According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in ten people experiences kidney stone problem at a certain time in their lives. And, each year, more than 500,000 Americans are treated for kidney stones. Paying deliberation attention to these warning signs or symptoms may prevent you from being sent to the operation room.
Types and causes of kidney stones
Kidney stones are hard objects that are made from some chemicals in the urine. Highlighted below are some types of kidney stones and their corresponding causes:
- Uric acid: Purines are natural chemical compounds found in high concentrations in shellfish and some organ meats. It is believed that high intakes of purines produce a high amount of monosodium urate, which may form kidney stones under the right conditions.
- Calcium oxalate: This is the most prevalent kind of kidney stone, and it is caused by the combination of calcium and oxalate in the urine. When there is no adequate fluid in your body or calcium, it may lead to the formation of calcium oxalate.
- Struvite: This kind of kidney stone is not very common, and it can be caused by an infection in the upper urinary tract.
- Cystine: These are the rarest types of kidney stones, and they tend to be hereditary.
Warning signs (symptoms) of kidney stones
These are the warning signs you must pay serious attention to:
- Having some blood in your urine
- Chills and fever
- Experiencing severe pain on either side of your lower back
- Having urine that smells horribly or appearing cloudy
- Feeling like vomiting or nauseated
- Unending vague pain or stomach ache that refuses to stop
How kidney stones are diagnosed?
When you begin to experience any of the symptoms described above, the most sensible thing to do is to see your doctor. Your doctor will then investigate your medical history and perform some physical examinations on you. However, you will need some imaging tests to determine the exact size and shape of the kidney stone.
Examples of imaging tests
- Using high-resolution CT Scan, from the kidney down to your bladder
- Using an x-ray called “KUB X-ray” which stands for kidney-ureter-bladder x-ray. This will help your doctor to determine the size and shape of the stone and recommend the most appropriate treatment
- Or using IVP (intravenous pyelogram), which is a kind of x-ray of the urinary system
Treating kidney stones
Kidney stones affect both kids and adults, and they are diagnosed and treated almost the same ways. Your doctor may recommend any of the treatments below for your kidney stones:
- By drinking a lot of water
- Taking medications that would make your urine to be less acidic
- Too big kidney stones are removed by surgery using any of the methods below:
- Shock-wave lithotripsy—this is a non-invasive procedure that utilizes high-energy sound waves to break the stones into smaller pieces that can easily be eliminated through urination.
- Ureteroscopy—An endoscope will be inserted through your ureter to take out the stone or demolish it.
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy/nephrolithotripsy—this procedure is used to remove a very large kidney stone.
What you can do to prevent kidney stones?
You can safeguard yourself and your child from kidney stones by following these simple steps:
- Drink a lot of water, at least more than 10 glasses a day
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Reduce the amount of salt in your food
- Eat balanced diets that will provide your body with the necessary nutrients
- Watch your weight because obesity may increase the chance of having kidney stones