A kidney stone, the medical term of which is Nephrolithiasis, is a solid concretion formed within the kidney or urinary tract from dissolved urinary minerals. A kidney stone may be as large as a golf ball or as small as a grain of sand. They may be smooth or irregular. They are usually yellow or brown.
The signs and symptoms of Kidney stone may include
In some cases "silent" stones, called so because they don’t produce symptoms, are detected in X - rays taken during a routine health check. These stones go undetected or remain in the kidneys for years.
A typical patter of the symptoms of kidney stones cause the doctor to scan the urinary system of the patient using a special x-ray test called an IVP (intravenous pyelogram) or a CAT scan.
The doctor also takes resort to blood and urine tests that have the potential to detect any bleeding as well as any abnormal substances that are responsible for stone formation.
One tends to form kidney stones when there is a decrease in their urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in their urine.
There is no definite, single cause for the formation of a kidney stone. However, a number of medical conditions including Gout, Hypercalciuria, diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension), can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
No. There are four main types of Kidney Stones.
Calcium stones, generally in the form of calcium oxalate, are the most common because calcium forms an important part of a healthy diet.
A struvite stone generally forms in response to an infection in the urinary system. These stones have the potential of growing fast and becoming quite large, sometimes without displaying any symptoms.
A uric acid stone may form when there is too much acid in the urine. Those who don't drink enough fluids, diet containing high proteins or myeloproliferative disorders are susceptible to this type of stones.
These stones are rare and may form in those who have a hereditary defect that causes the kidneys to eliminate too much of amino acids.
If the kidney stone is small enough, it usually passes on its own. However, there are instances when doctor uses other methods and surgery to make the stones pass and/or remove the stone. Generally there are three methods to treat stones using surgery.
In this method the doctor sends high-energy shock waves using a special machine directly to the kidney stone. The shock waves break a large stone into small pieces that passes through the urinary system with urine.
This method is used while treating those stones that are resistant to lithotripsy. Here the doctor makes a small incision in the patient's back and creates a narrow tunnel directly into the kidney. With a special instrument inserted into the tunnel, the doctor can find and break up or remove the stone.
A ureteroscope, a small fibre optic instrument, resembles a long cable. The doctor inserts this cable through the urethra and bladder and up the ureter into the kidney. The ureteroscope contains a camera that allows the doctor to locate the stone and break up the stone into small pieces that is extracted out or patient passes the small stone bits in the urine.
It is often said prevention is better than cure. If you had more than one kidney stone, you may develop another. Hence prevention is an absolute must.
To prevent stones from forming, your doctor must first discover what is causing them. It is advisable to drink more fluids to prevent future kidney stones. If you are prone to forming stones, you should try to drink enough fluids to produce at least 2 liters of urine per day.
You may need to change your diet. The doctor may ask you to reduce your intake of certain foods which have high calcium content. If your urine is highly acidic, you may be asked by your doctor to eat less fish, meat and poultry products. In some cases people will need medications to prevent stone formation.
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