Kidney Stones: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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inflamed-sie_REV_web_105987101What ís a kidney stone? A kidney stone is small pebble-like formation that is brought about by minerals and salts found in the urine sticking together. These pebbles usually vary in size and may be as small as a sand grain or as big as a golf ball. These stones may either stay in your kidney or could travel out of the body via the urinary tract- the system that is responsible for making urine and carrying it out of the body. The urinary tract is made up of: the ureters, which are tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder; the urethra, which is the tube that leads urine from the bladder and out of your body; the kidneys themselves; and the bladder.When a kidney stones passes through a ureter it may or may not cause pain. In the event it does, the accompanying symptoms and pain could excruciating.

How are kidney stones formed?

Kidney stones are formed when there is a change in the normal balancing of water, minerals, salts and other substances found in our urine. The greatest cause of kidney stones is when one does not drink enough water. It is important that you drink lots of water; enough to turn your urine light yellow or clear just like water. The recommended amount is about 8-10 glasses every day. However, there are people who are likely to ail from kidney stones because of underlying medical conditions like gout.

At the same time, this condition could be inherited. If there are people in your family who have suffered this disease, then there is a high likelihood that you may too.

Symptoms

Often, kidney stones cause no pain while still in the kidney. However, they could cause sudden and excruciating pain as they start making their way from your kidneys to your bladder. It is important that you consult with your doctor if you think or feel like you have kidney stones. Keep an eye out for severe pain in your belly, groin or side. Also, be keen on the color of your urine when passing it out. If it looks red or pink then it may be a sign that somethingís wrong. You also may feel nauseated.

How are they diagnosed?

You may get to know that you are suffering from this condition when you first consult with your doctor or visit the emergency room with agonizing pain in your side or belly. The doctor may ask you questions about the pain you are feeling and your lifestyle. He/she will then examine you and may go ahead and do a couple of imaging tests like ultrasound or a CT scan in order to have a look at the condition of your urinary tract and kidneys.

In the event that you have more than one kidney stone or your family as a history with these stones, then more tests will have to be done. In order to find out the main cause of your kidney stones, the doctor may request for a blood test and may ask you to collect urine for 24 hours. This will make it easier for your doctor to find out whether or not you are likely to grow more stones as time passes by.

These stones may not necessarily have to painful. If, in your case, there is no pain, you may get to learn that you have them as your doctor conducts tests for other diseases.

Treatment

In most cases, your doctor may suggest that you go pass the stones in the comfort of your home. However, you may need to have pain medication by your side. You will be required to drink lots of water plus other fluids; this is important to ensure that you stay well hydrated. Often, the doctor will give you medicine that will help speed up the passing of these stones.

However, if one of the stones is too big to pass all on its own, or in the event it gets stuck in one of your urinary tracts, there will be need for more treatment. About 2 of every 10 kidney stone cases usually require specialized treatment.

For such a case, the most commonly used treatment option is ESWL or Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy. Under this option, shock waves are used to break down the stones into smaller pieces. This way, they can be passed out naturally through the urine. In other cases, the doctor will have to remove them or will place a small tube known as a stent in the ureter to ensure that it stays open while the stones pass.

Ways Of Preventing Kidney Stones

Once you have had kidney stones, it is very likely that you may have them again. To keep this from happening again, drink lots of water daily. Take enough water (8-10 glasses every day) that your urine turns clear or light yellow. You may or will have to avoid certain foods or eat them less. Once you have been treated, it is likely that your doctor will or may give you medication to help prevent them from forming again.

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