Kidneys, the bean-shaped organs in our bodies, play an important role in flushing out toxins from the body in the form of urine. Urine is rich in dissolved salts and minerals. When these salts and minerals reach very high levels, they end up forming stones inside our kidneys, and hence the condition called kidney stones. The accumulated wastes form hard deposits which start as small masses but with time, increase in size to the point of filling the inner hollow structures of your kidneys. The stones that remain inside your kidneys rarely cause any problems.
At times, however, these stones will find their way into the ureter. This is a narrow tube that connects your kidney and the bladder. In the event that these stones travel to your bladder through the ureter, you are likely to pass this waste in the form of urine. Sometimes, the stone gets stuck in your ureter and when this happens it hinders the flow of waste from the kidneys. A dislodged kidney stone can be quite painful.
Kidney stones are quite prevalent in the Indian population. The incidence of kidney stones within the community setting in the country is estimated between eight and twelve percent. In other words, 1 person out of every 10 individuals is at risk of developing kidney stones in their lifetime. Specifically, the population in North India is highly prone to kidney stones. Some of the predisposing risk factors for the high incidence of kidney stones in North India include diet, hot climate, and lack of potable water.
Some of the home remedies to avoid kidney stones include drinking plenty of water. However, in the case of kidney stones dislodged in the urinary tract, you may need to undergo surgery to avoid complications.
What are the likely causes of kidney stones?
There is no single known cause of kidney stones; rather, several factors are thought to increase the risk of developing this condition. They include:
- Diet: The kind of diet that you take influences the formation of kidney stones. Specifically, a high level of calcium in your urine is implicated in the development of kidney stones. In other words, a diet rich in calcium might be a risk factor. Nonetheless, restricting calcium intake is not a guarantee that kidney stones will not form. In fact, limiting your dietary calcium can predispose you to the formation of kidney stones due to its effect on bone health. On the other hand, your diet should not be too high in calcium. Health care providers recommend reducing your sodium intake. A high intake of sodium prevents the reabsorption of calcium from urine into your bloodstream.
- Medical conditions: Certain health conditions elevate the risk of the formation of kidney stones. For instance, abnormal growth of the parathyroid gland is associated with the risk of developing kidney stones. This is because the parathyroid gland is involved in calcium metabolism. Consequently, this malfunction can trigger high levels of calcium in urine and blood and hence the development of kidney stones. Additionally, the accumulation of acid in your body, a condition known as distal renal tundral acidosis, further elevates the risk of kidney stones.
- Family history: If your grandparents, parents, or siblings have been diagnosed with kidney stones, this places you at a higher risk of being diagnosed with the condition
- Low urine volume: If the volume of your urine is constantly low, you are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones. Some of the factors that can trigger low urine volumes include dehydration which can occur after performing strenuous exercise, low intake of fluids, and a hot climate. Low volume urine is dark in color and highly concentrated. The problem can be rectified by increasing fluid intake and minimizing the risk of kidney stones.
How can I identify the symptoms of kidney stones?
Kidney stones can be quite painful, especially if they have lodged in the ureter, blocking the flow of waste into your bladder. At times, the symptoms of kidney stones only become apparent after the stone has reached the ureter. This causes severe pain, known as renal colic. This kind of pain is on one side of the abdomen or back.
Most men who have renal colic report feeling the pain that comes from the groin area. Such pain can be quite intense and individuals experiencing this kind of pain are very restless. Kidney stones may also manifest in other symptoms such as:
- Blood in urine
- Small quantities of urine output
- A feeling that you urgently need to pass urine
- The color of your urine turns red or dark due to the presence of blood
- Vomiting and nausea
- Some men report experiencing pain at the tip of the penis
- Passing urine that has a foul smell to it or is cloudy
- In case of an infection, you are likely to feel chill and develop a fever
Small kidney stones rarely manifest any symptoms or pain, even as the stones traverse your urinary tract. The stone moving through your urinary tract is also likely to move in a different direction. The pain may increase in intensity to signify this movement.
Diagnosing kidney stones
In case your general practitioner has a reason to believe that you may have kidney stones, you will need to undergo diagnostic procedures and tests to confirm the diagnosis. Examples of such tests and procedures include:
- Urine testing: The test determines the amount of urine one produces in a day. The procedure involves the collection of urine over the duration of 24 hours. Additionally, the test checks for the acidity in the urine. Other measures of this test include sodium, oxalate, creatinine, and calcium levels in your urine. It may be necessary for you to collect two urine samples over the duration of 48 hours.
- Blood testing: The goal of this test is to identify the level of uric acid and calcium in your blood. Through the blood test results, your doctor is in a position to establish the health of your kidneys and identify the presence of other health conditions.
- Imaging: This diagnostic test is highly preferred because it can accurately detect the presence of even the smallest kidney stones that other tests may miss such as ultrasonography. The test entails the use of computed tomography (CT) scan that utilizes x-ray beams to capture images from various angles. The images captured are processed and produced by a computer. The test results are a three-dimensional image of the scanned area.
- Ultrasound: This is an easy quick and safe test for kidney stones. There is no radiation involved. The test relies on sound waves to develop images. The sound waves are sent and received via a device known as a transducer. A computer helps to process the sound waves received thereby generating images.
What are the treatment options for kidney stones?
The kind of treatment for kidney stones differs, based on the causes and the nature of the stones. If the stones in the kidney are small and do not portray any symptoms, it is not necessary to undergo invasive treatment.
The following will aid in the passage of these small stones:
- Drinking lots of fluids: Make sure you drink a lot of water each day. Ideally, you should drink about 1.8 to 3.6 liters of water. This will aid in the dilution of the concentrated urine thereby avoiding the formation of kidney stones.
- Pain relievers: Some kidney stones can be very painful while passing. Your general practitioners can recommend medication to relieve such pain. Examples of such medication include naproxen sodium and ibuprofen.
- Medication: Medical therapy can also assist in the passage of kidney stones. Your doctor will recommend an alpha-blocker. The role of this medication is to relax the ureter muscles. In this way, you are in a position to pass kidney stones quickly with minimal pain. The alpha-blocker can be in the form of a single drug, such as Flomax, or a combination of two drugs, such as tamsulosin and dutasteride.
In the case of large kidney stones that are also characterized by symptoms, you may require to undergo a more invasive treatment. This is because such stones cannot pass through the ureter and bladder on their own, owing to their large size. Moreover, such large stones may cause bleeding.
Some of the procedures your doctor is likely to recommend for such large stones include:
- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): this is a procedure that involves the breakdown of your kidney stones via sound waves. In this case, the ESWL creates shockwaves that will in turn help reduce the size of your kidney stones, permitting their passage in the urine. The procedure takes between forty-five minutes and one hour.It may be necessary to administer general or local anesthesia before the procedure, as it can be a bit painful. Some of the risk factors associated with ESWL include bruises on your abdomen and back, discomfort, and blood in the urine. There is also the risk of bleeding near your kidneys.
- Surgery: Large kidney stones can also be removed through surgery, using a procedure known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in your back and then inserts the instrument with a small telescope mounted on it. The procedure requires admission to a healthcare facility for about two days, to aid in the recovery. It is performed under general anesthesia.
- Laser lithotripsy: this is a laser procedure for treating kidney stones. The large kidney stones are broken down into tiny pieces via a laser. The procedure is preferred over surgery because it is less invasive and fast. You are likely to feel a burning sensation while trying to pass urine. This happens a few hours after the procedure but the burning sensation subsides with time. You can also drink plenty of water to reduce the burning sensation. The burning can also be relieved through medication like phenazopyridine. To avoid an infection, your doctor will often prescribe an antibiotic. After the procedure, you are likely to pass blood in your urine for at least three days.
Post-op care and diet
After the procedure, we will observe you for a few hours to ascertain that the surgery went on well. There may be no dietary restrictions after the procedure. Your doctor will however advise you to increase your daily intake of fluids and in particular, water. In case you have a preexisting condition, such as liver, kidney, or heart disease, it is important to consult with your doctors regarding the number of fluids to consume.
- You are also advised to engage in regular exercise to promote healing. Keep away from vigorous sporting activities such as running and do not also lift heavyweight for at least one week. If you have been on medication before the procedure, you will be advised about when to resume taking such medication. Take the medicines prescribed by your doctor as per the prescription
- If you develop any complications while at home, such as bleeding or intense pain, we advise you to call us immediately. We may have to schedule a post-op appointment. This will allow your doctor to monitor the progress and ascertain the outcome of the surgery
- Keep up all the follow-up appointments as per schedule
If you have kidney stones, it is important that you have them removed in good time, before they lead to kidney blockage or cause serious infection. In case kidney stones cause blockage, this can be a very painful experience. Although pain relievers can help alleviate such pain, this is only a temporary measure. Ultimately, you need a permanent solution to the problem. This often involves the surgical removal of kidney stones.
Get the goficure advantage for kidney stones treatment at Bangalore. Here is how we can assist you :
- At goficure, we have a team of highly skilled and experienced surgeons in Bangalore.
- They have collectively performed hundreds of kidney stone surgeries in Bangalore successfully.
- We also boast of some of the most advanced laser surgery equipment in Bangalore for treating kidney stones.
- Our surgeons are highly skilled in conducting laser lithotripsy. This is a procedure where laser energy helps break down kidney stones into very tiny pieces. We prefer laser surgery over conventional surgery because the procedure is faster, less invasive, and there is no bleeding involved. Therefore, the risk for infection is greatly reduced.
- goficure will be with you every step of the way, right from the time you get diagnosed, up to treatment, and including the post-op care.
- We offer one of the most highly discounted consultation services in Bangalore.
- We will make arrangements to pick you from home before the procedure and assist with filling out the paperwork, including making an insurance claim.
- After surgery, we will provide the transport back home.
- We also offer post-op consultation with some of the most experienced nutritionists in Bangalore. They will guide you on the most effective diet plans to help with your recovery and other useful tips to reduce the recurrence of kidney stones.
1. Dedicated Medi-Pal
A dedicated Medi-Pal is assigned to you. Your Medi-Pal will be your one point contact throughout the treatment and post-op period. They will always be available for you
2. Quick doctor’s appointments
After understanding your concerns, your Medi-Pal will schedule your consultation with a specialist doctor. Your doctor will carry out necessary tests and advise the course of treatment
3. Hassle-free treatment
If you opt to get the surgery done, goficure will take care of it completely. Right from booking your surgery, claiming your insurance to being with you throughout the procedure, your Medi-Pal will do it all
4. Post-op recovery support
Your Medi-Pal would ensure quick recovery. This includes booking your follow up consultations and helping you with doctor-recommended steps for diet & exercise
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