Health and MedicineDiseasesSymptoms of kidney and gallstones: main differences

Symptoms of kidney and gallstones: main differences

What are the differences between the symptoms caused by kidney stones and those caused by gallstones? We reveal their signs to distinguish them.

If at any time you have suffered renal or biliary colic as a result of the presence of a stone or calculation, it is quite likely that you have already discovered for yourself how tremendously painful it can be.

However, although we may think that kidney stones and gallstones tend to be similar, especially in terms of the symptoms that both cause, in reality it is always useful to discover their basic differences, which will help us know if we are suffering from colic. Due to kidney stones or gallbladder stones.

What there would be no doubt about is that both stones are very annoying and painful, and can even cause colic that incapacitates the person who suffers from them, preventing them from carrying out a normal life until their symptoms decrease, cease or are treated.

Calculi or kidney stones

Kidney stones consist of pieces of solid material, which tend to form inside the kidneys from different substances found in urine. The most common is the calculation that contains calcium, since it is quite common and usual that the kidneys tend to retain calcium. But they are not the only ones.

In fact, we must bear in mind that in reality we can all suffer from kidney stones, since they are made up of normal substances from the urine itself. However, for different reasons these substances tend to concentrate and solidify into smaller or larger fragments.

Among its causes, for example, they can occur because the urine is saturated with salts that can finally produce them. Or because our urine lacks natural inhibitors with which to prevent this process. And all of them are influenced by a decrease in urinary volume, or by an increase in the urinary excretion of chemical substances that ultimately end up preventing the correct dissolution of the salts contained in the urine.

From a medical point of view, the presence of kidney stones is known as  nephrolithiasis or renal lithiasis.

Calculi or stones in the gallbladder

Gallstones are hard deposits that form inside the gallbladder. As stated by many medical specialists, these stones can be very small (like a tiny grain of sand), or much larger (such as the size of a walnut).

These stones or calculations are formed when there are substances in the bile that harden, so painful episodes of gallstone crises usually occur after eating.

As you surely know, bile is a natural liquid produced by our liver in order to digest fats.  When we eat, and both our stomach and intestines digest food, the gallbladder works by releasing bile through the common bile duct, which connects the liver to the small intestine.

These stones can eventually obstruct the flow of bile through the bile ducts, which in turn becomes a health risk if one of these stones obstructs the ducts of the pancreas, as they can be a cause of inflammation of the pancreas.

The main differences between symptoms caused by kidney stones and gallstones

It is evident that the symptoms caused by the presence of stones in the kidneys will not be the same as those caused by the existence of stones in the gallbladder. Therefore, a good option is to try to discover -or know- their main differences, even more so if we believe that we may be suffering from colic due to calculations.

  • Symptoms of kidney stones: colic is usually extremely painful, with pain in the lower back (or lower back) that radiates to the anterior abdomen and to the genitals, and can be very intense. It is a disturbing, intermittent pain, which in turn can cause nausea, vomiting, sweating and a feeling of having a bloated stomach. Blood in the urine may also appear, as well as urine infection.
  • Symptoms of gallbladder stones: Biliary colic usually causes pain that is located in the upper right or middle part of the abdomen. It can be cramp (that is, very intense) or constant, sharp or dull. It usually causes fever, nausea and vomiting, clay-colored stools, and also jaundice.

At the slightest symptom, the key is to go quickly to the emergency room, especially if the cramps are very intense and cause fever, nausea or vomiting. In the case of gallstones, speed of treatment is of vital importance, since there may be a risk of inflammation of the pancreas (a very serious condition that must be treated quickly).


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