Renal colic is usually expressed by the symptom of severe wave-like pain in the kidney region. This often occurs as a possible consequence of kidney stones that have become lodged in the ureter. Special colic medications are most commonly used for fast and effective treatment.


Development of renal colic

Urine is continuously produced in the kidneys and transported into the bladder via the ureter. Kidney stones can form in the kidneys and can remain harmless and unnoticed for some patients. However, renal colic occurs when this kind of kidney stone comes loose and makes its way towards the bladder. If the stone then becomes lodged in the narrow ureter, the flow of urine is hampered or even blocked completely. This acute interruption or the backlog of urine causes a pressure increase in the kidney system. This cramping of the surrounding muscles ultimately triggers renal colic with severe pain.


The cause of renal colic is generally kidney stones that are stuck in the ureter. These are formed from the smallest substances, which are normally dissolved in the urine. If too large a quantity of these substances accumulates in too little urine, kidney stones are formed. These most commonly contain calcium and oxalate. The stones can range in size from the head of a pin through to several centimetres. Kidney stones can develop more quickly with:

  • Insufficient fluid intake
  • High protein consumption
  • High consumption of coffee and black tea
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Increased calcium concentration in the blood

If the kidney stones are not treated, infections can also occur alongside renal colic. However, in most cases those affected are treated before infections can occur.

Kidney stones can be prevented because the risk of recurrence is relatively high. The most important preventive measures include drinking a lot (2–3 litres per day), adjusting your diet, and doing sufficient exercise in everyday life.

Symptoms of renal colic

Affected patients generally suffer from unexpected and severe pain in the kidney region. This pain can last for 60 minutes or longer and often radiates across the back in all directions. It is typical of renal colic that the pain and symptom-free phases can alternate. These complaints are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as:Übelkeit und Erbrechen

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Disrupted intestinal activity
  • Increased body temperature and perspiration
  • Bloody urine

The bloody urine occurs as a result of the kidney stone rubbing against the mucous membrane of the ureter. This can cause light bleeding, which then mixes with the urine and is excreted.

Treatment and therapy

Various therapy and treatment options are considered, depending on how large the stones are.

Without medical treatment

Small stones up to 10 millimetres can often be excreted from the body without treatment or therapy. In general, a large amount of fluid must be drunk to flush out the small stones. The local application of heat or exercise, such as walking around and jumping, can provide some relief. The heat alleviates the pain, while the exercise can help to loosen or even dislodge the stone in the ure


The acute pain is unfortunately often so severe that a doctor must usually be consulted for treatment. For larger or numerous kidney stones, special colic medications can be used. These medications work most quickly and sustainably if they are injected directly into the bloodstream via an infusion. If the symptoms cannot be alleviated by this or the flow of urine cannot be unblocked, other medical measures must be used. Calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, cannot be dissolved by these medications. Surgical removal generally takes place in this ca

Surgical removal

The kidney stones can be removed gently using modern technology. Lithotripsy, the endoscopic relieving of pressure in the kidneys using a drainage tube (DJ) or direct endoscopic stone removal with the help of special instruments are suitable for this. In cases where it is possible to remove the kidney stone, the patient is often quickly relieved of all pain.