Kidney stones (Renal Calculi) are solid masses that can be found anywhere along the urinary tract, in your kidneys, bladder, urethra or in the ureters. About half of the people that develop a kidney stone will develop more in time, so it’s imperative to identify the problem and make sure that it is treated by a skilled physician who has experience treating kidney stones.
A kidney stone is a small mineral deposit, usually made of calcium, oxalate and/or phosphate, that can develop for a number of reasons. Lack of fluids, strenuous exercise, urinary tract infections and even severe climates can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Whatever the cause, they are extremely painful.
Anyone who has ever had to endure kidney stones understands how painful they can be. That’s why it’s so important to treat kidney stones properly, and as quickly as possible. Often, kidney stones can pass through the body without exhibiting any symptoms, but if they are large enough or if they become lodged in the ureter tube, they can be extremely painful, and they must be dealt with. Identifying the problem is the first step to rectifying it. So early identification of the symptoms of kidney stones, when apparent, is the key. These symptoms include:
- Pain, which can be very sharp, sporadic, and can move through the sides and into the groin, you may even notice blood in the urine.
- Discomfort, requiring the need to move about or shift while sitting
- Late night attacks
- Muscle Contractions
- Blood may be present in the urine
- Frequent urination, combined with a burning sensation
Kidney stones can pass on their own, and they can be flushed by drinking a lot of fluids, but if you exhibit any of the above symptoms, you should seek the advice of a qualified doctor, even if the stone can be treated at home. In the case that the stone can pass, the doctor still may prescribe medication for pain to make the process easier to handle. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help, for example, and in some cases, stronger pain medicine could be prescribed.
If the kidney stone causes severe pain due to blockage, size of the stone or infection, further steps and even a medical procedure may be needed to eliminate the stone and relieve the pain. To identify what is needed to deal with the problem, a number of tests may be required, including:
- Blood tests
- CT scans
- Lab analysis of the kidney stones, which can be helpful in preventing more stones from forming in the future
Treatment And Medical Procedures For Severe Cases:
Severe cases, large kidney stones, stones that cause blood in the urine, that can cause kidney damage or recurring urinary tract infections often require more treatment that can be applied at home. An experienced physician will help you choose a treatment that best suits your case, and will draw from the following procedures:
- Sound waves or shock waves can be utilized to break up stones so that you can then pass the stones through your system. This treatment usually takes about an hour, and can cause some discomfort. In some cases, patients are sedated or are put under to make the procedure easier for the patient.
- Surgery might be required to remove the kidney stone. In this case, a small incision is made in the back and you will be put under during the surgery. Usually, you will be out of the hospital within a day or two. If you have a chronic kidney stone problem, surgery can be utilized to treat the cause. The parathyroid gland (near the Adam’s Apple) might need to be treated, because there may be a tumor or an irregularity located in the gland that is causing the formation of the kidney stones.
- A scoping procedure can be used effectively to eliminate small, pesky, dangerous kidney stones. In this case, a tiny camera is passed through the urinary tract to locate the kidney stone. Once located, it is broken apart so that it can pass through your body. A stent (a tiny tube) might be used to help you recover and to lessen painful swelling. This procedure can be completed with a local anesthetic, or you might be put under based on your situation.
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