minerals and salts increase, causing an acidic high in the urine. As the minerals and salts increase, they stick together, forming hard lumps or clusters, which are then called as kidney stones.
Can You Die From Kidney Stones?
To speak about whether one can die of a kidney stone, the chances are not very fat, except only in one fatal condition death from kidney stones can occur and that is called sepsis or septic shock. Hence, any kind of infection, and any type of kidney stone, whether tiny or big should be immediately dealt with.
Kidney stone sitting at one place in the kidney usually cause no signs or symptoms. But, once mobile, it may cause severe distressing symptoms. And one such troublesome symptom is severe pain. This pain can be at the back or in the sides. The pain may start at the back and from there can radiate to the sides and front, in the lower abdomen and up to the groin. This pain comes in bouts, it may not be continuous, it comes and goes and sometimes changes in frequency and intensity. This happens when the stone moves in the urinary tract from one place to the other. One may suffer from pain during urination. One may experience incomplete urination, which happens because of the blockage caused by the stone. Also, one can feel a frequent or persistent urge to pass urine. This is because of the incomplete bladder evacuation previously explained.
One may feel like going to the washroom once too frequently. Also, the urine might be tinged with blood, which happens because when the kidney stones moves through the urinary tract, it may cause injury to the organs, thereby causing bleeding. If there is an infection of the urinary tract, then the urine might become foul smelling, dark yellow or brown, cloudy or even foul smelling. Infection might also be accompanied with fever and chills. At times, the pain is so severe that one cannot find a comfortable situation to sit or lie. There may even be nausea and vomiting. Apart from these symptoms, one fatal symptom that may emerge, though very rarely, is sepsis. Sepsis is body’s fatal response to any infection. If there is an infection in kidneys, rarely it may lead to sepsis and septic shock. It is very difficult to survive a sepsis, and more often than not, those who do survive are left with lifelong impairments, as severe as organ dysfunction. Hence, any infection in the body is never to be dismissed as trivial.
Treatment for Kidney Stones
The treatment of kidney stones has two aspects- non-invasive treatment and invasive treatment. Non-invasive treatment includes increasing the water and fluids intake per day, taking some medications to encourage the stone to pass in the urine, by relaxing the ureter and thereby decreasing the pain. Use of pain killers is also advised, to lessen the pain caused during the passage of the stone.
However, those stones that are quite large, or cannot be removed with above said methods, require an elaborate treatment, such as lithotripsy, ureteroscopy or surgery even. This largely depends on the size of the stone and the location where it is stuck. Even after the removal of the stone by above said methods, there are still some chances of recurrence. Hence, there is a call for certain lifestyle changes along with continuation of some medicines if necessary.
“Sepsis” – Mayo Clinic [https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sepsis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351214]
“Kidney Stones” – NHS [https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kidney-stones/]