What is a kidney stone?
- 1 What is a kidney stone?
- 1.1 Do all kidney stones cause pain?
- 1.2 Why do I get kidney stones?
- 1.3 How long will kidney stone stay in bladder or kidney?
- 1.4 What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
- 1.5 What does it feel like when you pass a kidney stone?
- 1.6 What are some diagnostic tests for kidney stones?
- 1.7 What causes kidney stones?
- 1.8 What are the risks of developing another kidney stone?
- 1.9 What is good for kidney stones?
- 1.10 How can I avoid kidney stones?
A hard, crystalline, solid mineral material that formed inside the kidney or urinary tract is known as a kidney stone. Kidney stones are also known as renal calculi. Kidney stones can cause severe pain in abdomen, flank or groin, and sometimes it is also responsible for blood in the urine (hematuria).
The kidney stone is not necessary to present in kidneys only, It can be seen anywhere in the urinary tract. There are different terms for kidney stones that describe the presence of kidney stones at different locations, such as:
Nephrolithiasis – Kidney stones in kidney
Urolithiasis – Kidney stones in urinary tract
Ureterolithiasis – Kidney stones in Ureters
Do all kidney stones cause pain?
Kidney stones that block the ureters and trying to pass down towards the bladder cause extreme pain in patients. Some stones that may be present in kidney calyxes are thought to be non-painful and sometimes get ignored because they do not cause any pain.
Sometimes the patient may suffer from intense pain because of kidney stones it is due to the blockage of small tubular structure in the kidney itself (the collecting tubules). As per studies, the treatment of small non-obstructing papillary stones may provide relief from chronic pain due to kidney stones.
Why do I get kidney stones?
Kidneys are the essential organ of our body and they efficiently filter out the waste from our blood stream. Kidneys separate the waste from the blood. There are many reasons that can be responsible for developing kidney stones inside your kidneys such as:
- Buildup of mineral deposits inside the kidney walls
- Lack of water
- Accumulation of minerals or crystalline solids inside the kidneys
- Certain medications and medical disorders such as Crohn’s disorders
- Family history of kidney stones
How long will kidney stone stay in bladder or kidney?
Passage of kidney stones depends upon the treatment taken for extraction of kidney stones. Kidney stones usually cause severe pain in the abdomen that needs to be treated on early stage. Pain relieving medications such as ketorolac, an anti-inflammatory injectable medicine are usually given to relieve pain associated with kidney stones. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it causes nausea and vomiting, in case intravenous medications are recommended.
Home remedies for the treatment of kidney stones are proven of no use and they may be considered for the patients who know the exact cause of their kidney stones. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are also given without any contraindication, in order to treat pain and inflammation associated with kidney stones. Sometimes stronger narcotic medicines are also needed to relieve intense pain.
- Most kidney stones eventually pass through the urinary tract on their own within 48 hours with intake of plenty of fluids.
- Several factors such as the weight of the person, previous history of kidney stones, pregnancy, prostate enlargement, and the size of the stone describe the ability of the stone to pass.
- Here is the chart that describes the ability of the stone to pass that is depending upon the size of the stone:
- 4 mm – 80%
- 5mm – 20%
- > 9mm to 10 mm – rarely pass without treatment
- Sometimes kidney stones do not pass on their own but also do not require a surgery to remove kidney stones that lead to unbearable pain, in such cases your doctor may prescribe some medications.
- Such medications are calcium channel blockers (nifedipine), alpha blockers (tamsulosin), these medications help in removing the kidney stones faster.
- A procedure called lithotripsy is often used to extract the kidney stones, in which the larger stones are broken into the smaller stones with the help of a shock wave. This procedure helps the kidney stones to pass easily through the urinary system.
- When all other treatment fails, surgical intervention is needed to remove kidney stones. In surgeries involved, kidney stones can be passed by using a ureteroscope that to be passed through the urethra and bladder or a small incision is made in the skin and remove the stone directly (called as nephrolothotomy).
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
During kidney stones formation, the minerals substances in the urine become too concentrated. Such stones stay inside the kidney and sometimes it starts to move down the urinary tract. Small kidney stones usually passed out from the body via urine.
Kidney stones can be diagnosed by the symptoms of kidney stones. The patient with kidney stones may suffer from chronic pain and the worst pain they had ever experienced. Some most common signs and symptoms of kidney stones are:
- Sudden, severe pain that comes and goes in intensity. Common areas afflicted include the back, groin, abdomen, side, and genitals.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the urine or abnormal urine colors
- Frequent and painful urination
- Feeling restless and unable to lie still
- Nausea and vomiting due to excessive pain
- Frequent urination
- Dysuria (pain while urination)
Kidney stones do not cause a life threatening situation but it can lead to truly uncomfortable situations. And it’s not unusual to experience so much pain that you make your way to the emergency room to find out what is going on.
What does it feel like when you pass a kidney stone?
Kidney stones are responsible for intense pain in the back, side, abdomen, groin, or genitals. One usually describes it as a “worst pain they ever had”. The patient should drink plenty of water for extraction of kidney stone and eventually passage of stone cause an intense pain in lower abdomen. The patient can feel severe pain while urinating and can also feel painful urination due to the presence of urinary tract infection.
What are some diagnostic tests for kidney stones?
Kidney stones may vary from 0.1 mm to 10 mm in size and they are identifiable at different levels with different techniques. Kidney stones can be diagnosed by the following tests:
Blood Testing: In order to check the health of your kidneys, your doctor may recommend you a blood test in which he will check the calcium and uric acid levels in your blood.
Urine Testing: You may be asked for urine routine test for two consecutive days. The urine collection may show the presence of calcium or calcium oxalate crystals in urine that confirms the presence of kidney stones in the kidney.
Imaging: For diagnosis of small kidney stones, dual energy computerized tomography (CT) is used, whereas for larger and big kidney stones abdominal X-rays is recommended. They are used to diagnose a kidney stone in the complete urinary tract.
Some other tests are ultrasound, intravenous urography in which injecting dye into an arm vein and Intravenous pyelogram or obtaining CT images are beneficial in diagnosing a kidney stone.
Passed stones: In this the kidney stones that you have passed through urination are collected in a strainer and diagnosed. This test is done in order to identify the exact cause of stones formation in the kidneys and to prevent the further formation of kidney stones.
What causes kidney stones?
The main cause of kidney stone is the lack of water in the body. Other causes include:
- The absence of less than eight to ten glasses of water per day.
- Acidic urine that may be caused by excess of uric acid and if enough water is not available for dilution of uric acid, it starts becoming kidney stones
- An excessive acidic environment in urine is conducive to the formation of kidney stones.
- Hereditary kidney stones history and Crohn’s diseases, urinary tract infections, hyperparathyroidism, medullary sponge kidney are also responsible for the formation of kidney stones.
- A patient with the history of previous kidney stones, if not considered proper prevention, is also prone to kidney stone formation.
What are the risks of developing another kidney stone?
Yes, you can prevent the formation of another kidney stone with the help of many effective ways. Based on analysis of previously extracted kidney stone, your doctor can decide the most effective treatment for prevention of another kidney stone formation. Some basic changes that can helpful for you are dietary changes and medications. You can reduce 50% chances of recurrence of kidney stones. You should help yourself by making necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle as they are most effective ways to prevent further recurrence of kidney stones and can prevent you from another painful stone episode.
In general, the chances of developing another stone are about 40-50% over five years. In other words, 1 out of 2 new stone formers should expect to develop another stone within the next five years. However, there are many effective ways to reduce the chances of recurrence with simple diet changes.
What is good for kidney stones?
Along with multiple options for treating kidney stones, the patient can treat themselves with the help of dietary changes. Here is given a list of natural remedies that are beneficial in providing relief in pain associated with kidney stones and soothes the discomfort of kidney stones and speed up the body’s natural healing process.
Such examples are:
- Lemon juice (or the beverages rich in citrate)
- Olive oil
- Raw apple cider vinegar
- Uva Ursi
- Dandelion root
- Kidney root
- Pomegranate juice
- Organic celery
How can I avoid kidney stones?
Kidney stone is not a life threatening disease but the one who is suffering from intense pain of kidney stones, can describe that the kidney stones are no less than a life threatening condition
Prevention of kidney stones can be done by preventing the conditions that support their formation. Here described the best 5 ways for preventing kidney stones:
Ample supply of water: Make sure that you provide ample supply of water to the body in order to prevent it from kidney stones. Drinking lots of water are beneficial in diluting the concentrated minerals in the urine that are the main cause of kidney stones. You should drink at least 2 liters of water per day. You can also include some citric beverages like lemonade and orange juice because citrate present in such beverages is helpful in blocking the stone formation.
Increase calcium intake: Getting too little calcium in your diet can cause oxalate levels to rise and cause kidney stones. At a certain age, you may need an adequate amount of calcium per day and you should take it accordingly. Try to obtain adequate calcium from food because additional calcium supplements can also cause kidney stones. The daily requirement for men (50 or older) is 1000 milligrams calcium + 800-1000 IU (international units) of vitamin D (to help the body absorb the calcium).
Limit sodium intake: A high intake of sodium can raise the calcium levels in urine and thereby triggers kidney stones. Excess sodium levels can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Therefore a low sodium intake is always recommended for the one who previously had a kidney stone. If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily intake to 1,500 mg.
Restrict animal protein: Red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood boosts the level of uric acid and thereby can increase the risk of kidney stones. Citrate is beneficial in preventing the kidney stones from forming and high protein levels can reduce the citrate levels in urine. You should restrict your daily meat intake if you are prone to kidney stones.
Avoid food that causes the formation of stones: Diet restriction and lifestyle changes are most important factors in preventing the formation of kidney stones. Food such as beets, chocolate, okra, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts are rich in calcium oxalate and are main contributing factors in promoting kidney stones. Colas and beverages rich in phosphates should also be avoided.
For everyone else, particular foods and drinks are unlikely to trigger kidney stones unless consumed in extremely high amounts. Some studies have shown that men who take high doses of vitamin C in the form of supplements are at slightly higher risk of kidney stones. That may be because the body converts vitamin C into oxalate.