Do you know that kidneys play a vital role in removing waste material from your body and making urine? Without the function that kidneys play, human beings won’t be able to survive. However, sometimes, the body makes too much waste in the blood, and not enough urine is being produced. In these cases, crystals start forming in the kidneys.
These crystals in the kidneys attract other wastes and chemicals to form a solid object. And this solid object is known as a kidney stone. The kidney stone will get larger until it starts to hurt and is passed out of the body in the urine. You might find it interesting to note that kidney stones can be small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.
Kidney stone removal often requires surgery. In the market, you can also find medicine to break up kidney stones. If you are suffering from this condition, then you are in the right place. Today, we will take you through everything that you need to know about kidney stones and the treatment of kidney stones.
The Causes and Risk Factors of Kidney Stones
Before getting a kidney stone surgery, it is important to know about the causes and risk factors involved with this medical condition. It should be noted that anybody can get kidney stones. However, there are some people who are more likely than others to develop this condition.
According to studies, men suffer from kidney stones more often than women. Kidney stones are also more common in non-Hispanic white people than individuals from other ethnicities. One is also more likely to suffer from kidney stones if:
- He or she has had kidney stones before
- Someone in the family has suffered from kidney stones
- One doesn’t drink enough water
- The individual follows a diet high in protein, sodium, and sugar
- The individual is obese or overweight
- One has had gastric bypass surgery or some other intestinal surgery
- Suffering from polycystic kidney disease or other cystic kidney diseases
- Suffering from a condition that causes the urine to have high levels of cystine, oxalate, calcium, or uric acid
- The individual has a condition that causes swelling or irritation in the joints or the bowel
- The individual is taking certain medicines like calcium-based antacids or diuretics, which are also known as water pills
What are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
People who have very small kidney stones don’t even experience any symptoms or know that they are suffering from kidney stones. But if an individual has larger kidney stones, then he or she may notice the following symptoms.
- Blood in urine
- Pain while urinating
- Sharp pain in the back
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then you should contact a doctor as soon as possible.
The Treatment for Kidney Stones
According to medical professionals, the exact treatment for kidney stones depends on the size of the stone, the material that it is made of, whether it’s causing any pain, or if it is blocking the urinary tract. To understand all of these factors, the doctor might ask the patient to get a urine test, blood test, CT scan, or x-ray done.
After the test results, if it shows that the patient has a small kidney stone, then the doctor would provide the patient with some medicine and ask him or her to drink plenty of fluids. This will help in pushing the stone through the urinary tract. But if the stone is large or if it’s blocking the urinary tract, then additional treatment would be required.
This additional treatment can be in the form of shock wave lithotripsy. During this treatment, the doctor would use shock waves to break up the kidney stone into smaller pieces. These smaller kidney stones will pass through the urinary tract and out of the body with the urine. This treatment can usually take around 45 minutes to one hour and it can be done under general anesthesia.
Ureteroscopy is another treatment option that the doctor might recommend. This treatment is also done under general anesthesia. During this treatment, the doctor will use a long tool that is shaped like a tube to remove the stone or find it and break it into smaller pieces. If the doctor is unable to break the kidney stone, then a laser can be used to break the stone into smaller pieces so that it can pass through the urinary tract.
You might also find it interesting to note that in some rare cases a surgery, which is known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy, might be performed to remove the kidney stone. During this surgery, a tube is directly inserted into the kidney. This tube helps in removing kidney stones from the body. If this treatment option is opted by your doctor, then the patient will be required to stay in the hospital for two to three days to recover from the treatment.
How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones?
Kidney stone is not a small medical condition. This condition can require extensive treatment and that is why it’s always better for an individual to avoid developing this condition in the first place.
According to medical experts, the best way to prevent most kidney stones is by drinking enough fluids every day. Individuals should drink at least eight to twelve cups of fluid per day. If an individual has kidney disease, then he or she should limit his or her intake of fluids and only consume the amount recommended by his or her doctor.
Limiting the consumption of sodium and animal protein like eggs and meat can also help in preventing kidney stones. You should also avoid taking or stopping any particular diet or medications without consulting a medical professional first. If you follow all of these tips, then you can actively prevent suffering from kidney stones.