Have you ever seen someone with hands on the lower back suffering from intense pain and describing it as “the worst pain they ever experienced?” Chances are he/she has kidney stones. Conveying him/her to the hospital should be your top priority. So what are kidney stones? These are solid crystalline masses in the urinary tract.
To understand that, we need to acknowledge the anatomy of the urinary tract. The urinary tract starts from a pair of kidneys one on each side located in the back of the lower abdomen below the rib cage. Connected to it as the part of the urinary tract are the ureters which are tubes made of smooth muscle fibers that function to propel urine towards the urinary bladder. When the urine in the bladder reaches a particular level, we feel the need to urinate.
In the effort for urination, smooth muscles in the bladder contract and pressure in the bladder builds up, and that is when the urine finally leaves the bladder through the urethra to external opening referred to as penis
Clinical Features of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are indeed known to be one of the most distressing medical conditions. The manifestation of the condition largely depends on the size of the stones. If they are of small size, the condition is usually asymptomatic, and the chances are that the stones will finally be expelled out of the body with the urine. A rise in their size and concentration is, however, dangerous for the body, and that is when the patient starts presenting the complaint.
The patient often complains of pain in the lower back that radiates to the groin region. Nausea and vomiting often accompany the condition with a slight fever which suggests chances of infection. Blood may also come out in the urine with pain in the late stages of the condition.
How Kidney Stones are formed
So how do kidney stones form? Well, the causes vary according to the type of stone formed in the kidney. Calcium stones are the most common type. They can be made of calcium oxalate (most common), phosphate, or maleate. High-oxalate foods are a possible cause; these include potato chips, chocolate, peanuts, and spinach among many others. Uric acid kidney stones are another common reason. They occur more in men than in women and usually develops when the urine is too acidic. Purine-rich diets increase the urine’s acidic level and thus increased the risk of these types of stones. Purine is abundantly found substance in fish, shellfish, and meats so overeating of these foods should be avoided. Alkalinizing the urine or just drinking enough water can help.
Struvite stones are another type of stones mostly occurring in women with urinary tract infections. They pose an increased risk to urinary obstruction. Treating the underlying infection can significantly halt the development of these stones. Cystine stones are also found, but these are very rare. They can occur in either men or women having the genetic disorder cystinuria.
Treatment of Kidney Stones
Drink seven to nine glasses of water daily. This help to increase urine flow and helps in elimination of stones through the urethra. Drinking plenty of water also reduces the formation of kidney stones.
Following medications are advised for treating kidney stones:-
- Allopurinol for Uric Acid Stones
- Phosphorus Solutions
- Sodium citrate
Lithotripsy is used to break large stones so that they can easily pass down into your urinary bladder.
Ureteroscopy is used for lower stones and smaller stones with laser treatment.
If you live in Las Vegas and search for urologist Las Vegas, you will find Dr. Lawrence Newman who can provide the best treatment for your kidney stones.