Kidney stones are small crystals composed of mineral and acid salts. They usually form inside the kidney and can migrate to other parts of the urinary tract. These mineral deposits are not harmful by themselves; however, when these pass through the ureters, it can be extremely painful.
There are many types of Kidneys stones the most common of which are Calcium based like calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. these stones usually form due to supersaturation of urine from dehydration but they could also be due to certain diseases of the parathyroid glans, the intestines or the kidneys. On the other hand, uric acid stones are common in people with a high-protein diet or they suffer from increased uric acid in the blood because of gout or other hematological blood disorders.
Struvite stones usually affect people with recurrent kidney infection. These can become large and can fill the entire kidney.
Cystine stones are a rare form of kidney stones since these are caused by the hereditary disorder, cystinuria. It is a condition wherein the kidney excretes an abnormally high amount of certain amino acids.
Symptoms of kidney stones
Usually Kidney stones cause no symptoms and they are often detected co-incidentally in scans of the abdomen unless they are big enough to cause blockage inside the kidney or they irritate the kidneys to cause blood in the urine. on the other hand if these stones pass down in the ureter then they can cause very sever pain called renal colic which is an emergency
Tests & Diagnosis
Physical examination, blood and urine tests are initial investigations. Ultrasound scan and x-ray for the kidneys or better CT scan is the preferred investigation. This will allow the localisation of the stone and planning for treatment.
Shockwave therapy: Is a non-invasive method of braking stones using sonic waves from outside the body. usually fragments then pass in the urine after fragmentation. This treatment is usually suitable for stones Upto 2cm in the kidneys.
Laser: Ureteroscopy and laser fragmentation is another method of treating kidney stones , which is usually done as a day case under general anesthesia. This method is more successful in clearing certain types of kidney and ureteric stones.
PCNL (percutaneous nephro-lithotripsy) : is a surgical treatment that utilises a small access through a keyhole incision in the back to reach the kidney stones. Various sources of energy can be used to fragment stones using this method, which is usually useful for multiple or large stones in the kidney.
Open or Laparoscopic Surgey to remove the kidney sometimes is required if the kidney has lost its function or causing recurrent infections.
Keeping the body hydrated is the most effective and recommended preventive measure. Experts say a person must drink around 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. To liven up your hydration process, you may substitute ginger ale or fruit juice. If you have a history of recurrent kidney stones then your doctor may prescribe certain medications to prevent these from recurring.