Kidney stones are hard deposits, pebble-like pieces of material that form in one or both of your kidneys when the high levels of certain minerals and salts are found in your urine.
They can affect your kidneys, urinary tract, and bladder.
Common symptoms include:
The kidney stone starts hurting when it gets stuck and causes irritation or blockage in the urinary passage. Here are a few common symptoms:
- Intense pain in lower back
- Burning sensation
- Blood in your urine
- Nausea & vomiting
- Fever and chills, or
- Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy.
Kidney sizes of less than 5 mm can pass without any problem. However, a big kidney stone can block your flow of urine, causing severe pain or bleeding.
Kidney stones rarely cause permanent damage if identified early on and treated by an experienced urologist.
The largest stone ever recorded as per the Guinness World Record was just over 5 inches.
Why do Kidney Stones Occur?
Kidney stones have no definite, single cause. Here are a few factors that may play a role:
- Drinking too little water
- Too much or too little exercise
- Weight loss surgery
- Intake of too much salty and sugary food
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing stones due to higher filtration activity of their kidneys & increased calcium absorption
How is it diagnosed?
- Blood Tests
- Urine Tests
- X Ray & CT Scan
- Analysis of Passed Stones
- Treatment for Kidney Stones
Treatment for Kidney stones depends on:
- The size and quantity of stones
- The severity of infection symptoms
In case of small kidney stones, you would be able to pass them out through your urine. Your urologist may recommend you to:
- Drink 2 to 3.5 litres of water everyday
- Take pain killers to relieve mild pain caused by passing the stones
- Medications (known as alpha blockers) to help pass the stones
If the kidney stones are too large to pass or cause bleeding, kidney damage or UTI, a more extensive treatment. Here are a few treatment options
- Shock Wave Lithotripsy: In this procedure, sound waves are used to create strong vibrations which can break up the kidney stones into fragments that are then more easily passed out in the urine.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: This involves surgical removal of stones using tiny telescopes & instruments. This procedure is performed under anaesthesia.
- Ureteroscopy: A thin lighted tube, known as ureteroscope, is passed through the urethrea & bladder to remove the stone
Can Kidney Stones be prevented?
A few lifestyle changes can significantly cut down your risk of developing kidney stones. These include:
- To drink enough fluids to pass at least 2 litres of urine everyday.
- Eat more citrus fruits and vegetables.
- Limit sodium and animal protein diet.