The primary function of our kidneys is to filter out waste from the blood, in the form of urine. Whatever waste or excess substances and fluids are present in our body, they are excreted out with urine. However, when there is an excess of waste and in comparison to it, a lesser amount of fluid in the blood, these waste substances start building up in the form of clumps and stones, resulting in kidney stones. Such stones mostly develop in the kidneys, but they might also develop in any other part of the urinary tract like urethra, bladder, and ureters.
Symptoms of kidney stones
Symptoms of kidney stones develop when the stone starts moving towards the ureters. It causes a lot of pain on one side of your abdomen and in your back. In men, the pain may also occur in the groin area, which might become intense with time. Some other signs and symptoms of kidney stones include,
· Blood in urine
· Foul-smelling or discolored urine
· Frequent urge to urinate
· Difficulty in passing urine
· Burning sensation while urination
In case, when the kidney stone is tiny, you might not experience any pain or any of the above-mentioned symptoms when the stone passes unnoticed through the urinary tract.
Risk factors and Causes of kidney stones
Factors that are responsible for the development of kidney stones in your body are-
- Dehydration– The most common cause of development of kidney stone is the lack of a sufficient amount of water in your body. When you don’t drink enough water, there is a lesser amount of fluid in your blood and more amount of waste which results in a buildup of stones. Also, enough water is required to dilute uric acid, a component present in urine. When you suffer from dehydration, the uric acid cannot be adequately diluted, thus making the urine more acidic. Such conditions give rise to problems like kidney stones and urinary tract infection.
- Family history– If anyone in your family has a history of kidney stone, then you are at risk of getting it too. Also, if you ever suffered from a kidney stone in the past, then chances are you might develop this condition again if you do not take care of your health.
- Diet- You might be at higher risk of getting kidney stone if you mostly eat food that contains a high amount of sodium, sugar, and protein. Notably, a high sodium diet should be avoided because it leads to the formation of kidney stones in your body.
- Certain medical conditions- Diseases like cystinuria, renal tubular acidosis, hyperparathyroidism, and certain urinary tract infections may lead to the development of kidney stones in your body.
Treatment for kidney stones
There are different kinds of treatment options available for kidney stones depending upon the size of the stone. Kidney stones that are smaller and not causing any severe symptoms can be treated with the following ways-
- Drinking water– Drinking around 3 to 5 liters of water in a day can help you get rid of smaller kidney stones. Water makes your kidney to function correctly. Also, it maintains the pH level of your urine so that it would not become acidic. Water also helps to break down the kidney stone and make it go out of your body through urine.
- Medications- Your doctor may prescribe you narcotics to relieve pain and antibiotics to fight infections. Sodium citrate and sodium bicarbonate can also be prescribed to reduce the acidity in urine.
Kidney stones that are large and painful can be treated with medical therapies and surgeries such as-
1. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (SWL)
Removal of stone by shock waves using X-rays or ultrasound to pinpoint the stone. Repeated firing of shock waves usually breaks down the stone into small pieces which then pass out in the urine over a few weeks.
2. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
Best for large kidney stones. During PCNL, a small incision is made in the back or side to allow a rigid telescope (nephroscope) to pass into the hollow center of the kidney where the stone is located. The instrument breaks up the stone and suctions out the pieces.
3. Ureteroscopy (URS)
URS involves passing a very small telescope (ureteroscope), into the bladder, up the ureter, and into the kidney to let the urologist see the stone without making an incision (cuts). Once the stone is spotted, a small, basket-like device grabs smaller stones and removes them. If a stone is too large to remove it is broken into smaller pieces with a laser or other stone-breaking tools, and then removed.
4. Parathyroid gland surgery
If you get kidney stones because of an enlarged parathyroid gland, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove one or more of the glands. The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone, which helps control the amount of calcium in the blood. If your parathyroid gland is too big (enlarged), it may lead to too much calcium in the urine. This makes it more likely you will have calcium kidney stones. In this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the front of your neck to remove the enlarged glands.
Prevention from Kidney Stones
Prevention of kidney stones consists of some medications and some minor changes in your lifestyle such as-
- Drinking adequate amount of water every day so that there are fewer chances of dehydration and development of kidney stone. If you live in a place with a dry and hot climate, you are likely to sweat more; therefore, you are at high risk of getting dehydrated so you should drink plenty of water.
- Go for the diet that has a low amount of sodium because an excess of sodium in your blood and body fluids can lead to the formation of kidney stone.
- If you have personal or family history of getting kidney stones, you should go for a regular health checkup, and you can ask your doctor to give you some medicines that prevent the formation of kidney stone and acidity in urine.
When to see a doctor?
If you have a small kidney stone that doesn’t create many complications, it can be easily treated by your family doctor. But if you have a large stone in kidney or are experiencing a lot of pain or other issues, your doctor may refer you to one of the best urologist in Lucknow or best Nephrologist in Lucknow who treats problems in the urinary tract. To book an appointment with the best experts, you can book an appointment at Midland Healthcare.