Kidney Stones Types :
It’s not necessary for all the kidney stones to be made up of the same types of crystals.
Given below are the four primary types of kidney stones.
Calcium stones are the most prominent types of kidney stones. These are generally made up of calcium oxalate. However, on some occasions, calcium phosphate and maleate are also present. It is advised to eat foods with less oxalate content to minimize the threat of these types of stones.
Foods with greater oxalate content include all types of chips or fries, spinach, chocolates, etc. Spinach and beets too contain oxalate in large amounts. Interestingly, though certain kidney stones are made up of calcium, having adequate calcium in the diet helps in the prevention of stone formation. Infact, cutting on sodium in your diet helps in the prevention of calcium stones.
Uric Acid :
Uric Acid kidney stones are predominantly found in men, in comparison to women. People with gout issues and those undergoing some kind of chemotherapy also are more prone to these kidney stones. People having severely acidic urine have more tendency of formation of these stones. It is advised thus to avoid foods with high Purine content, which is known for making urine acidic. Purines are mostly found within animal proteins.
This kind of kidney stone is comparatively found more among women than the men. To be specific, women with issues of urinary tract infections hold higher threats of forming such stones. Struvite stones are comparatively larger and often lead to urinary blockage. The patient finds it painful and difficult to pass urine. These occur due to kidney infections. Proper treatment of these infections can thus prevent the formation of Struvite stones.
These are among the least found kidney stones and are equally common among both men and women. To be specific, men or women with a genetic disorder called Cystinuria are more prone to these types of stones. Biologically, Cystine is a kind of acid that is generally found within the body, which gets leaked into the urine through kidneys.
Kidney Stones Causes :
The primary cause of behind kidney stone is the lesser content of water in the body.
In short, people who drink less water on a daily basis have major threats of getting kidney stones. It is thus recommended that you should drink at least 2-3 liters of water in a day.
- When the body lacks an adequate amount of water that is required for the dilution of uric acid, the urine gets acidic.
- When urine gets excessively acidic, it leads to the formation of kidney stones.
Apart from this, the factors like infections within the urinary tract, issues like Crohn’s disease, Dent’s disease also lead to the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones occurring due to factors like renal tubular acidosis are also pretty common.
Kidney Stones Signs and Symptoms :
In general, kidney stones show no symptoms until they move into the Ureter. Once these stones enter the Ureter, the following symptoms are usually seen.
- Sharp pain in the groin region and side areas
- Signs of blood while passing urine (hematuria)
- Frequent nausea and vomiting
- Pus observed in urine
- Passing less amount of urine
- Burning and itching sensation when passing urine
- The frequent feeling of urination
- Sometimes, the occurrence of fever/chills
Diseases that can cause kidney stones :
A kidney stone can be a result of certain diseases like Crohn’s disease, renal tubular acidosis, Dent’s disease, etc. People undergoing chemotherapy also have possibilities of suffering from kidney stones.
A word about Kidney stone pain :
During the formation stage, Kidney stones often don’t cause any pain. However, as these get into crystalline structure, they start giving pain. It also causes excruciating pain while it gets travels down the body on its own.
Kidney Stones Diagnosis and Testing :
- Blood Tests : These tests inform about the presences of too much calcium or uric acid in your blood. It helps doctors to check the health of your kidney.
- Urine Testing : Doctor may advise you to have two urine collections for two consecutive days to assess the amount of stone forming minerals present in your urine.
- Imaging : Imaging tests may include simple abdominal X-rays, high speed, dual energy computerized tomography (CT), and ultrasound to reveal the presence of kidney stones in your urinary tract. One advanced test is intravenous urography where a dye is injected into an arm vein and x-rays or CT images are taken as dye travels through kidney and bladder.
- Analyzing passed Kidney Stones : You will pass urine through a strainer so kidney stones passing through urine can be collected and analyzed in a lab.
Kidney Stones Treatment :
Can Kidney Stones be treated without Surgery?
Yes, Most urinary / kidney stones will be treated without surgery. 90% of kidney stones go themselves within 3 to 6 weeks. during this scenario, the only treatment needed is pain relief. However, if pain is severe than hospital admission required and pain-relieving medication will be given to the patient. Small stones can pass through urine by :
- Drinking Enough Water / Fluid: The key to flush stones through urine is to drink at least 2-3 liters water.
- Medications: Doctors may prescribe certain pain relievers to ease the pain and other medications to break and dissolve stones. Antibiotics are advised to counter infections.
Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery (RIRS) :
The advent of flexible ureteroscopes has allowed intraureteral and renal lithotripsy regardless of the size and location of stone. Ureterorenoscopy using flexible ureteroscope is called Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery (RIRS). It can be easily used for stones anywhere in the tract. It is especially suited for patients where ESWL cannot be performed (bleeding disorders; obesity) or has failed. With these flexible scopes, virtually any area of the upper collecting system can be visualized by the surgeon.
Its advantages include no incision on the body, short hospital stay & early recovery. The procedure is expensive as the equipment is costly, even doctors need special training to perform it. It is a major leap in endourology in managing urolithiasis and other pathologies in kidney.
This minimally invasive urology procedure is generally used for cases that are otherwise difficult to treat, such as :
- Failed attempts at treatment
- Kidney stones too large for treatment by lithotripsy
- Strictures in the kidney
- Tumours in the kidney
- Kidney stones among children
- Bleeding disorders in the kidneys
- Grossly obese patients
Kidney Stone : Ureterorenoscopic (URS) Lithotripsy with Holmium Laser Treatment
In those instances when the stone is stuck within the bladder or Ureter, doctors use a device called Ureteroscope for its removal. It is a non-invasive method as there is no incision required. It’s a small wire with a snapper integrated, which is inserted within the Urethra and moved within the bladder. A laser fiber is used to transmit the Holmium energy that breaks up the kidney stone and the surgeon removes a few broken pieces through urethra using a small basket. Smaller pieces pass through urination. Sometimes, doctors insert a tube known as a stent between urethra and kidney to make it easy to pass kidney stones and improve healing.
Kidney Stone: Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)
Lithotripsy can be understood as the extracorporeal shock waves (electromagnetic), which are the sound waves, mostly used for breaking down the bigger size stones, making these smoothly pass into the bladder. It’s a complex process and often requires anesthesia. The person may feel strain around abdomen region and back. There may be chances of bleeding around the kidney regions as well.
Kidney Stone : Percutaneous Nephrostolithotomy (PCNL)
This method involves the removal of a stone through a tiny incision in the concerned person’s back. These methods are recommended when:
- The stone leads to hindrance causing infection or damages within the kidney.
- When the stone is too big to pass smoothly
A person suffers from extreme pain.
Read about : Kidney Stone Treatment During Pregnancy
Certain Home Remedies for Treating Kidney Stone :
- Drink more water - At the preliminary stage, it can get dissolved through certain medications as well. Extremely small sized kidneys get naturally removed through urine if you drink more water.
- Avoid Oxalate - rich foods–Do not eat oxalate-rich foods such as certain fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and even chocolate and tea.
- Lemon Juice - Lemon juice can be effective if the stone is formed due to Citrate issues. You can add lemon juice to your water as many times as you want. Citrate in lemon prevents the formation of kidney stones and can even help dissolve small stones.
- Basil Juice - Basil juice can also be effective in the treatment of these issues. Basil juice contains acetic acid that helps break and dissolve kidney stones.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - It contains acetic acid that helps to dissolve kidney stones. Mix a teaspoon this product in a glass of water and drink throughout the day.
- Pomegranate Juice - It is a rich source of antioxidants and is good for overall health of kidneys as it flushes out kidney stones and other toxins from your body.
Kidney Stones Risk factors :
Men are often more prone to kidney stones as compared to women. Heredity also plays as a risk factor if someone in the family had such an issue.
Apart from this, other mild risk factors include things such as:
- Obesity, eating foods with higher protein content regularly eating foods with higher calories excessive salt intake, etc.
- People who have gone through Gastric bypass surgery, chemotherapies, with hyper parathyroid symptoms, etc. also hold risks of kidney stones.
- People who take medicines like antacids with higher calcium content can have such problems.
- Another health issue that can increase the chances of getting kidney stones is problems in bowel movements, or specifically, the inflammatory bowel diseases.
Read about : 8 Ways to Reduce Risk of Kidney Stones
Kidney Stones Prevention :
Formation of kidney stones can be prevented with proper diet, plenty of water and the right medication.
Here are the ways to lower the chance of having kidney stones.
- Stay hydrated
- Cut on foods having calcium oxalate such as grapefruit, cranberry juice, spinach, potatoes, soybean etc
- Limit salt intake
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Avoid alcohol
- Cut on caffeine intakes such as foods like chocolate, teas, certain sodas, and energy drinks
- Avoid sugary drinks
- Get the right amount of dietary calcium such as foods like some cereals, orange juice, tofu, soy sauce etc.
- Increase the intake of foods having citric acidic such as lemon juice, orange juice, lemonade, melon, mango juice
- Control the consumption of high-acid foods
- Taking supplements and vitamins
- Taking different natural vitamins can help prevent the formation of kidney stones
Read about : Kidney Stone Prevention Steps
Kidney Stone Patients Diet :
A healthy kidney stone diet Includes:
- Drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water
- Limit salt intake, high added sugars, and products containing high fructose corn syrup
- Cut on animal protein such as red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood
- Drink citrus juices
- Eat calcium-rich food
- Avoid food rich in oxalates and phosphates
Kidney Stone Patients FAQ to Ask Doctor :
How can kidney stones be a problem?
Kidney stone, first of all, can cause unbearable pain. It needs to be treated as soon as possible. Delaying treatments may lead to kidney failure or may even be a cause of cancer.
What are the first signs of kidney stones?
Among the most common signs of having kidney stones include excruciating pain in the groin and its sides, passing less amount of urine than usual, burning sensation while passing urine, nausea, vomiting, the presence of pus and blood in urine.
What is the main cause of kidney stone?
Are Kidney Stones serious?
Can I die from a kidney stone?
What is the prevention of kidney stone?
What is the risk factor of kidney stone?
Why Kidney Stones are Considered Dangerous?
What is the diet of kidney patients?
When to see a doctor for kidney stones?
- Severe pain
- Blood in urine
- A strong urge to urinate
- Difficulty passing urine
- A burning sensation while urinating
How do doctors remove my kidney stone at RG Hospital?
If the problem is caught early and doctors do not find it alarming, they can prescribe ways, so stone passes down easily, naturally. Another effective method that does not involve invasive surgery is performing laser treatment of the kidney stone.
If the problem is more critical, doctors can advise different modes of treatment depending upon the condition of the patient and stone.