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Renal colic: causes and symptoms

Renal colic is the obstruction of it or the ureters usually as a result of a stone formed by the sedimentation of minerals in the kidney. It presents as a sharp pain of great intensity in the lower back that can also radiate to the sides.

It is estimated that between 10% and 15% of the world population has suffered this type of colic. Men are more likely to suffer from it , in a 3 to 1 ratio compared to women. The pain that causes renal colic is one of the most intense that exist, even it is usually compared with those of a childbirth.


The stones that cause colic are formed by sedimentation of different substances. These substances come to crystallize forming stones. The most frequent causes of renal colic are the following:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Bad nutrition
  • Metabolic or renal impairment
  • Environmental factors
  • Kidney trauma
  • Some drugs (medicines for the treatment of AIDS , vitamin D)

The appearance of this painful pathology is very related to the low consumption of water. Therefore, it is recommended to always drink two liters of water a day.

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Renal colic: causes and symptoms

The most frequent symptoms of a kidney colic are the following:

  • Severe pain in the back or sides
  • Inability to sit still
  • Appearance of blood in the urine
  • Vomiting and dizziness
  • Excessive sweating, fever and chills
  • Strong discomfort with a burning sensation when urinating
  • Turbid color in the urine
  • Bad smell in the urine


It is necessary to make a medical diagnosis that allows to find out if the symptoms are due to renal colic, appendicitis, lumbago, etc. To do this, the doctor will perform an ultrasound and a computerized tomography without contrast.

However, when the symptoms of renal colic appear, regardless of whether the disease has not been confirmed, it is essential to treat the pain immediately.


Renal colic: causes and symptoms

Due to the pain intensity of renal colic, the patient must be treated urgently. Therefore, the first step in the treatment of a patient with this disorder will be to calm the pain .

If the calculation is less than 5 mm in size and there is no risk of medical complications, the technique called lithotripsy is usually applied. This method consists of the fragmentation of the stone through shock waves.

Other treatments to expel stones from the kidney are:

  • Non-steroidal anti- inflammatories: they are the first option in the treatment to relieve pain. They are administered intravenously.
  • Anticholinergic analgesics: although they do not have the same efficacy as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, they serve to complement the treatment.
  • Dipyronic analgesics: they also complement the analgesic effect for this treatment.
  • Minor opioids : although they can increase nausea and vomiting, they are used as an alternative to the aforementioned ones.

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Natural medicine

Although we must follow the doctor’s treatment, it is important to know some natural remedies for emergency situations.

  • Hot water: provides relief immediately.
  • Clay plasters: clay has an anti-inflammatory effect and also provides minerals to the body through the skin. It is excellent for pain.
  • Magnesium supplement: acts on the nervous system to reduce pain.
  • Medicinal plants: stinging nettle, goldenrod, stonebreaker, rose hip, arenaria, blonde root, etc. Some of them are very useful to increase the production of urine, helping to dissolve the calculation, while others are aimed at alleviating pain.

Activation of sweating

Renal colic: causes and symptoms

A natural, economic and simple remedy are the total body wraps. We will use fabrics, towels or blankets to cover the patient and avoid that any area is in contact with the air.

The goal is to activate sweating , which is a way to eliminate fluids and toxins without intervening the kidney, thereby reducing inflammation and relieving pain to some extent.

Renal colic: causes and symptoms