Kidney stones are hard granular deposits that form inside the kidney and are made of minerals and salt. It is also called nephrolithiasis or renal calculi. The stones range in size from a small grain to as large as a table tennis ball. A large stone blocks the flow of urine and thus causing a lot of pain.
Causes of kidney stones
There is no single or definite cause for kidney stones. There are, however, risk factors such as diet, family history, dehydration, obesity, supplements, medication, genetics, and other medical conditions.
Some animal proteins and too much sodium in the diet can cause kidney stones. Drugs such as diuretics, certain antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, and HIV/AIDS medication can also contribute to kidney stones.
Development of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form when there are high levels of certain minerals in the urine. When there are high amounts of crystal-forming elements such as uric acid, oxalate, and calcium and less fluid to dilute them, the stones start forming.
Also, the body might create a conducive environment for kidney stone formation when the urine lacks the elements that prevent urine from crystallization.
Types of kidney stones
Urologists have identified the types of stones include uric acid stones, calcium stones, struvite stones, and cystine stones. Uric acid stones form in individuals who are dehydrated because of their medical conditions such as diabetes or diarrhea. Dehydration can also be due to genetic factors or high protein diets.
Calcium stones are created in the form of calcium oxalate, which is a substance absorbed from the diet and also made by the liver. It also may be in the form of calcium phosphate, which occurs due to medical conditions such as renal tubular acidosis. Diet is also a major risking factor.
Struvite stones mainly occur as a reaction towards a urinary tract infection. Cystine stones form as a result of a genetic disorder in which individuals release a specific amino acid in high amounts. The disease is known as cystinuria.
Signs and symptoms of kidney stones
Kidney stones do not usually display symptoms until they move from the kidney to the ureter to the bladder. If a stone gets lodged in the ureter, it causes urine blockage.
The blocked flow of urine causes swelling of the kidneys and spasms, which causes severe pain. People with kidney stones also experience sharp pain at the back and sides, difficulty urinating, foul smell and cloudy urine, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, persistent urination, and abdominal pain.
The intensity and location of the pain changes as the kidneys stone moves along the urinary tract.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When the pain is excruciating and more signs, and symptoms are noted, it is essential to see a urologist make a diagnosis. Tests such as imaging tests, blood tests, and urine tests help in detecting the stones. After diagnosis, the urologist selects the best treatment depending on the extent of the disease.
For mild cases, medication such as Flomax can be used to help pass the stone. It is also advisable that the patient drinks enough fluids to assist in clearing the urine. For large stones, sound wave therapy of surgery might be commendable.
Individuals who have had kidney stones before have a high chance of developing another in about 5 to 6 years. Drinking enough fluids and reducing the amount of salt in the diet can reduce the risk of getting the stones again.
And if you are looking to get treatment, please see a urologist singapore to have your condition diagnosed and then removed from your body.