Kidney stones can be very painful and hard to treat. If they are not diagnosed at early stages, it can also lead to many complications and surgery. Kidney stones are basically hard deposits that are made of minerals and salts which form inside your kidneys. It may affect your bladed and urinary track and cause terrible pain. Passing kidney stones does not do any permanent damage to the body but till the time it is there, it can cause a number of infections inside the body. With the help of certain medications and dietary changes, one can treat kidney stones. However they are of different types and hence the treatment also varies a bit according to their combination. Today, we will discuss about major types of kidney stones and their treatment methods available.
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are crystals that are formed inside kidney due to different types of minerals sticking together. Dr. Arvindam K Swamy, DM Nephrology at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Kochi helps us to know about formation of kidney stones. He says kidney stones are formed majorly because of dietary intake, obesity or some medical condition. In most cases that have mild formation of kidney stones is because of diet, whereas some kidney diseases or urinary infection may be a cause of formation of kidney stones.
People face heavy pain in their lower abdomen or kidney area when they get kidney stones. However, if you get yourself diagnosed for kidney stones at early stage, it can be treated with drinking lots of water and some general medicines. Kidney stones can be of various types such as calcium, cystine, uric acid, struvite etc. and can be formed inside kidneys, bladder, urethra and Ureters.
Types of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be made up of different types of crystals, and accordingly one must be aware of the risk factors of these types of kidney stones.
Calcium stones are most commonly occurring stones amongst people with kidney stones. As the name suggests they are made up of calcium (phosphate). It occurs because of eating too much oxalate rich food in your diet. These types of food include-
- Potato chips
You can reduce the risk of these types of kidney stones by controlling food intake that oxalate-rich food in your diet. Interestingly, even though these stones are formed by calcium but if you take right amount of calcium from childhood, then there is minimal risk of forming these kidney stones.
Uric Acid Stones
Stones that are formed because of uric acid can be quite painful and hard to go. These stone formations are mostly in people those who are undergoing chemotherapy or having some problems related to their gout. It happens more often to men than women. Uric acid stone develops when your urine becomes more acidic than normal, this can be because of purines. If you take a diet rich in purines, then you might have the risk of developing uric acid stones. This diet essentially comes from animal proteins such as fish, shellfish and meats.
These types of stones are significant in women who have some kind of urinary tract infections. These stones can be become quite large which might cause terrible pain and problem while urination. Struvite stones are mostly a result of kidney infection in your body. Since the infection causes these kidney stones, treating those infections can relieve and cure struvite stones as well. However get yourself diagnosed properly in this case so that no underlying condition is neglected or left untreated.
These types of stones do not occur in common. Cystine stones are formed majorly because of some genetic disorder in both men and women. The cause behind it is cystinuria, which creates acid inside the body (Cystine) that leaks from kidneys into the urine causing kidney stone formation.
Treatment Methods For Kidney Stones
Treatment method and procedure depends on various factors including the types of kidney stone formation, the severity of kidney stone and the area of location. Surgery is considered the last method of treating kidney stones, it is tried if these stones can be melted or treated using some other basic way. It can include medications and diet changes.
Dr. Arvindam Swamy suggests his patients to drink atleast 8 glasses of water daily to increase the urine flow. Many patients, who adapted this well, did not have to go through any surgery or serious medications. Those who get dehydrated easily can have nausea and vomiting often, they made need some intravenous fluids to sustain hydration.
The first line of treatment for any disease is through medications. In case of kidney stones, the medicines are given based on the type of infection present in the body. According to that, antibiotics are given-
- Zyloprim for Uric acid stones
- Thiazide diuretics and phosphorus solutions for calcium stone formation
- Sodium bicarbonate and sodum citrate – to make urine less acidic
- Ibuprofen for pain
- Acetaminophen for pain
This treatment procedure includes sound waves to break the stones present inside the body into smaller stones so that it passes down to the bladder. The shock wave that is used in this is called extracorporeal shock wave. Generally the patient is given light anaesthesia before this procedure because it can be quite uncomfortable. In some cases, it can cause bruising or bleeding around the kidney as well.
This treatment procedure is usually done when the stone gets stuck in the bladder or ureter. In this case an instrument is used to remove it. The procedure includes a small wire that is attached with a camera, inserted inside the urethra and passed into bladder. Then a small cage is used to remove the stone or snag it, so that is does not gets stuck again.
This surgery option is considered the last treatment option for removing the kidney stone. In this the surgeon passes a small incision into your back and removes the kidney stones from the part where it is stuck. Tunnel surgery is usually done in the case where-
- The stone has grown too large to pass through bladder
- When the stone causes an obstruction or infection in the kidney or any part of the body
- The patient is unable to manage pain
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