Classic kidney stone pain (renal colic) is an intense pain beginning in the upper flank. This pain tends to radiate to the front and down, sometimes ending in the groin or scrotum as the stone moves towards the bladder. The pain is thought to arise from stretching of the urinary tract with obstruction of urine flow as opposed to scraping of a stone along the walls. Nausea, vomiting, constipation, blood in the urine (hematuria), often occur. Hematuria is not necessary for a stone diagnosis.
If clinically suspected, an evaluation for kidney stones involved an IVP classically. The IVP or excretory urogram involves IV contrast dye to help visualize the urinary tract radiographically. More recently, the use of CT scans without contrast have been used for initial stone evaluation. This study can evaluate the abdomen for other causes of pain as well.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only. Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options pertaining to your specific medical condition. More individualized care is available at the Henry Ford Hospital and its satellites (1 800 653 6568).
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