Renal Colic

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Renal colic is severe pain in your lower back area.

Urinary System

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • You may have an allergic response to the medicines used to treat your renal colic. If you need surgery to remove a blockage, your ureter may be damaged. You may get an infection and have swelling and pain. You may see blood or blood clots in your urine. You may get strictures (narrowing) in your ureter. If you have a stent placed, you may have ureter spasms. Rarely, your kidneys may stop working, and you may die.

  • Your pain may worsen without treatment. You may also have increased trouble with urination. You may have nausea and vomiting that does not stop, and you may become dehydrated. If you have a kidney stone, it may get larger and completely block your ureter. Your kidney may increase in size from urine backing up, and your kidneys may fail. Kidney failure may lead to death. Talk to your caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV (intravenous)

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

You may be given the following medicines:

  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and stop vomiting.

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by germs called bacteria.

  • Steroids: Steroids may help decrease pain and swelling.

  • Antispasmodics: Antispasmodics relax the muscles in your urinary tract, and may help decrease your pain. When the muscles are relaxed, it may be easier to move any stones out in your urine.

Tests:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Urine sample: A sample of your urine is sent to a lab for tests.

  • Imaging tests: You may be given dye before certain imaging tests. The dye may help your caregiver see the pictures better. People who are allergic to shellfish may be allergic to some dyes. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to shellfish, or have other allergies or medical conditions.

    • Computed tomography scan: A computed tomography (CT) scan is a special x-ray using a computer to take pictures of your urinary tract. If you have stones, a CT scan may be done to find where they are in your urinary tract.

    • KUB x-ray: A KUB x-ray is a picture of your kidneys (K), ureters (U), and bladder (B).

Treatments:

  • IV fluids: Fluids may be given through your IV if you cannot stop vomiting and are not able to drink liquids. You may also get IV fluids to help flush a stone out in your urine.

  • Surgery: You may need any of the following to remove the blockage in your urinary tract:

    • Lithotripsy: Lithotripsy uses sound waves to break up large stones into small pieces. The smaller stones can then come out in your urine.

    • Ureteroscopy: An endoscope is used to look inside your ureters and remove any blockages. An endoscope is a thin tube with a light and camera on the end. If your ureter is swollen or narrowed, you may need a stent placed to keep it open. A stent is a small hollow tube, which is usually made from plastic or metal. A stent may also be needed to open a blockage that is not caused by a stone.

    • Percutaneous nephrostomy: A small rubber tube is inserted through your skin and into your kidney. The tube is used to drain urine that has backed up due to your blockage. The urine is drained to decrease pressure in your kidney and bladder.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of the Blausen Databases or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Renal Colic (Inpatient Care)

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