What Are The Most Common Types Of Kidney Stones
The most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone. This type happens when calcium and oxalate combine in your urine. It can happen when you have high quantities of oxalate, low amounts of calcium and arent drinking enough fluids.
Stones caused by uric acid are also fairly common. These come from a natural substance called purine, which is a byproduct of animal proteins .
How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will discuss your medical history and possibly order some tests. These tests include:
- Imaging tests: An X-ray, CT scan and ultrasound will help your healthcare provider see the size, shape, location and number of your kidney stones. These tests help your provider decide what treatment you need.
- Blood test: A blood test will reveal how well your kidneys are functioning, check for infection and look for biochemical problems that may lead to kidney stones.
- Urine test: This test also looks for signs of infection and examines the levels of the substances that form kidney stones.
What Is The Best Way To Pass A Kidney Stone
To determine the best way to pass a kidney stone, it is always best to consult your doctor. Identifying what causes kidney stone in your body and the types of kidney stones you may have are very important as they may affect the treatment approach you need to dissolve and pass the stones, as well as in order to prevent kidney stones.
Home remedies for kidney stones are commonly used in cases of mild kidney stone symptoms, and are found by many people to be very helpful as a natural way to dissolve, remove and speed up passing a kidney stone.
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Is There Any Way To Make Them Pass Faster
The best home remedy to encourage the stone to pass is to drink lots of fluids, especially plain water and citrus juices such as orange or grapefruit. The extra fluid causes you to urinate more, which helps the stone move and keeps it from growing. You should aim for at least 2 to 3 quarts of water per day.
Smaller stones are more likely to pass on their own, so you should take steps to keep the stone from growing. This includes eating a diet thats low in salt, calcium, and protein.
However, you need all of these for your body to function properly, so talk with your doctor about an appropriate diet to help you pass the stone.
Passing a kidney stone can be very painful. Taking pain medication such as ibuprofen wont speed up the process, but it can make you a lot more comfortable while passing the stone. A heating pad can also help.
If you have a fever, significant nausea, or are unable to keep down liquids without vomiting, you should seek medical care.
Likewise, if you have only one kidney or known kidney problems or damage, see a doctor immediately.
An infected kidney stone is a surgical emergency. If you notice any signs of infection, go to the hospital.
Symptoms Associated With Kidney Stones
When a kidney stone starts to pass, symptoms typically occur suddenly and without warning. Sharp, stabbing pain usually develops in your side or back, typically right at the bottom part of the ribcage. Sometimes, the pain will travel downward into the genital area. Stones that have nearly passed into the bladder may be associated with an intense urge to urinate.
Stone pain typically comes and goes. After an initial period of severe pain, you may feel better for a few hours before developing another attack. Many patients will require medication to help with stone pain.
Nausea and vomiting are also very common and are often a reason for hospital admission during stone attacks. You might also see blood in your urine. This can be unsettling to many patients, but is generally not life-threatening.
The most concerning symptom during a stone attack is fever, which indicates that you may have an infection in addition to a kidney stone. This is a potentially life-threatening combination and requires immediate evaluation and treatment.
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What Are The Treatments For Kidney Stones
The treatment for a kidney stone depends on the size of the stone, what it is made of, whether it is causing pain and whether it is blocking your urinary tract. To answer these questions and to figure out the right treatment for you, your doctor might ask you to have a urine test, blood test, x-ray and/or CT scan. A CT scan sometimes uses contrast dye. If you have ever had a problem with contrast dye, be sure to tell your doctor about it before you have your CT scan.
If your test results show that your kidney stone is small, your doctor may tell you to take pain medicine and drink plenty of fluids to help push the stone through your urinary tract. If your kidney stone is large, or if it is blocking your urinary tract, additional treatment may be necessary.
One treatment option is shock wave lithotripsy. This treatment uses shock waves to break up the kidney stones into small pieces. After the treatment, the small pieces of the kidney stone will pass through your urinary tract and out of your body with your urine. This treatment usually takes 45 minutes to one hour and may be done under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep and unable to feel pain.
In rare cases, a surgery called percutaneous nephrolithotomy is needed to remove a kidney stone. During the surgery, a tube will be inserted directly into your kidney to remove the stone. You will need to be in the hospital for two to three days to have and recover from this treatment.
How Do Kidney Stones Form
Most stones form just under the inner surface of the kidney. Small crystals in your urine fuse together, similar to the way salt crystals form from evaporating saltwater.
More crystals can bind over time until a stone is formed. The stone can then continue to grow bigger and ultimately become so heavy that it breaks off within the kidney. Once free to move around, it can either stay in the kidney or try to pass down the ureter.
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Why You Get Stones
Part of preventing stones is finding out why you get them. Your health care provider will perform tests to find out what is causing this. After finding out why you get stones, your health care provider will give you tips to help stop them from coming back.
Some of the tests he or she may do are listed below.
Medical and Dietary History
Your health care provider will ask questions about your personal and family medical history. He or she may ask if:
- Have you had more than one stone before?
- Has anyone in your family had stones?
- Do you have a medical condition that may increase your chance of having stones, like frequent diarrhea, gout or diabetes?
Knowing your eating habits is also helpful. You may be eating foods that are known to raise the risk of stones. You may also be eating too few foods that protect against stones or not drinking enough fluids.
Understanding your medical, family and dietary history helps your health care provider find out how likely you are to form more stones.
Blood and Urine Tests
When a health care provider sees you for the first time and you have had stones before, he or she may want to see recent X-rays or order a new X-ray. They will do this to see if there are any stones in your urinary tract. Imaging tests may be repeated over time to check for stone growth. You may also need this test if you are having pain, hematuria or recurrent infections.
Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone
Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.
Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.
The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:
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What Are Kidney Stone Symptoms In Women
Although kidney stones are more common in men, women do suffer from this condition. Kidney stone symptoms in women are usually very similar to, or the same as, kidney stone symptoms in men. Pain, problems urinating, and flu-like symptoms are the most common symptoms. Because they are very similar to the symptoms experienced before a woman’s menstrual cycle, these may be ignored at times.
Pain is one of the most common kidney stone symptoms in women. It often starts out as a mild to moderate cramping, usually located in a woman’s side or lower back. This area is roughly where the kidney is located.
As the kidney stone moves down the urinary tract, the pain may worsen, becoming sharper and more intense. It will also usually be felt in the lower region of the abdomen, or in the pelvic or groin area. Pain while urinating is another kidney stone symptom in women.
Additionally, other problems with urination are also kidney stone symptoms. Frequently feeling the need to urinate is another common symptom. Women with kidney stones who feel this usually do not actually have to urinate. This sensation occurs when the kidney stone passes into the duct that carries urine outside of the body, known as the ureter. When the stone pushes on the walls of this duct, a person may feel like she needs to urinate.
Sizes Of Kidney Stones
The size of kidney stones can range from small sized crystals to large sized stones such as the size of a golf ball. Usually, small-sized stones can easily pass through the urinary tract without any medical assistance. But in some cases, if these stones get struck along the tract, then medical treatment may be required.
Large stones require medical intervention and cannot pass on their own. Certain tests such as KUB, an Ultrasound or an IVP help in determining the size of the stone. Read about passing of kidney stones in urine.
The shape of kidney stones may vary from round, smooth or oval to branched, rough and jagged. They may take shapes of either starbursts, branch-like fingers or could be multi-layered. The shape of kidney stones depends upon the region where they are formed and their composition.
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Where Do Kidney Stones Comefrom
Before we can identify the stages of passing a kidney stone, we need to know from where the kidney stones come.
Kidney stones occur when certain substances such ascalcium, oxalate, and uric acid concentrate on forming crystals in the kidney.Crystals grow on rocks. Almost 80% of -85% of kidney stones arecalcium. The others are uric acid stones that form in people whose urine has alow pH.
Once the kidneys formed, they can break loose andpass through the urine, preventing the flow of urine. The result is years ofsevere pain, including lateral pain , seldom with blood in the urine, vomiting, and vomiting.When the kidneys enter the bladder through the ureter, they can cause frequenturination, bladder pressure, or groin pain.
If any of these indications occur, contactyour GP, Dr. Eisner. You will probably need to do a urinalysis anda kidney ultrasound, an abdominal x-ray or a CT scan to confirm that kidneystones are the cause of your condition and to determine their size and number.
Should I Cut Calcium Out Of My Diet If I Develop Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones
If you develop kidney stones composed of calcium, you may be tempted to stop eating foods that include calcium. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. If you have calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, its recommended that you have a diet higher in calcium and lower in oxalate.
Foods that are high in calcium include:
- Cows milk.
Its also important to drink plenty of fluids to dilute the substances in your urine.
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How Kidney Stones Are Diagnosed And Treated
Kidney stones can be diagnosed through X-ray, ultrasound, or CAT scan and are typically found after a person visits the emergency room or makes an appointment with their primary care physician because of the pain theyve been experiencing.
Dr. Propp says most patients pass their kidney stones, leading to significant relief of their symptoms. But some kidney stones require surgery to remove them. Doctors sometimes prescribe medication to either manage the pain associated with kidney stones or to help the stone pass. The smaller the stone is the more likely it is to pass on its own, not requiring surgery, says Dr. Coogan.
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Where Is Kidney Stone Pain Located
The sharp pain associated with a kidney stone moves as the stone progresses through your urinary tract. The most common places to feel pain are in your:
- Lower abdomen or groin
- Along one side of your body, below your ribs
- Lower back
However, while pain is certainly the most noticeable symptoms of kidney stones, it’s not always the earliest sign or even the most telling sign, for that matter.
“The pain associated with a kidney stone typically isn’t felt until after its already formed and is passing through your urinary tract,” explains Dr. Kannady. “In addition, due to differences in anatomy, men and women describe kidney stone pain slightly differently. Not to mention that pain itself is relative and everyone has a different threshold for it.”
Plus, the intensity of the pain isn’t necessarily a measure of how problematic the kidney stone might be or become. Smaller stones that are likely to pass on their own can still be very painful. And not every kidney stone that requires medical intervention comes with gut-wrenching pain.
“Any time you’re experiencing pain, it’s important to see your doctor. But if you’re experiencing pain, even if it’s only mind, in combination with the kidney stone symptoms above and, in particular, if you have a fever or severe trouble urinating it’s definitely important to see your doctor,” warns Dr. Kannady.
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Checking For Kidney Stones In The Emergency Department
First, the emergency doctor will give you medicine to help stop your pain. The medicine may be given by mouth. Or, it may be given through an intravenous needle placed in a vein in your arm. You may also be given medicine to help stop your nausea and vomiting. If you are dehydrated from vomiting, you may be given liquids through an IV tube.
Next, the emergency doctor will talk with you about your symptoms and medical history. If the emergency doctor thinks you might have a kidney stone, several tests may be done.
These may include:
- Urine Tests: To check for blood or mineral crystals in your urine or for signs of infection.
- Blood Tests: To check the health of your kidneys and for signs of a kidney or blood infection.
- Imaging Tests: To check for kidney stones in your urinary tract . Imaging tests may include a CT scan or an ultrasound.
Duration Of Kidney Stones
A kidney stone often goes unnoticed until it starts to pass into your ureters. Once this happens, symptoms typically appear without warning. Youll likely feel sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of your ribcage, though the pain can shift into the genital area as well.
The pain from kidney stones often comes in waves, and you may feel better for a few hours before the pain comes back.
Depending on the size of the stone, it can take up to six weeks to pass . Small stones may take only a few days to a week to pass. Your doctor will likely prescribe medications to help you manage the pain during this time.
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Whats The Outlook For Kidney Stones
The outlook for kidney stones is very positive, although there is a risk of recurrence . Many kidney stones pass on their own over time without needing treatment. Medications and surgical treatments to remove larger kidney stones are generally very successful and involve little recovery time.
Its possible to get kidney stones multiple times throughout your life. If you keep developing kidney stones, your healthcare provider may work with you to discover why the stones happen. Once the cause is found, you may be able to make dietary changes to prevent future stones.
Prevention Of Future Stones
Once your health care provider finds out why you are forming stones, he or she will give you tips on how to prevent them. This may include changing your diet and taking certain medications. There is no “one-size-fits-all” diet for preventing kidney stones. Everyone is different. Your diet may not be causing your stones to form. But there are dietary changes that you can make to stop stones from continuing to form.
Drink enough fluids each day.
If you are not producing enough urine, your health care provider will recommend you drink at least 3 liters of liquid each day. This equals about 3 quarts . This is a great way to lower your risk of forming new stones. Remember to drink more to replace fluids lost when you sweat from exercise or in hot weather. All fluids count toward your fluid intake. But it’s best to drink mostly no-calorie or low-calorie drinks. This may mean limiting sugar-sweetened or alcoholic drinks.
Knowing how much you drink during the day can help you understand how much you need to drink to produce 2.5 liters of urine. Use a household measuring cup to measure how much liquid you drink for a day or two. Drink from bottles or cans with the fluid ounces listed on the label. Keep a log, and add up the ounces at the end of the day or 24-hour period. Use this total to be sure you are reaching your daily target urine amount of at least 85 ounces of urine daily.
Reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
Eat the recommended amount of calcium.
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