Symptoms of Ureteric Colic |Ureteric Colic Treatment
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February, 2024

Acute Kidney Stone Pain- Ureteric Colic- Symptoms and Management

The sudden onset of excruciating pain in the lower back or abdomen can be a sign of a common and often underestimated condition - kidney stones. This intense discomfort, known as ureteric colic, is caused by the passage of kidney stones through the narrow tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder, called the ureters. 

Symptoms of Ureteric Colic

  • Sharp, Intense Pain: The hallmark of ureteric colic is intense, stabbing pain that typically begins in the lower back or side and radiates towards the lower abdomen and groin. The severity of the pain can vary, with some describing it as one of the most agonizing sensations they have ever experienced.
  • Frequent Urination: Individuals with kidney stones often feel the urge to urinate more frequently. However, the actual amount of urine may be small due to the blockage caused by the stone. This symptom can be accompanied by a persistent feeling of incompleteness after urination.
  • Blood in Urine: Hematuria, or blood in the urine, is a common symptom of kidney stones. The presence of blood may give the urine a pink, red, or brownish tint. It is essential to seek medical attention if blood in the urine is observed.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: The severe pain associated with ureteric colic can trigger nausea and vomiting in some cases. Dehydration may also occur due to a reluctance to drink fluids, exacerbating the overall discomfort.
  • Restlessness and Agitation: The constant pain and discomfort often lead to restlessness and agitation. Individuals may find it challenging to get into a comfortable position, contributing to the overall distress.

Management of Acute Kidney Stone Pain

Here are some of the ureteric colic treatment options:
  • Hydration: Adequate fluid intake is crucial in facilitating the passage of kidney stones. Water helps dilute the substances in the urine that lead to stone formation. It is recommended to drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day, and even more during an episode of ureteric colic.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can be effective in relieving pain and reducing inflammation. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • Medical Expulsion Therapy (MET): In some cases, medications such as tamsulosin may be prescribed to relax the muscles in the ureter, facilitating the passage of kidney stones. This approach, known as Medical Expulsion Therapy, can help alleviate symptoms and expedite stone passage.
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy is a non-invasive procedure that uses shock waves to break down kidney stones into smaller fragments, making them easier to pass through the urinary tract. This approach is particularly effective for smaller stones and is considered a less invasive alternative to surgical interventions.
  • Minimally Invasive Approaches: Minimally invasive techniques encompass a range of procedures, including ESWL, RIRS, and PCNL, which aim to treat kidney stones with reduced impact on surrounding tissues. These methods often result in quicker recovery times, less pain, and shorter hospital stays compared to traditional surgical approaches.
  • Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery (RIRS): Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery involves using a thin, flexible tube (ureteroscope) to access and remove kidney stones from the renal pelvis and ureter. This minimally invasive technique is often preferred for larger stones or those not responsive to ESWL.
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL): Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy is a surgical procedure where a small incision is made in the back to access the kidney directly. A nephroscope is then used to remove or break down larger stones. PCNL is generally employed for larger or more complex stones that may not respond well to less invasive methods.


Acute kidney stone pain, or ureteric colic, can be an intensely distressing experience. Recognizing the symptoms and understanding effective management strategies are crucial for navigating through the storm of kidney stone-related discomfort. While many cases can be managed with conservative measures, seeking prompt medical attention is essential for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate intervention, ensuring a smoother journey toward recovery. If you suspect you have kidney stones or are experiencing symptoms of ureteric colic, seeking prompt medical attention at Sakra World Hospital is essential. Our compassionate healthcare professionals are committed to guiding individuals through every step of their recovery journey.



Dr Gokulakrishnan P J

Senior Consultant - Urology & Andrology

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