What are Kidney Stones?
A kidney stone is a crystalline and hard mineral material that gets formed within the kidney or in our urinary track. Kidney stones are a common cause of hematuria (blood in urine) and often cause severe pain in the abdomen, groin or in the flank. Kidney stones are also sometimes called renal calculi.
The condition of having a stone or multiple stones in the kidney is known as nephrolithiasis. However, having stones in other locations in the urinary track is known as urolithiasis.Any person can develop this disease, but people with certain diseases and conditions or people who take certain medications like calcium-containing antacids, diuretics and protease inhibitors are more susceptible to this disease.
This illness is more common in men than in women.
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Urinary stones, mostly develop in patients who are between 20-49 years and people who have suffered more than one attack of this illness are always prone to further stone development.Kidney stones are more common in residents of industrialized countries than bladder stones. Opposite of the same proves to be true for residents of the developing world, where stone in the bladder is most common. It is believed that dietary factors play a major role in creating this difference. Over the last few decades, it has been observed that incidents of developing kidney stones have increased, which is more likely related to the obesity epidemic around the globe.
People with chronically elevated uric acid levels are also more prone to the formation of uric acid related kidney stones. Pregnant women, though the numbers are few, at times develop kidney stones. Factors that may contribute to kidney stone formation during pregnancy includes a slowing of the passage of urine, due to decreasing bladder capacity because of the her enlarged uterus and increase in the progesterone levels in her body.
Often dehydration from reduced fluid intake, over time, leads to the formation of kidney stones.
Diagnosis of kidney stones is a controversial procedure. Usually to confirm the diagnosis of this illness, imaging tests are performed on the patients. In case of medical emergency non-contrast CT scans are done on the patients, since this can be done rapidly and it helps to rule out other causes for flank and abdominal pain.
However, in the recent times, as it is believed that CT scan exposes the patients to significantly more radiation, ultrasound scans along with plain abdominal X-ray is used for diagnosing kidney stones. When patients are put on medication, it has been observed that small stones pass out naturally through the urine. However, for larger stones (beyond 9-10mm) lithotripsy is done to break up the larger stones into small pieces, with the help of shock waves, so that they can pass out through the urinary system.
Kidney or renal stones refer to the hard mineral deposit that accumulates along the path from the renal pelvis to the bladder. In normal conditions, toxins are filtered by kidneys from the blood and then passed into the urine. But if this waste does not dissolve fully, crystals are formed and these might get stuck in the ureter. Renal stones are common though and can be treated effectively. But you should first know how to detect it.
Signs and Symptoms
If kidney stones are small, they might pass on with urine, and not cause any pain. But large stones can obstruct the flow of urine and lead to severe pain. Also remember that the location of the stone and the way it is travelling through your urinary tract can affect the symptoms you face. Sometimes, you might feel a sharp pain in your back or lower abdomen. In other cases, the pain may be constant or come and go, or the intensity might fluctuate.
Here are some other symptoms to watch out for
This laser sends intense and short infrared light pulses to break the stones into tiny pieces, which can then be passed out with urine. Patients also face lesser complications and get well quickly too.
More on the procedure
The laser beam passes through a 0.2mm wide wire, which can easily rotate to reach stones whether big or small. Any location in the kidneys, tubes or bladders also becomes easily accessible. Hence the wire can directly contact the stone, without harming any other tissue.
In laser lithotripsy, a very thin tube with a small camera is inserted into the patient’s urethra to guide the doctor towards the stone. Laser pulses, each lasting not even 0.0003 seconds are then targeted towards the stone. Depending on the number and size of stones, this treatment takes 10 minutes to 1 hour and is conducted under general anesthesia. The patients recover fast and are discharged soon after. The disintegrated pieces of the stones are also sent for analysis to see what is causing the problem and how the patient can prevent it in future.
Kidney stones can be prevented by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol. If the stones are being caused by uric acid, ammonia, or calcium, then certain diet changes might be suggested.
Haematuria refers to a medical condition where blood is passed out with urine. Blood can ooze out in tiny droplets or in large volume, often causing discomfort and pain.
Urine mostly has a reddish hue when you have this condition, and can be colored anything ranging from pink to a darkish brown. While in many cases this disease may be caused by trivial underlying issues, there may be major complications at work too. Hence, you should consult a doctor right away if you locate any symptoms such as abdominal pain, frequent urination, etc.
Causes of haematuria
Urinary tract infection (UTI) - UTI is caused when foreign bodies like viruses or bacteria get accumulated in the urinary tract. This causes haematuria, as the kidneys may be affected leading to leakage of red blood cells into the urine.
Cancer - There are various types of cancer that may cause blood to come through the urine. These include prostate, renal and bladder cancer. This is a symptom visible during advanced stages of the cancers when treatment becomes difficult.
Kidney or gallbladder stones - This is another type of serious ailment that may cause haematuria as a symptom. The key difference from the other causal factors of haematuria is that in this case bleeding is very painful.
Traumatic injury to kidneys - A sharp hit or blunt attack to the kidneys you may sustain while falling down or a vehicle crash may cause internal injuries in the kidney and make blood show up in your urine.
Treating haematuria: What are the different approaches?
To treat haematuria, most doctors generally treat the underlying disease that is causing it as a symptom. The treatment entails-
Several types of anti-bacterial or antifungal agents are used to treat urinary tract infections. These medicines can both be prescribed by a doctor or bought over the counter.
Kidney and bladder stones may heal if you drink a lot of water. However, in very severe cases, you may need a surgical procedure called lithotripsy. Lithotripsy involves using ultrasound shock waves that break kidney stones into tiny particles and passes them out of your body.
When the traumatic injury is the underlying factor, drugs or bandages may help, but you should also not ignore large injuries. In such cases, surgery may be required to set things right.
Haematuria is the medical name for the condition in which either small or large amounts of blood become visible in your urine. While this condition may be developing in you due to a number of reasons that may be minor, you should get yourself checked anyway.
When the doctor informs you that you have stones in your kidney or gallbladder, the typical reaction it evokes is panic. Though you have been suffering from excruciating and unbearable pain for a long time, the idea of having stones inside your body is not exactly a happy feeling.
Stones are small crystallized formation which mainly occurs in the kidney, along with urinary tract in the urethra, bladder, and urethra or in gallbladder. The common causes of stones in the body are-
1. Drinking less water
2. High cholesterol levels in your liver
3. Overconcentration of bile in the gallbladder
About 30% of the world population suffers from kidney stones and about 10% have stones in their gallbladder.
Myths vs Facts-
1. Drinking cranberry juice will help eliminate kidney stones: Doctors say that though cranberry juice helps cure urinary tract infections, it will certainly make the condition of kidney stones worse. Cranberry is high in oxalate and stimulates the growth of further stones. The correct treatment is drinking six to eight glasses of water every day to increase urine flow for the stones to pass out from your system. Also drinking citrus juice every day can prevent stone formation.
2. Prolonged immobility increases the risk of stone formation: This is true as more physically active you are, the lower your chances are of having stones. One should always engage in moderate physical activity and keep in mind to replace the fluid loss that happens through sweating by drinking water and juices.
3. Calcium intake aggravates the problem of renal stones: A commonly believed rumor, that stone formation in the body and high levels of calcium in the body are inter-related. This is mostly because, most of the stones that are removed from the body and analyzed contain 75% calcium. However, this is not the reality. Drinking a glass of milk or yogurt with food intake rich in magnesium helps bind the oxalate in the digestive tract and prevents stone formation. Lower levels of oxalate increase the risk of stone formation.
4. Apple cider vinegar helps you dissolve bladder stones: It is a high source of calcium, potassium, malic and acetic acid, but it does not control the pH level of the body. Rather it causes an imbalance in the acid formation in the body. A common misconception is that most people who have gallstones suffer from acidity. However, this is not true. Gallstones occur when you don’t eat properly or take high fat containing diet. Over 95% people who have stones in the gallbladder have a minimum of 2-hour gap between the time they wake up and do breakfast. Over 40% of people with gallstones skip breakfast and over 60% eat a very late dinner. As this routine continues until the next day, the body starts releasing acids in your stomach, causing headaches.
5. Stone formation is entirely hereditary: This myth has propagated from the false notion that the probability of developing stones inside the body is hereditary. Stones formation in the bladder and kidney is largely based on dietary and lifestyle habits of an individual. This myth makes people more ignorant about this disease and it has also compounded the fact that those with family history of stones have a 2.5% more risk.
6. Medicines can break or dissolve the renal stones: There is no medicine which can break or dissolve the renal stones. Medicines only help in flushing the stone out from the system.
7. Misconceptions about certain foods as cause of stone formation: Balanced diet is more important in preventing stone formation than avoidance of any particular food item. Plenty of oral fluids, help in diluting and washing away of early stone formations, resulting in prevention of stone.
Kidney stones are formed inside the kidneys and tend to block them up. They are nothing but a type of mineral deposits inside the kidneys. An excruciating pain is caused when a person has stone in his kidney. But the right change in your lifestyle can prevent your kidney stones. People with family history of kidney stones should take extra precaution. Mentioned below are a few ways that can help prevent kidney stones:
So, these are some of the ways in which you can prevent the formation of kidney stones and save yourself from the pain that follows. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Kidney stones are one of the most common urinary tract disorders. These stones are the result of an abnormal concentration of urine. The stones might get unnoticed, till it moves around the kidney or passes into the ureter. The stones are basically small deposits of calcium that can cause excruciating pain.
Here is a list of signs that can indicate that a person might be suffering from kidney stone disorder:
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
What are Kidney Stones?
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