Difference Between Kidney Stone and Gallstone

Introduction

Both kidney stones and gallstones are often only a few centimetres in size, but they can be excruciatingly painful.

We’re referring to stones, kidney and gallbladder stones (also known as gallstones). They arise in separate systems of your body, yet they’re comparable in many ways.

The kidney is an essential organ in the human body. It purifies harmful and waste material from the blood and turns it into urine.

The gallbladder is an organ whose operation is closely tied to the liver. It works as a reservoir and stores the bile released by the liver, which is subsequently transported to the small intestine to facilitate the digestion of the food.

Kidneys and gallbladder both are prone to producing stones from the food and beverages we consume. In either situation, the stone may be the size of a golf ball or a grain of sand.

Both disorders have several symptoms like nausea, vomiting, restlessness, fever, chills, feeling warm to the touch, discomfort under the ribcage, and pain between the shoulder blades. Though both the conditions have similar symptoms but there are some distinct differences as well.

In this blog, let us know the difference between gallbladder and kidney stones- 

What are kidney stones?

The kidney filter blood, which is ultimately turned into urine. Kidney stones form when mineral deposits build up in the kidneys. They often come from a lack of fluid intake.

For the correct processing of minerals, the kidneys require fluid. Your kidneys won’t be able to handle the mineral accumulation effectively if you don’t have enough fluid in your system, and stones will start to develop.

Other factors that contribute to the formation of kidney stones include being overweight, genetics, lacking in nutrition, age, and calcium supplements. Kidney stones are more common in men than in women.

Kidney stones might be asymptomatic, like gallstones. When kidney stones are big enough to obstruct the ureter and cannot pass through normally, pain starts to occur. Your body can typically clear kidney stones on its own if you drink enough water. You may need to have lithotripsy surgery to get the stone out if it is too big or if other health issues develop.

What is gallstone?

The gallbladder’s role is to store bile, which is generated by the liver and aids with digestion.

Gallstones are solid masses of cholesterol or pigment deposits that develop in the gallbladder or bile duct.

Bile is a yellowish brown pigment that consists of cholesterol, water, lipids, proteins, bile salts, and bilirubin. Gallstones occur when bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin. Gallstone production can be caused by obesity and diets high in cholesterol and fat. Women typically are more likely to develop gallstones than men.

Symptomless gallstones are also possible. Many individuals have them and don’t know it! 

In some cases, they can also lead to gallbladder attacks. If a gallstone obstructs a duct, an infection results, along with pain and other consequences. The gallstones will have to be removed in such situations.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones and Gallstones 

Kidney stones and gallstones affect different organs, but their symptoms are similar.

Symptoms of kidney stones:

If you have kidney stones, you may experience the following symptoms:

Severe back pain that may travel down to your groin

-Nausea and vomiting

-Blood in your urine

-Painful urination

-Increased frequency or urgency of urination

-Foul-smelling or cloudy urine

-Fever and chills

Symptoms of gallstones: 

If you have gallstones, you may experience the following symptoms:

Abdominal pain

Back pain

Chest pain

Nausea and vomiting

Fever and chills

Jaundice

Dark-coloured urine  

Treatment for kidney stones and gallstone

Treatment for kidney stones 

The kind of therapy for kidney stones is usually determined by the size of the stone. If your stone is 10 millimetres or smaller, it may pass on its own. Medication can soothe any discomfort, reduce nausea or vomiting, and relax your ureter, which may aid in the passage of the stone.

There are several available minimally invasive surgical procedures, including

Ureteroscopy

Lithotripsy with shock waves

Nephrolithotomy via the skin

Treatment for gallstone


If you don’t have any symptoms then you may not require any treatment.

However, your doctor could advise having your gallbladder removed if you’re having issues with your gallstones. This is a common operation that is often performed laparoscopically.

Who is at risk of kidney stones and gallstones?

Risk of kidney stones:

The majority of kidney stones occur in middle-aged people.

An elevated risk exists for- 

– Individuals whose families have a history of kidney stones.

-Those who intake fluids in very less quantities.

-Those whose diets are overly high in specific nutrients, such as oxalates, salt, and animal protein.

-People whose other medical issues have an impact on the quantities of certain chemicals in their urine.

Risk of gallstones:

Middle-aged people are more likely to develop gallstones.

An elevated risk exists for:

-Women.

-People over 40.

-Individuals with a BMI (body mass index) exceeding 25 (overweight).

-Individuals who have rapidly shed a large quantity of weight.

-Those who use medicines to decrease their cholesterol.

Final thoughts 

Finding out what could be causing discomfort in your abdomen and figuring out whether you need medical attention or not can be challenging.

Gallstone pain often occurs in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, although it can sometimes radiate to the back or right shoulder. It’s time to visit the doctor if you experience nausea and vomiting.

In terms of kidney stones, you can have flank pain that can mislead you to think it’s back pain. Visit a doctor if you believe you may have a kidney stone so they may run tests to determine its size and location.

Do not be reluctant to contact your physician if you are experiencing stomach discomfort, whether it be from the gallbladder or the kidneys.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I know if I have kidney stones or gallstones?

Gallstones symptoms:

Abdominal pain.

Back pain.

Chest pain.

Jaundice.

Dark-coloured urine.  

Kidney stones symtoms: 

Severe back pain that may travel down to your groin

Nausea and vomiting

Blood in your urine

Painful urination

Are kidney stones and gallbladder related?

Kidney stones and gallstones are two different disease processes and are not associated.

How do I know if I have gallbladder issues?

If you have gallbladder issues you will experience symptoms of chronic gallbladder disease including complaints of gas, nausea and abdominal discomfort after meals and chronic diarrhea. 

What are the first signs of kidney problems?

Dizziness and Fatigue

Swelling (Edema)

Changes in urination schedules

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