Kidney stones are hard, crystal-like mineral materials formed in the urinary tract or kidney. These stones usually cause blood in the urine and pain in the groin, abdomen or flank. You may have kidney stones if you feel pain while urinating, feel a sharp pain in your lower abdomen or back or there’s blood in your urine. The pain may last for a long or short time. Nausea and vomiting sometimes accompany the pain. If the stone is small, it will pass on its own and you won’t feel any symptom at all. Removing kidney stones is extremely important because the pain can be potentially excruciating.
When to Call a Doctor
You should visit your doctor if you feel extreme pain in your lower abdomen or back, have blood in the urine, vomiting, fever and chills, your urine looks cloudy or smells bad or you feel pain when you urinate. These symptoms may mean you have kidney stone or a serious health condition.
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and conduct a physical exam to diagnose removing kidney stones and determine the right course of treatment for removing them. The doctor may ask if your family has a history of kidney stones. He will also ask you about your digestive problems, diet or other health issues. Your doctor may conduct imaging, blood and urine tests to complete the diagnosis.
Imaging tests are used to determine the location of stones in the body. The tests may also show problems that caused the stones to form in the first place. Blood tests can also show problems that caused kidney stones. Urine tests can show whether your urine has substances that cause stone or you are suffering from an infection.
Removing Kidney Stones
The treatment usually depends on what the stone is made of and its size. Your regular doctor or urologist (focuses on the urinary tract) may take care of the problem.
If a kidney stone is blocking the urinary tract or you’re suffering from symptoms of kidney stones, medical treatment is a must. Small stones usually don’t need treatment as they pass on their own, but you may still require pain medicine. Drink plenty of water for a faster kidney flush. If you don’t drink enough water or you vomit often, you may need to visit the hospital and get the fluids you need through a needle.
Large kidney stones or those that are blocking your urinary tract can be broken down and removed using different treatments.
A nephroscope, a thin viewing tool, is used to determine the location of the stone and remove it. The tool is fed directly into your kidney through a tiny incision made in your back. Shock waves may be used to break down larger stones into smaller fragments.
Ureteroscope, a long tool with an eyepiece, is used to determine the stone’s location. The tool is passed through the urethra and then the bladder into the ureter. Once the kidney is located, it can be removed or broken down into smaller fragments using laser energy.
Shock Wave Lithotripsy for Removing Kidney Stones
A shock wave machine is used to pulverize the kidney stones. The shock waves enter the body to break down the stone and help it pass through the urinary tract easily.
How to Prevent Kidney Stones
Prevention is always better than curing. However, you need to know the cause of your kidney stones if you want to prevent them from developing. You may be asked by your doctor to catch the stone as it passes in the urine. The stone will be sent to the lab to determine what kind of stone it is. If you were treated in the hospital and the stone was removed by your doctor, it will be sent to the lab as well for testing.
You may be asked to gather you urine for twenty-four hours after the stone has been removed or passed. Your doctor can measure the amount of urine you produce in one day. He will also be able to determine the level of minerals in your urine. If you have problems with your mineral levels or you don’t produce enough urine every day, you’re at a higher risk of developing kidney stones. You can then make changes in your diet, nutrition and eating habits once you know the kind of kidney stone you have. Your doctor may also give you medicines to prevent the development of kidney stones in the future.
If you want to prevent kidney stones from developing, you should change how much you consume of animal protein, fluids, oxalate, calcium and sodium. Drinking plenty of fluids every day is the best way to prevent the development of most kidney stones. Drink two to three liters of fluid every day. You should drink more if you have cystine stones.
Other fluids can also help prevent kidney stones like lemonade and orange juice. You should talk to your doctor if you cannot drink the suggested amount due to other problems like kidney failure, urinary frequency or urinary incontinence.
If you have calcium oxalate stones, you should reduce your consumption of sodium and animal protein like fish, meat and eggs. You should get enough calcium from the right foods or you can take calcium supplements. Avoid foods that are high in oxalate like wheat bran, spinach and rhubarb.
For uric acid stones, you should limit your consumption of animal protein. If you have calcium phosphate stones, you should reduce your animal protein and sodium consumption and get enough calcium by taking calcium supplements or eating the right foods.
As with any illness, prevention is still better than cure. Removing kidney stones at home is possible. If you can remove kidney stones through natural methods, you don’t need to undergo medical procedures like Shock Wave Lithotripsy, Ureteroscopy and Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy. These procedures sound painful. By making changes in your diet, you can remove kidney at home and you don’t need to deal with the pain and costs associated with medical procedures. You can help your body flush out the stones naturally.