What is kidney stone? Why does it happen? What are the symptoms? How is the treatment done? How is it at home? What should you pay attention to? What should we eat and drink? Is it a serious situation? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What is kidney stone?
Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like particles that form in one or both of your kidneys when there are high levels of certain minerals in your urine. Kidney stones rarely cause permanent damage if treated by a healthcare professional.
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Kidney stones can vary in size and shape. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pea. Rarely, some kidney stones are as large as golf balls. Kidney stones can be smooth and rough, usually yellow or brown.
A small kidney stone may pass through your urinary tract on its own and cause little or no pain. Larger kidney stones can get stuck along the urinary tract. A stuck stone can block your urine flow, causing severe pain or bleeding.
If you have symptoms of kidney stones, including severe pain or bleeding, you should see a doctor immediately. A urologist can treat any pain and prevent other problems such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) .
How common is it?
Kidney stones are common and increasing in prevalence. For example, about 11 percent of men and 6 percent of women in the United States have had kidney stones at least once in their lifetime.
Types of kidney stones
Almost all people with this problem probably have one of the four main types of kidney stones. Which species is important because treatment often depends on their size, location, and type.
Calcium stones , including calcium oxalate stones and calcium phosphate stones , are the most common types of kidney stones. Calcium oxalate stones are more common than calcium phosphate stones.
Calcium from food does not increase the risk of having calcium oxalate stones. Normally, extra calcium not used by your bones and muscles goes to your kidneys and is cleared in the urine. When this doesn’t happen, the calcium stays in the kidneys and combines with other waste products to form kidney stones.
uric acid stones
Uric acid stones can form when your urine contains too much acid. Eating too much fish, shellfish, and meat, especially organ meat, can increase uric acid in the urine.
Struvite stones can form after you have had a urinary tract infection. They can develop suddenly and grow rapidly.
Cystine stones are caused by an inherited type of disease called cystinuria . Cystinuria causes the amino acid cystine to leak into your kidneys and urine.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones are caused by high levels of calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus in the urine. These minerals are normally found in the urine and do not cause problems at low levels. Some foods containing calcium, oxalate and phosphorus also increase the risk of kidney stones in hereditarily predisposed people.
Who is at risk?
Men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women. If you have a family history of kidney stones, you are more likely to develop them. Also, people who have had this problem once are more likely to experience it again. You may also be more likely to develop kidney stones if you don’t drink enough fluids.
You are more likely to develop kidney stones if you have the following conditions:
- obstruction of the urinary tract
- Chronic or long-term inflammation of the urinary tract
- Cystic kidney diseases (disorders that cause fluid-filled sacs to form in the kidneys)
- Cystinuria (an inherited disease in which the kidneys cannot process certain amino acids effectively)
- Digestive problems or history of gastrointestinal surgery
- Gout (painful swelling of the joints)
- Hypercalciuria (the urine contains an unusually large amount of calcium)
- Hyperoxaluria (a condition in which the urine contains an unusually large amount of oxalate)
- Hyperparathyroidism (a condition in which the parathyroid glands secrete too much hormone and create extra calcium in the blood)
- Hyperuricosuria (a disorder in which there is too much uric acid in the urine)
- Obesity or obesity
- Repeated or recurrent urinary tract infections
Apart from these; Some drugs such as antacids, indinavir, and topiramate also increase your risk of forming kidney stones.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Back pain, kidney pain , abdominal pain , or sharp pains in the groin
- Pink, red, or brown blood in your urine , also called hematuria
- Constant need to urinate
- Pain and burning when urinating
- Inability to urinate or only a small amount of urination
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. These symptoms may mean you have a kidney stone or a more serious condition.
Your pain may be short or long, or it may come and go in waves. Along with the pain, you may experience nausea and vomiting. Other rare symptoms include fever and chills .
How are kidney stones diagnosed?
Doctors use your medical history, physical exam, laboratory and imaging tests to diagnose kidney stones .
First, the doctor will ask if you have had health conditions in the past that made you more likely to develop kidney stones. Then he or she may ask if anyone else in your family has this problem, what you eat, and your symptoms. During a physical exam, she usually examines your body.
Urine tests can show whether your urine contains high levels of minerals that put you at risk for kidney stones. Urine and blood tests can also help a doctor find out what type of kidney stone you have.
- Urinalysis: In the urinalysis, the urine sample you give is tested. Urinalysis can show if your urine contains blood and minerals that can form kidney stones. White blood cells and bacteria in the urine indicate that there is or will be a urinary tract infection.
- Blood tests: In this procedure, a blood sample can be sent to a lab to be tested. A blood test can show if you have high levels of certain minerals in your blood that can lead to kidney stones.
Doctors use imaging tests in some cases to find kidney stones. These tests can also show possible problems that cause kidney stones to form, such as a urinary tract obstruction or birth defect. You do not need anesthesia for these imaging tests.
- abdominal x-ray
An abdominal X-ray is an image of the abdomen that uses low levels of radiation and is recorded on film or computer. An x-ray technician takes an x-ray of the abdomen at a hospital or outpatient center, and a radiologist evaluates the images.
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During the abdominal X-ray, you will lie on a table or stand up. The X-ray technician will place the X-ray machine on or in front of your abdomen and ask you to hold your breath so the picture is not blurred. The X-ray technician may ask you to change locations for additional pictures.
Abdominal X-rays can show the location of kidney stones in the urinary tract. Not all stones are seen on an abdominal X-ray.
- CT scans
Computed tomography scans use a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create images of your urinary tract. Although a CT scan without a contrast medium is most often used to view your urinary tract, a doctor may give you an injection of contrast medium. Contrast is a dye or other substance that makes structures in your body easier to see during imaging tests.
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Computed tomography scans can show the size and location of the kidney stone and any conditions that may cause it to form if the stone is blocking the urinary tract.
How is kidney stone treatment?
Doctors usually treat kidney stones based on their size, location, and what type they are.
Small kidney stones can pass through your urinary tract without treatment. If you are able to pass a kidney stone on your own, your doctor may ask you to strain and separate the kidney stone in a special container. The doctor will send the kidney stone to a laboratory to find out what type it is.
Doctors may sometimes be advised to drink plenty of water, and if pain occurs, they may prescribe painkillers. Larger kidney stones that block your urinary tract or cause great pain may need emergency treatment . If you are vomiting and unable to drink water, you may need to go to the hospital.
In some cases, medication may be prescribed, or a urologist can remove or break the kidney stone into small pieces with the following treatments:
Severe pain conditions may require pain relievers. If the stones are caused by an infection, they require treatment with antibiotics. Other drugs include:
- Allopurinol for the treatment of uric acid stones
- Thiazide diuretics to prevent calcium stone formation
- sodium bicarbonate to make urine less acidic
- Phosphorus solutions to prevent the formation of calcium stone
- ibuprofen for pain conditions
- Acetaminophen for pain conditions
- naproxen sodium for pain conditions
Remember, your doctor will decide which medicine to take and how.
Types of kidney stone surgery
Kidney stone surgery includes:
- shock wave lithotripsy
The doctor may use shock wave lithotripsy to break up the kidney stone into small pieces. Small pieces of the kidney stone then pass through your urinary tract. During this outpatient procedure, the doctor may give you an anesthetic.
- Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy
During cystoscopy, the doctor uses a cystoscope to find a stone in the urethra or bladder and look inside the urethra and bladder. During ureteroscopy, the doctor uses a longer and thinner ureteroscope than a cystoscope to see detailed images of the lining of the ureters and kidneys. Once the stone is found, the doctor can remove it or break it up into smaller pieces. The doctor performs these procedures in the hospital with anesthesia. You can usually go home the same day.
What is a ureter?
The ureter is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy
The doctor uses a thin viewing instrument called a nephroscope to find and remove the kidney stone . The doctor inserts the relevant tool directly into your kidney through a small incision in your back. He or she may use a laser to break up larger kidney stones. This procedure is done under anesthesia and you may need to stay in the hospital for several days.
Other treatments and after
After these procedures, sometimes the urologist may leave a thin, flexible tube called a ureteral stent in your urinary tract to help the stone pass . After the kidney stone is removed, your doctor will send the kidney stone or pieces of it to the laboratory to find out what type it is.
Also, the doctor may ask you to collect your urine for 24 hours after the kidney stone has passed or has been removed. It can then measure how much urine you produce in a day and the mineral levels in your urine. You are more likely to form stones if you do not urinate enough each day or if you have a problem with high mineral levels.
What is good for kidney stone?
Here are 11 things that are good for kidney stones:
1- Grapefruit oil
Grapefruit essential oil has natural diuretic and antioxidant properties that can help flush toxins from your body. Grapefruit oil is also anti-inflammatory and may help relieve kidney stone symptoms.
2- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar consists mainly of acetic acid and traces of citric and malic acid. The acid content of apple cider vinegar can be effective in dissolving kidney stones. Additionally, it is also anti-inflammatory and may help reduce kidney stone symptoms.
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3- Vitamins and minerals
Intake of certain vitamins and minerals is also associated with a lower risk of kidney stones. In some studies, it has been shown that daily consumption of vitamin B6 reduces the risk of kidney stones. Minerals such as magnesium and calcium also reduce the risk of stone formation. Increasing your intake of foods rich in these nutrients, such as spinach, almonds, yogurt, milk and cheese, can help prevent kidney stones.
4- Green tea
Green tea exhibits some promising medicinal properties and is one of the best remedies for kidney stones. A natural antioxidant and diuretic, green tea can help get rid of toxins in your kidneys. Green tea is also a great anti-inflammatory remedy that can be used to treat the painful symptoms of kidney stones.
5- Cranberry juice
Cranberry juice is widely used to treat urinary tract infection, given its strong diuretic properties, making it a potential treatment for kidney stones. However, it is believed to increase the formation of calcium oxalate stones, one of the types of kidney stones. Therefore, there are conflicting reviews about the use of cranberry juice for this purpose. But some research promotes the use of cranberry juice to reduce existing kidney stones. However, we recommend that you consult your doctor about this.
Related article: What are the benefits of cranberry juice?
6- Lemon juice
Lemon is a rich source of citrate, which dissolves kidney stones. They also have natural antioxidant and diuretic properties and help detoxify your body. The anti-inflammatory properties of lemons are an added bonus as they can relieve other dreaded symptoms like pain when urinating.
Related article: What are the benefits of lemon?
7- Tomato juice
Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a natural antioxidant that can prevent kidney stones. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help relieve associated inflammation and pain. The benefits of tomatoes are not limited to these.
Related article: What are the benefits of tomatoes?
8- Pickle juice
Pickle juice mainly contains vinegar made from acetic acid, which can help dissolve kidney stones. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties of vinegar water can reduce accompanying inflammation and pain.
9- Basil juice
Certain compounds in basil can prevent kidney stone formation by balancing uric acid levels in your body. Basil also contains acetic acid, which helps dissolve kidney stones.
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant that protects your body from free radical damage. It also acts as a diuretic, which helps flush out toxins from your kidneys, thus speeding up recovery. Allicin in garlic exhibits antimicrobial properties that protect your kidneys from infection and are good for kidney stones.
11- Wheatgrass juice
Wheatgrass is another herb with diuretic properties that help stones pass through the urine. It also exhibits antioxidant properties that protect your kidneys from free radical damage.
Can kidney stones be prevented?
The best way to prevent most kidney stones is to drink enough fluids each day. Most people should drink 8 to 12 glasses of fluid a day. If you have kidney disease and need to limit fluids, ask your doctor how much fluid you should drink each day.
Limiting sodium and animal protein in your diet can also help prevent kidney stones. If your doctor can find out the type of kidney stone you have, they can give you specific dietary recommendations to help prevent future kidney stones.
If you have a health condition that makes kidney stones more likely, your doctor may tell you to take medication to treat this condition.
Never start or stop any treatment or diet without talking to your doctor!
Frequently asked Questions
What is the best sleeping position to reduce pain from kidney stones?
It is best to use a supportive mattress and pillow while sleeping. If you are affected by kidney stones, you should continue to reposition your body while you sleep. Sleeping on the same side can increase pain.
How long does it take to get rid of a kidney stone?
Getting rid of a kidney stone can be extremely painful and can take from a few days to 6 weeks.
What should you not eat if you have kidney stones?
You should not eat foods that can cause stone formation, such as beets, chocolate, spinach and nuts. All of these are rich in oxalate, an excess of which can contribute to kidney stones. You should also avoid drinking cola, as it can increase the risk of disease due to its high phosphate content.