Unfortunately kidney stones in women are usually harder to detect and diagnose. Why? Mainly it has to do with the fact that symptoms can be easily dismissed as monthly menstrual symptoms. After all, the most common symptom of people with kidney stones is abdominal pain, which is often mistaken for menstrual cramps.
Anyway… what is a woman to do if she suspects the pain she is experiencing is different from her monthly cramps? One way to know for sure is to pay close attention to the secondary symptoms of kidney stones like fever, loss of appetite, or blood in the urine. While these may also be signs of other disorders like a urinary tract infection, it is important to speak to your doctor immediately after experiencing any of these symptoms in combination with abdominal pain.
Please do not make the mistake I made and just get lazy with checking it out. It will be much worse for you in the long run.
What happens next? Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor may choose to take x-rays or ultrasound. For instance, if you have seen blood in your urine, this is a good indication that a stone is too large to simply pass out of the body through the urine and other measures may have to be taken. In that case, an x-ray or an ultrasound will likely give your doctor a good idea about the size of the stone as well as its location.
If the diagnostic images are unsuccessful at finding anything, your doctor can also perform a scan of the entire urinary system with a special test called computerized tomography. The results of this procedure can often be far more accurate than x-rays or ultrasound at detecting even the smaller stones.
When stones are discovered, your doctor may recommend several treatment options. But don’t worry. Surgery is rarely required to get rid of kidney stones. The most common course of treatment is simple—water, and lots of it! Since most stones can be passed through the urinary system, your doctor will ask you to drink two to three quarts of water a day until the stone sees the light of day. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to help you deal with the pain, which can be considerable.
When and if you pass the stone or stones, remember to save it. I know it’s gross. But your doctor can use passed stones for testing purposes to help develop a better treatment plan that may also prevent the formation stones in the future. Wouldn’t you feel good if they used you’re disgusting stone to develop a treatment