Urine is formed when kidneys filter waste products from blood. Sometimes salts and other minerals in urine combine to form small kidney stones. They range from size of sugar crystals to ping pong balls, but are rarely noticed unless they are causing a blockage. They can cause severe pain and even blood in urine.symptoms of kidney stones
When kidney stones pass through urinary tract, they can cause:
Small kidney stones can pass through urinary system without causing symptoms.
If you experience sudden severe pain in your back or abdomen, it is best to seek medical attention right away. Abdominal pain is associated with many other conditions, including emergency conditions such as appendicitis and ectopic pregnancy. Painful urination is also a common symptom of a UTI or STD.Diagnosis of kidney stones
Kidney stones are rarely diagnosed until they start to cause pain. The pain is usually severe enough to send patient to emergency room, where various tests can reveal stone. These may include CT scans, x-rays, ultrasounds, and urinalysis. Blood tests can help find bulk minerals associated with kidney stone formation.
The CT scan here shows a stone blocking ureter, a catheter that flows into bladder.
Home care for kidney stones
If kidney stone seems small, your doctor may suggest that you take pain medication and wait until stone passes on its own. During this time, your doctor may recommend that you drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear—8 to 10 glasses a day.
How small is small enough?
The smaller kidney stone, more likely it is to "leak" on its own. If it is less than 5 mm, then with a probability of 90% it will pass without further intervention. If stone is between 5mm and 10mm, chance is 50%. If the stone is too large to pass smoothly, several treatment options are available.address
There are some prescription drugs that can help body get rid of kidney stones. Medicines called alpha blockers relax walls of ureters. This will widen passage so that stones can pass through more easily. Side effects are usually mild and may include headache or dizziness. Other types of medications can help prevent new stones from forming.
Treatment: shock wave therapy
The most common treatment for kidney stones is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This treatment uses high energy shock waves to break kidney stones into smaller pieces. These small fragments can then more easily pass through urinary tract. Side effects may include bleeding, bruising, or postoperative pain.
When stones have leaked from kidneys and are close to bladder, most common procedure is ureteroscopy. A thin tube is passed through urinary tract to site of calculus. Surgeons disassemble stone and remove fragments through a tube. There are no cuts on body. Very large stones may require surgery.
Kidney stone analysis
After a kidney stone has passed or been removed, doctors may want to know what it is made of. Nearly 80% of kidney stones are calcium based. The rest is mostly uric acid or cystine. Chemical analysis can determine what type of stone you have. Once you know this, you can take steps to prevent a new future from being formed.What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones can form when normal balance of water, salts and minerals in urine changes. Different changes cause different types of kidney stones. There are many factors that can cause changes in your urine, from chronic diseases to your diet.
Controlled risk factors
Too little water intake is most common cause of kidney stones. Diet also plays an important role. Eating plenty of animal protein, sodium, and high-oxalate foods like chocolate or dark green vegetables may increase risk of kidney stones in some people. Other risk factors include drinking sugary drinks, gaining weight, and taking certain medications.
Risk factors you can't control
Beginning at age 40, white men are at greater risk of kidney stones than other population groups. In 50s, women thought their risk was on rise. Your chances also go up if you have a family history of kidney stones. Certain medical conditions increase risk - high blood pressure, gout, urinary tract infections, certain kidney diseases such as polycystic kidney disease - but treating these conditions can often help prevent stones from forming.
Prevention of kidney stones
If you have a calcium stone, your doctor may recommend reducing your salt intake, which causes body to excrete more calcium in urine, as well as animal protein. You should also avoid high oxalate foods, including chocolate, instant coffee, tea, beans, berries, dark leafy greens, oranges, tofu, and sweet potatoes. The best way to prevent new kidney stones is to drink enough water to keep your urine clear.
The "paradox" of calcium
Although most kidney stones contain calcium, you probably don't need to avoid calcium-rich foods. In fact, eating dairy and other calcium-rich foods in moderation can reduce risk of new stones forming. This does not apply to calcium supplements, which have been linked to kidney stones in some people.