Kidney stones are also known as renal calculi and can be found not only in the kidneys but anywhere in the urinary tract such as the ureters, urinary bladder and the urethra. Kidney stones are solid masses of crystals or minerals and salts. These crystals can vary according to size and even shape. The stones are formed when the waste salts and minerals in the urine accumulate and form a solid mass. They get stuck in the urinary tract and result in a very painful condition. Kidney stones normally do not create too much problem unless they get blocked in the passage of urine. Treatment options depend upon the size of the stone. Small calculi pass easily through urine by consuming plenty of water. Larger stones require treatment; whether it is only medication or surgery depends on the severity of the condition.
Following are 5 ways to treat kidney stones:
- Medication: Medication is used to relieve pain and also help in easy passage of the stones. Medication using alpha-adrenergic blockers and calcium channel blockers are normally prescribed as they provide faster clearance rates for the stones. But medication is effective only for stones that have diameters ranging from 4mm to 10mm. Medication using anti-emetic drugs is useful against nausea caused due to kidney stones.
- Open surgery: Kidney stone removal by open surgery is not very common and is recommended only when the stone is very large or there is any abnormality in anatomy. By open surgery, the stone is removed from the ureter or the kidney, wherever it gets stuck.
- Ureteroscopy: Ureteroscopy is done to remove stones stuck in the ureter. In this procedure, a thin tube is passed from the urethra into the urinary bladder and then into the ureter near the stone which is stuck. The stone is removed either using laser energy or by another instrument. The procedure is done while the patient is under general anaesthesia. Sometimes a temporary plastic tube may be inserted into the ureter to drain out the stone fragments (as done by laser energy) into the bladder.
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL): PCNL is a procedure wherein larger stones are plucked out from anywhere in the kidney where they are stuck with the help of an instrument called nephroscope. The larger sized stones are first broken down using pneumatic or laser energy and then pulled out using the telescopic instrument.
- Home remedies: The first step towards naturally flushing out small stones from the kidneys is drinking plenty of water. At least 10-12 glasses of water must be consumed every day to flush out the stones. Other natural remedies for flushing stones out of the system are lemon juice squeezed in water, basil juice mixed in tea, apple cider vinegar stirred in water, pomegranate juice, kidney bean broth, etc.
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