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Renal Colic

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Renal colic is severe pain in your lower back or sides. The pain is usually on one side, but may be on both sides of your lower back. Renal colic may start quickly, come and go, and become worse over time. Renal colic is caused by a blockage in your urinary tract. The most common cause of a blockage is a kidney stone. Blood clots, ureter spasms, and dead tissue may also block your urinary tract.


DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You cannot stop vomiting.
  • You see new or increased bleeding when you urinate.
  • You are urinating less than usual, or not at all.
  • Your pain is not getting better even after treatment.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have fever.
  • You need to urinate more often than usual, or right away.
  • You see a stone in your urine strainer after you urinate.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

  • Medicines may help decrease pain and muscle spasms. You may also need medicine to calm your stomach and stop vomiting.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Drink liquids as directed to help decrease pain and flush blockages from your urinary tract. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. You may need to drink about 3 liters (12 glasses) of liquids each day. Half of your total daily liquids should be water. Limit coffee, tea, and soda to 2 cups daily. Your urine should be pale and clear.
  • Strain your urine every time you urinate. Urinate into a strainer (funnel with a fine mesh on the bottom) or glass jar to collect kidney stones. Give the kidney stones to your healthcare provider at your next visit.
    Look for Stones in the Filter
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may need to increase the amount of citrus fruit you eat, such as oranges. Ask your healthcare provider how much salt, calcium, and protein you should eat.
  • Avoid activity in hot temperatures. Heat may cause you to become dehydrated and urinate less.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for tests to check if your blockage has cleared. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Renal Colic (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

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