What are Kidney stones?

Also known as renal calculi, kidney stones are formed by deposition of crystal aggregations from insoluble substances like nitrogenous wastes and calcium compounds in the kidney.

Naturally, these stones leave the body by passage in the urine. Small pieces of stones easily pass through the ureter and out through the urethra when one urinates without causing any symptoms. Larger ones which are about 2-5 mm in diameter may never leave the kidney; sometimes however, it enters the ureter and causes renal colic or an intermittent, severe pain and spasm until the stone reaches the bladder. The pain is caused by the peristaltic contractions as the ureter attempts to expel the obstruction. It is commonly felt in the flank and lower abdomen radiating to the groin lasting for about 20 minutes to 1 hour

The etiology of urinary stone formation is complicated. It encompasses a number of factors, including, low urine volume, hereditary factors, high calcium levels in the blood, diet high in oxalate, urinary tract infections, and excessively acidic urine.

An individual is advised to drink at least 3 liters of water every day to flush the stones into the bladder. Trap the stones when it passes by filtering urine with a piece of gauze or filter so that it can be used for stone analysis. OTC pain relievers taken in moderation are recommended. Doctors may prescribe antispasmodic drugs to relax the ureter muscle during passage of stones. They may also prescribe potassium citrate to decrease urine acidity.

With a procedure called extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy, larger stones can be crushed via condensed bursts of sound waves. Dietary modification is advised to prevent reappearance of stones. Avoid sodium, foods rich in oxalate, and animal protein. In extremely rare cases where patient does not respond well to treatment options, a surgical operation is required to take away the kidney.



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