Kidney stones are hard mass deposits that form in the kidney or ureter. They are made up of tiny crystalline minerals and acid salts that settle out of the urine and stick together.
They could vary in size and texture and can usually go unnoticed until they cause a blockage. This can then cause excruciating pain as they make their way into the ureter (the urine carrying tubes that connect the kidneys and the bladder).
Kidney stones are a common problem, that most people experience. Although this is not a life threatening disease, it can be very painful if you ignore it. Here are what you should know about symptoms, causes and treatments of kidney stones.
There are no specific causes of kidney stones. They form when the urine cannot dilute crystal forming minerals such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid. These crystals then stick together, creating kidney stones. Knowing the type of kidney stone helps determine its cause, which can help reduce future risks of developing them.
Kidney stones go unnoticed, until they begin to move to the ureter and block the urine flow, causing severe pain. Here are a few symptoms of kidney stones that one should be aware of.
Pain in the abdomen or back
Pain spreading to the groin area or testicles
Blood in the urine
Nausea or vomiting
Burning sensation during urination
Kidney stone treatments depend on the type of stone and its severity.
Small kidney stones of about 5mm can be passed out through urine. Your doctor will recommend you drink plenty of water so that the stone gets flushed out of your body faster. After the stone passes, you need to send it for testing.
If the stone is about 10mm, the doctor prescribes medicines that help break down the stone for it to pass through the urine.
Another common medical procedure is the Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL). During this therapy, shock waves are passed through the skin of your abdomen for your kidney stone to break up and pass out through the urine.
When the stone is large and cannot be removed through any of the above mentioned procedures, the doctor recommends a keyhole surgery. These surgeries include Percutaneous nephrolithotomy or a Ureteroscopy.