KIDNEY STONES: Early signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment
kidney stones is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for kidney stones. One in every 20 people develops kidney stones at some point in their life.
It forms when there is a decrease in urine volume and an excess of stone forming substances in the urine. Furthermore, dehydration is a major risk factor for kidney stone formation.
Symptoms of it include flank pain and blood in the urine.
People with certain medical conditions, such as gout, and those who take certain medications or supplements are at risk for kidney stones. Diet and hereditary factors are also related to stone formation. Diagnosis of kidney stones is best accomplished using an ultrasound, intravenous or a CT scan.
Most kidney stones will pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own with time. Furthermore, treatment includes pain-control medications and, in some cases, medications to facilitate the passage of urine.
If needed, lithotripsy or surgical techniques may be used for stones which do not pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own.
What are the early signs and symptoms?
While some kidney stones may not produce symptoms, besides that, people who have kidney stones often report the sudden onset of excruciating, cramping pain in their low back or side, groin, or abdomen. Changes in body position do not relieve this pain.
The abdominal, groin, or back pain typically waxes and wanes in severity, characteristic of colicky pain. It may be so severe that it is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The pain has been described by many as the worst pain of their lives, even worse than the pain of childbirth or broken bones. It also characteristically cause bloody urine.
If infection is present in the urinary tract along with the stones, there may be fever and chills. Sometimes, symptoms such as difficulty urinating, urinary urgency, penile pain, or testicular pain may occur due to it.
How are the kidney stones diagnosed?
The diagnosis of kidney stones is suspected when the typical pattern of symptoms is noted and when other possible causes of the abdominal or flank pain are excluded. Which is the ideal test to diagnose kidney stones is controversial. Imaging tests are usually done to confirm the diagnosis.
Many patients who go to the emergency room will have a non-contrast CT scan done. This can be done rapidly and will help rule out other causes for flank or abdominal pain. However, a CT scan exposes patients to significant radiation, and recently, ultrasound in combination with plain abdominal X-rays have been shown to be effective in diagnosing.
In pregnant women or those who should avoid radiation exposure, an ultrasound examination may be done to help establish the diagnosis.
What are the causes of kidney stones?
It forms when there is a decrease in urine volume or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine. The most common type of kidney stone contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate.
A majority of kidney stones are calcium stones. Besides that, other chemical compounds that can form stones in the urinary tract include uric acid, magnesium ammonium phosphate, and the amino acid cysteine.
Dehydration from reduced fluid intake or strenuous exercise without adequate fluid replacement increases the risk of kidney stones. Obstruction to the flow of urine can also lead to stone formation. In this regard, climate may be a risk factor for kidney stone development, since residents of hot and dry areas are more likely to become dehydrated and susceptible to stone formation.
It can also result from infection in the urinary tract. These are known as struvite or infection stones. Metabolic abnormalities, including inherited disorders of metabolism, can alter the composition of the urine and increase an individual’s risk of stone formation.
What are the treatment of kidney stones?
Treatment for kidney stones varies, depending on the type of stone and the cause.
Most small kidney stones won’t require invasive treatment. You may be able to pass a small stone by:
Drinking water. Drinking as much as 2 to 3 quarts 1.9 to 2.8 liters a day may help flush out your urinary system. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, drink enough fluid — mostly water — to produce clear or nearly clear urine.
Pain relievers. Passing a small stone can cause some discomfort. To relieve mild pain, your doctor may recommend pain relievers such as ibuprofen Advil, Motrin IB, others, acetaminophen tylenol or naproxen sodium.
Medical therapy. Your doctor may give you a medication to help pass your kidney stone. This type of medication, known as an alpha blocker, relaxes the muscles in your ureter, helping you pass the kidney stone more quickly and with less pain.
Are home remedies effective for kidney stones?
For some people who have had many kidney stones, home care may be appropriate. When passing a kidney stone, drinking lots of fluid is important. In fact, this is the most important home care measure. Medications may help control the pain as described previously. However, if it is the first time one has had symptoms suggestive of a kidney stone, it is important to see a doctor right away.
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