Drinking 1.5 to 3 litres of water a day will keep the urine dilute and prevent stones from forming.
Kidney Stones is not a life-threatening condition, but it definitely cannot be ignored. From mild discomfort to significant pain, Kidney Stones will make sure you take notice. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition
WHAT ARE KIDNEY STONES?
Hardened mineral deposits in the kidney are what we commonly call Kidney Stones. The kidneys are responsible for eliminating waste particles from the blood to form urine. When there isn’t enough fluid content, certain solid wastes accumulate to form hardened deposits, that if left unchecked for Kidney Stones. These ‘stones’ can form in any part of the urinary tract from the kidneys to the urinary bladder. Passing them out through the urinary tract can be very painful depending on the size of the stones. Kidney Stones do not cause permanent damage.
WHAT CAUSES KIDNEY STONES?
There is no one specific cause for Kidney Stones.
- Poor intake of water.
- Excessive Exercising, leading to dehydration
- Weight-loss surgery
- High Protein diet
- A diet that’s either too sugary or too salty
- Certain medications
A family history of Kidney Stones puts you at risk of acquiring the condition as well.
KIDNEY STONES SYMPTOMS
Severe pain on one side of the abdomen or back could signal kidney stones. Pain occurs only when the stones try to move through the ureters. The condition is found to be more common in men and the pain generally radiates towards the groins. The pain caused by kidney stones is called Renal Colic.
Other symptoms to watch out for:
- Blood in the urine
- Foul smelling urine
- Discoloured urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urinating in small amounts, but frequently
- Fever and chills.
If the Kidney Stones are small, then you may not feel much pain and the stones will pass out on their own through the urinary tract.
TYPES OF KIDNEY STONES
- Calcium Stones are the most common. They are caused by eating High Oxalate foods such as potato chips, spinach, beets, chocolates and peanuts. Interestingly even though these stones are made of calcium, including sufficient amounts of calcium in your food prevents the formation of calcium stones.
- When your urine is too acidic, it can lead to uric acid stones. This type of kidney stones is more common in men. It can also occur in people who lose too much fluid due to diarrhoea or malabsorption. A heavy protein diet can also cause uric acid stones.
- Struvite Stones form as a result of certain urinary tract infections. These stones develop pretty fast and can grow quite large, without any symptoms. They are made of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate.
- Cystine stones are made of cystine, a chemical made by your body. These stones form in people with a hereditary disorder called cystinuria causes cystine to leak from the kidneys into the urine. This is a very rare type of Kidney Stones.
KIDNEY STONES TREATMENT
Your doctor will decide the kind of treatment for Kidney Stones depending on the type of stones and how large they are. In order to determine these factors, the patient will be required to go through a blood test and a urine test to determine the content of the stones. Next, imaging will reveal their location and size.
Treatment options for Small Stones:
- Hydrating. Drinking 1.5 to 3 litres of water a day will keep the urine dilute and prevent stones from forming. The small stones will pass through the urine.
- Pain Relief. Even though the stones are small, some discomfort is caused as they pass through the urethra along with the urine. Pain relievers will help manage the pain.
- Medication. The doctor might give you alpha blockers to relax the muscles in the ureter, helping the patient pass the kidney stone more quickly and with less pain.
Treatment options for Large Stones:
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL). In this method sound waves are used to break up the stones into pieces that are small enough to pass through the ureter. The procedure takes about an hour and will require the patient to be under general anaesthesia given the moderate pain involved.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy. This is a surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the back in order to directly remove the stone from the kidney. This procedure may require the patient to stay in the hospital for a couple of days.
- Ureteroscopy. An endoscope is inserted through the ureter to remove or break-down the stone. The broken pieces are passed out of the body through the urine. A stent is placed at the point where the stone was removed to relieve swelling and promote healing.
- Kidney Stones can form due to overactive parathyroid glands that are secreting too much parathyroid hormone that increases calcium levels in the body. Hyperparathyroidism sometimes occurs when a small, benign tumour forms in one of the parathyroid glands. Removing the growth from the gland stops the formation of kidney stones.
Staying hydrated and avoiding high-oxalate foods is the best way to prevent Kidney Stones. However, if you develop stones, rest assured that the stones can be eliminated and you can return to normal life in no time.