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Kidney Stones - Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Published on Nov 20, 2019   -  5 min read


Stones in the kidney or any other organ of the urinary system can result in severe abdominal pain, bloody urine, fever, and vomiting. Read the article to know about the other symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Kidney Stones - Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones, otherwise called renal lithiasis or renal calculi or nephrolithiasis, are hard minerals and salts deposits that develop inside the kidneys. There are various causes for the formation of kidney stones, and it can affect any part of the urinary tract like the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The most common reason being the urine becoming concentrated, and the minerals in it crystallize and clump together to form stones.

Kidney stones, if diagnosed early, do not cause permanent damage. If the stones are small, the doctor will prescribe painkillers and will advise you to drink a lot of water, so that the stones pass in your urine. It can be quite painful to pass these stones. But if the stone is stuck in some part of the urinary system and has resulted in complications like urinary tract infection, then you might need surgery.

After removing the stones, your doctor will suggest preventive tips and treatment to avoid recurrence.

What Are the Types of Kidney Stones?

Different kidney stones are made up of different crystals. The types of kidney stones based on the crystals are:

What Symptoms Do Kidney Stones Result In?

Kidney stone causes symptoms only when it enters the ureter (the tube that connects bladder and kidney). The signs and symptoms include:

As the stone moves through the urinary tract, the site and intensity of pain can change.

What Can Cause Kidney Stones?

There is no definite cause for kidney stones. But many factors seem to influence its formation. Some of the common risk factors include:

If you are passing less than 1 liter of urine every day, then you are most likely to develop kidney stones. It commonly affects people between 20 and 50 years of age.

What Are the Tests Done to Diagnose Kidney Stones?

If you show symptoms of kidney stones, then your doctor will suggest you get the following tests:

How Are Kidney Stones Treated?

The treatment options for small and symptom-less stones are:

  1. Drinking 2 to 3 liters of water every day will help flush out the stone.

  1. Painkillers - As passing a stone can cause severe pain, your doctor will prescribe painkillers like Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, or Naproxen.

  1. Other medicines - Your doctor might prescribe alpha-blockers, which will relax the muscles in your ureter and help pass the kidney stone quickly.

The treatment options for stones that are large and causing symptoms are:

  1. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) - Sound waves are used to break a large stone, which then gets passed in the urine. These sound waves create strong vibrations, which help break the stone. This therapy takes 45 to 60 minutes and can pain.

  1. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy - It is a surgery done to remove very large kidney stones. Here, the stone is removed by using small telescopes and instruments, which are inserted through a small incision in the back. It is done if ESWL was unsuccessful.

  1. Ureteroscopy - In this procedure, a ureteroscope, a thin tube with a camera and light, is passed into the ureter through the urethra and bladder to locate the stone and break it into pieces, so it can be passed in the urine.

Complications of Kidney Stones:

Some of the possible complications are abscess formation, kidney infection, ureteral scarring or stenosis, and ureteral perforation.

Kidney Stones Prevention

Some preventive tips to reduce the risk of kidney stones are:

For more information, consult a nephrologist online now!

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Last reviewed at:
20 Nov 2019  -  5 min read




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