Kidney stones (also known as renal lthiasis) are lumps of accumulated minerals and salts that form in your in kidneys, and they vary in size and type. Though they have no single, definitive cause, they occur when your urine becomes concentrated due to crystal-forming substances building up in the kidneys faster than your urine can dilute them.
They are painful to expel, however they are not life-threatening, and they are treatble and preventable.
Types of kidney stones
The most common stones you can get are the calcium stones. They form based on your diet; chocolate, nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables are rich with calcium (in particular, calcium oxalate). Your liver also creates this substance naturally, so manage what you eat to prevent this.
Other types of kidney stones, include:
- Struvite stones
- Uric acid stones
- Cystine stones
How do I know if I have kidney stones?
If you’ve had them before, you’ll most likely recognize the symptoms--severe pain coupled with nausea, vomiting, fever, chills difficulty passing urine, and blood during urination.
However, you need a number of tests to determine if you do indeed have kidney stones. Such tests include:
- Blood testing
- Urine testing
- Analysis of passed stones
How are kidney stones treated?
Treating kidney stones involve using non-invasive methods. You typically need to drink large amounts of water (up to 3 quarts a day), take pain relievers, and take muscle relaxants such as alpha blocker.
In more advanced cases, you may need sound wave therapy, known as extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL). It is a non-invasive procedure that uses strong sound wave frequencies to disintegrate larger stones so that they may ultimately pass through your urine.
In more severe cases, you may need surgery. Current surgical methods include:
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy
- Paratyhroid gland surgery