KIDNEY STONE INFORMATION
Kidney Stones are very common. They occur in 10% of men and 5% of women. These small and hard deposits form in the kidneys and can fall into the ureter and lead to a blockage.
This blockage of urine causes stretching of the kidney and pain.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
There are many causes of kidney stone formation and many risk factors. Some of the common causes are listed below:
- Kidney and/or bladder infections
- High salt diet, high animal protein diet, low-fiber diet.
- Hereditary causes
- You live a sedentary lifestyle due to a previous illness
- And other illnesses such as bowel or endocrine diseases.
What Does a Kidney Stone Mean for You?
- Most stones that are in the kidney and not obstructing the urine passage are harmless and painless
- Stones that do cause a blockage to the urinary drainage usually do not cause long-term problems when treated appropriately
- They can often be observed and will pass on their own
- However, they can cause severe pain and may require surgery
Types of Kidney Stones
Most Stones contain calcium and other composite materials. By knowing the type of stone we can target preventative treatment.
Symptoms of a Kidney Stone
Symptoms of kidney stones usually don’t appear until they start to move around inside the kidneys and pass into the ureter. One or more of these symptoms indicate a kidney stone:
- Pain in the back beside the spine between the ribs and pelvic bone.
- Shooting pains in the lower abdomen, groin, and testis.
- It hurts to urinate.
- Urine, which is pink, red, or brown. Sometimes the urine is cloudy and has a pungent smell.
- Constant need to urinate and needing to urinate more than normal.
- Nausea, fever, and chills. These last two symptoms likely indicate a secondary infection and require emergent care
How are kidney stones treated?
You should always visit the doctor if you suspect you have a kidney stone. What they do next depends on the location of the stone, the size of the stone and they symptoms. These are some of the treatment options open to you.
- Medical expulsive therapy. This involves using medications to help relax the ureter to allow the stone to pass on it’s own. This is often tried first prior to invasive treatment.
- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (EWSL) sends shock waves through the body to break up stones in to smaller pieces, which can then pass with minimal discomfort.
- Ureteroscopy involves guiding a thin telescope through your urethra to the stone. Laser energy is used to break up the stone. This is performed under general or spinal anaesthetic.
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is where a surgeon makes a small cut in your back and uses a long telescopic instrument to break up the stones and remove them. This is also done under general anaesthetic.
Michelle Strovski, Maple Ridge Urology, Serving Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, Mission, Abbotsford, Langley, and Vancouver.