Renal Colic – Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Pain and Treatment

Are you lately having a stabbing pain in your ribs? Watch out, for you may be suffering from Renal Colic pain. Read on to know what is Renal Colic as well as its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Renal Colic Definition

Renal Colic is a condition that leads to an acute pain in the kidneys due to the presence of stones. It is a common condition and affects many people across the world every year.

Renal Colic Causes

Every human being has two kidneys. Kidneys perform an extremely important role of waste management in the human body. These remove waste materials from the bloodstream and form urine. The kidneys also transport this urine into a small tubular structure in the bladder called the Ureter. The bladder stores this urine until the urethra eliminates it from the body.

In some people, hard calcium specks deposit in the kidneys. With time, the specks may join to form stones. Passing these stones along with urine can cause extreme pain to sufferers. Sometimes, one or more large kidney stones may move into the ureter from the kidney. The presence of these stones in the ureter can cause acute pain that can arise after every few minutes.

Renal Colic

[1]Renal Colic

Symptoms Of Renal Colic

Some of the major Renal Colic symptoms are :


Pain is the most common of the Renal Colic signs. In Renal Colic loin region is the main area where the pain arises and extends to the groin. The pain usually comes in waves due Peristalsis or wavelike muscular contraction in the Ureter. It is the movement of stones in the ureter that causes pain in the genitals and the thigh.

The pain may be mild or acute. Acute renal colic pain is one of the most intense painful sensations ever experienced by humans and is comparable to breaking of bones, child birth or gunshot wound.

Blood in Urine (Hematuria)

There may also be blood or pus in the urine. This can be passed along with urine and can cause acute pain while flowing from the body.


Renal Colic patients experience tremendous difficulties while passing urine.

Loss of Appetite

Patients usually suffer from a loss of eating sensation. This lack of appetite can also lead to weight loss.

Abdominal Bloating

There may be swelling of the intestine that can result in abdominal bloating.

Sleeping Postural Abnormalities

Many patients have difficulties in sleeping normally due to the pain that they experience. They change their sleeping postures frequently to keep the pain down.

High Fever

People with this disorder also suffer from increased body temperatures. High fever is usually accompanied with chills in the hand and feet.


In patients of Renal Colic gas formation can also cause much discomfort. The pain can originate anytime and lead to health worries.

Sufferers of Renal Colic often complain of vomiting and nauseating sensations. They also often suffer from restlessness and excessive sweat.

Renal Colic Diagnosis

Renal Colic is generally diagnosed by ultrasound tests and abdominal X-Ray examinations. Imaging studies are very effective in detecting this condition. Severe cases of Renal Colic can be detected using Doppler Sonography. CT Scans are also very helpful in detecting the condition though it is not very definite.

Renal colic urine tests also include Urine Culture, Renal Colic urinalysis and Intravenous Urography.

Renal Colic Treatment

Small-sized kidney stones can pass out from the human body along with urine. Simple pain management is required to deal with this problem. But larger stones require extensive treatment.

Over-the-counter analgesics and Ibuprofen can help deal with mild pains. Severe pains require use of prescription analgesics and non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Diclofenac is a medicine that is commonly prescribed by doctors. If Diclofenac does not reduce pain, you can request your doctor to prescribe Pethidine, Morphine or Diamorphine. These are more effective drugs but can give rise to several side effects.

Excessive pain can be cured with an injection of prescription drugs like Demerol. Patients feel much relief after a few hours when the kidney stone passes into the Ureters. Renal Colic pain goes away when the stone is eliminated along with urine.

Alternate Renal Colic Treatment Options

If the stone remains in the Urinary Tract of the patient, surgery or Ultrasonic Stone Crushing may be needed for treatment.

Extracorporeal Lithotripsy is used if the stones are found stuck in the Urinary Tract. Shock waves are sent into the body by a machine to crush kidney stones.

Cystoscopy is another treatment option to remedy the condition. This is a surgical process by which kidney stones are removed by a hollow channel in an optical instrument known as the Cytoscope. However, surgery is not usually advised for Renal Colic cure. Antibiotics and other medicines are generally used for curing the disease.

Renal Colic Natural Cure

In Renal Colic natural remedies can be quite effective for cure and used along with medicines. Natural Renal Colic remedy involves :

Citrus Juice

Drinking juice of citrus fruits like lemon or orange several times a day can reduce pain and other symptoms caused by the condition.

Cranberry Juice

Consuming juice of Cranberry fruit for at least twice a day can also lower the effect of the symptoms and provide comfort to the patient.


Few other liquids can help cleanse the system like water. Drinking around 12-14 glasses of water everyday can help kidney stones pass out of the ureter and flow away along with urine. This can reduce the colic pain.

Dietary Modifications

Renal Colic pain often arises due to weakened immunity. Eating foods like okra, raw broccoli and oysters that contain rich doses of magnesium can help strengthen the immune system. It is also wise to limit intake of sugar, salt and fat to prevent occurrence of Renal Colic.

Renal Colic Prevention

Renal colic can be prevented by making a few lifestyle modifications. These include

Drinking More Liquids

Drink more than 2.5 litres of liquids per day. This will increase the fluid level in your body and bring down toxicity. Increase of toxic levels leads to formation of stones in the kidney.

Urinate Frequently

It is unhealthy to ignore nature’s call. Go and urinate as often as you feel the urge. This will keep level of toxins down and prevent formation of kidney stones.

Make Dietary Changes

Limit foods rich in oxalate, Vitamin C and animal protein and increase consumption of cereal fibre.

Renal Colic Location

The location of Renal Colic is the flank area. It is on the same side of the lower back region as the kidney stones that lie beneath.

Renal Colic Management

Renal colic pain management usually involves

Urinary Antiseptic

Infectious cases should be treated with antibiotics that function as Urinary antiseptics. Antibiotic treatment should be carried out only after a urine sample culture has been done. Otherwise, antibiotics may tamper the urine culture analysis.


Diclofenac injections are effective in reducing pain. Severe pain may also be reduced with 100 mg intramuscular Pethidine injection or 15 mg Morphine injection. Pentazocine or Dextropropoxyphene drugs may also be orally administered if analgesics fail to improve the pain.

Bed Rest

Renal Colic patients are recommended bed rest and application of warmth over painful area to reduce ache. A bag or bottle filled with warm water is generally used to make pain subside.

Fluid Intake

Increasing fluid intake can increase the urinary output and cause kidney stones to flow away. Renal colic pain also arises due to increased urine concentration caused by dehydration. Increasing fluid intake cures this problem.

Renal Colic Differential Diagnosis

Differential diagnosis for patients suspected with Renal Colic must ensure absence of conditions like

  • Pyelonephritis
  • Aortic aneurysms
  • Iliac aneurysms
  • Biliary colic
  • Endometriosis
  • Peritonitis
  • Cancer esp renal
  • Renovascular compromise
  • Ovarian torsion

Renal Colic Complications

The complications of renal colic involve


The condition arises when retention of urine in the kidneys lead to their inflammation. Swollen kidneys are one of the main complications of Renal Colic.

Kidney Damage

In Renal Colic sufferers, urinary retention and stone formation may cause damage to the kidneys. In acute cases, kidney damage may make their removal necessary.

Kidney Stone Recurrence

In some people, there can even be a recurrence of kidney stones after they have been removed. In such cases of Renal Colic long term treatment becomes necessary.

Renal Colic Prognosis

Renal Colic has an excellent prognosis if treated properly with effective medications. However, the causes of the condition must be properly treated to resolve the disease.

Renal Colic Risk Factors

Some of the main risk factors that give rise to Renal Colic condition are

  • Low urine output due to dehydration
  • Greater calcium intake through diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption
  • Uric Acid stone formation due to diseases like Gout
  • Increase of calcium in urine and blood due to Hyperparathyroidism
  • Family history of urinary calculus (kidney stones).

Renal Colic is fully curable if treated properly. If you suspect yourself to be suffering from Renal Colic attacks, do not ignore your health. Go for an immediate diagnosis and start early treatment. A fast treatment will ensure fast Renal Colic recovery for you.

  5. [1]By NIH – Taken from, Public Domain,

One Response

  1. Pingback: Flank Pain September 2, 2011
  2. jackie Ennis November 21, 2017

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