What are kidney stones and how you get them in your kidneys?
Kidney stones are solid mass made of crystals that usually occurs in kidneys. Occasionally, salts and other minerals like calcium oxalate in urine sticks together to make small kidney stones in your kidney.
These stones can grow anywhere in your urinary tract which includes kidney, urinary tract, ureter, and urinary bladder.
Kidney stones are the most painful medical conditions depending on the kidney stone size (maximum golf ball size) and type. They are rarely seen or diagnosed until they become the cause of interception in the urinary tract or tends to leave your body with severe pain.
Preventive treatments should be done to avoid kidney stones that might have more risks for developing them again.
Kidney stones symptoms:
Kidney stones symptoms are not recognized unless it rotates inside your kidney or passes through your ureter – tube connecting the kidneys and bladder.
At that point, you can experience these signs and symptoms:
- Little pain in the waist or side
- Vomiting and nausea
- Blood in urine
- Fever and chills on infection
- Burning during urination
- Need to urinate continuously
- Bad smelly urination
- Urinate more often than usual
- Urinating small amounts of urine
Small kidney stones (smaller than 5mm) can pass on their own without causing any of these symptoms.
Cause of kidney stones:
- The main cause of kidney stones is the lack of water in the body.
- The stones are usually found in individuals who drink less than eight to ten glasses of water recommended in one day.
- When uric acid does not have enough water to dilute a component of urine, urine becomes more acidic.
- An excessive acidic environment in the urine can cause the formation of kidney stones.
- Other factors contributing to the formation of kidney stones include:
- Not getting enough calcium.
- High diet in salt or sugar.
- Citrate deficiency, a substance that helps prevent stones from forming.
- Consuming too much protein.
- Eating large quantities of oxalate foods (like spinach, chocolate, and nuts).
- Drinking more caffeinated drinks, which contains phosphate and contains more sugar content.
- Family history and genetics.
Treatment of kidney stones:
If the kidney stones are small they can be treated by drinking lots of water and can be passed easily out of the body through urine without any pain.
But if stones are big and causing more intense pain then you must need to see a doctor and need to take some medical prescriptions.
Other medical treatments include:
Painkillers may be needed to relieve pain such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil).
Some kidney stones can be dissolved by medicines such as Allopurinol (Zyloprim) for uric acid stones.
Tunnel Surgery (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy):
In this process, a surgeon removes the stones through a small incision in your back. A person may need this process when:
- Stone causes obstruction and infection or harming kidneys.
- The stone is too big to pass.
- Pain cannot be managed.
A machine is used to produce extracorporal shock wave and target to break large stones so that they can easily pass the ureter down into your bladder.
This process can include side effects such as injury, internal bleeding, or pain after the procedure.
When a stone is trapped in the ureter or bladder, then urologist can use a device called ureteroscope to remove it.
Ureteroscopy is a procedure in which urologist puts a small, light tube, in which there is a camera on the urethra, the tube which emits urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
A small tube with a camera is inserted in the urethra and gets passed in the bladder. Then a small laser device is used to break the stone so that the pieces can pass by themselves.
In this process, no incision (cut) is made on the body but for large stones, surgery may be needed.
Preventions for kidney stones:
Prevention for kidney stones is necessary because once you have removed the stones there are chances of developing the kidney stones again.
Staying hydrated: drinking enough water that is about 2.5 to 3 liters per day helps the kidneys for proper functioning and flushing waste out of the body.
Avoid caffeinated drinks: These drinks contain phosphate which can bind calcium in urine to form stones.
Salt and sugar intake: Limit consumption of salt and sugar in the diet that can cause kidney stones by increasing the amount of calcium in your urine.
Animal protein intake: Proteins from animals such as chicken, beef, and another source of animal proteins that absorbs water from the body living your body dehydrated.
Oxalate food intake: High oxalate foods, such as chocolate or dark green vegetables, can increase the risk of kidney stones.