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Renal Sciences | Posted on 05/12/2020 by RBH
Our kidneys function effectively to convert the waste and fluid from the blood to urine. However, when this natural process is hampered because of too much waste and lesser fluids to dissolve the waste, these particles tend to accumulate in the kidneys forming clumps known as kidney stones. A kidney stone is formed when these excessive minerals build up in the urine because of lack of hydration. Therefore, kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts inside the kidneys; these deposits can be the size of a kernel, corn, or a grain of salt but in cases where they tend to show symptoms, kidney stones no matter the size can be extremely painful. Sometimes, these stones are very tiny and pass unnoticed through the urinary tract, unlike cases of acute pain or larger stones where there may be a need for medical intervention to allow the stone to pass or break the stone to remove it from causing further problems. These stones are brown or yellow in colour with a smooth or rough texture.
Calcium Stones: Most kidney stones are calcium stones and are formed of calcium oxalate which is naturally found in many food items and is also produced by the liver daily.
Struvite Stones: These kidney stones are formed because of an infection such as urinary tract infection. These stones have a tendency to grow big very fast with or without symptoms.
Uric Acid Stones: These stones are formed in people who do not drink enough water or sweat enough or eat high-protein diet and have gout.
Cystine Stones: These kidney stones are formed in people with a hereditary disorder, where the body excretes excessive amino acids (cystinuria).
Kidney stones can be caused due to multiple factors but they are created when the levels of minerals such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid are very high in the urine and they tend to accumulate overtime due to lack of fluids to dissolve them properly. That said, some of the factors that cause kidney stones or increase the risk of kidney stones are:
Kidney stones may not show any symptoms until they move around in the kidney or move from the kidney into the ureter. A lot of kidney stones are so small that you might not even know that they exist in the body. However, sometimes the stones cause a lot of pain when they stir or pass through, which is also one of the biggest symptoms of kidney stones. Some other symptoms include:
That said, one must call for immediate medical help in case these symptoms intensify to include:
The treatment for kidney stones depends on factors – the size of the stone, the composition of the stone, and whether or not it is causing pain or blocking the urinary tract. To know the accurate answer to these questions, the doctor will ask you to get some tests including urine tests, blood tests, CT scans, or X-rays. Once, the results of the test are clear, the doctor will suggest any of the following options as a course of treatment:
The course of treatment varies as per the case. Hence, it is very critical to identify symptoms and consult your doctor well before opting for a treatment method. Moreover, it is vital to know precautions to avoid recurrence of the kidney stones in the future.