Kidney Stones: A Guide to Prevention, Causes, and Treatment

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Kidney stones are known for being terribly painful. The small stones can be difficult to pass and are something everyone wants to avoid. Kidney stones are a build-up of crystals that form in the kidney and then have to pass through the urinary tract. There are ways to try and prevent kidney stones, but it’s also good to know the symptoms and treatments of kidney stones just in case.

 

Preventing Kidney Stones

There is no perfect formula to prevent kidney stones, but there are precautions you can take that could help. Drinking lots of liquids every day is one of the best ways to prevent kidney stones. Water is the best liquid to drink, but studies have shown that citrusy drinks may also be useful in preventing kidney stones. If you have already had a kidney stone, your doctor might prescribe medication to help prevent the development of more kidney stones.

 

Causes of Kidney Stones

There are several factors that can contribute to the buildup of kidney stones. After you have had kidney stones once, you are more likely to develop them again. If a family member has had kidney stones, that increases your likelihood of getting kidney stones. Being overweight has also been linked to kidney stones. Dehydration and diets high in protein, salt, and sugar can also increase the risk of kidney stones. Certain digestive diseases and surgeries can also contribute to increasing the risk of kidney stones.

 

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can cause an extreme amount of pain. Some people have compared the pain of kidney stones to the pain of childbirth. The pain can be in the back, abdomen, or side. Kidney stones can also make it painful to urinate causing a burning sensation. They can also cause a person to need to urinate more frequently and more suddenly than normal. Bloody urine can be a sign of kidney stones. Other symptoms of kidney stones can be urinating in smaller amounts, experiencing nausea and vomiting, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, and fever and chills.

 

Treatment of Kidney Stones

If the kidney stones are small, it is possible to pass kidney stones without medical help. If kidney stones are larger and more difficult to pass, urology services may be needed to help pass the kidney stones.

 

There are several methods to try and break down larger kidney stones. Shock wave lithotripsy is used to shock the larger kidney stones and break them into smaller pieces that are easy to pass.

 

A cystoscopy can also be used to help treat kidney stones. During a cystoscopy, a cystoscope is inserted through the urethra to examine the urethra or bladder. When the stone is found it can be broken into smaller pieces or removed whole. Similarly, a ureteroscope can also be used. It is similar to a cystoscope but is thinner and longer and is used to see a more detailed image of the ureters and kidneys.

 

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is another medical procedure used to treat kidney stones. In this procedure, a small incision is made on the back so a nephroscope can be inserted into the kidney. The doctor uses the nephroscope to locate the kidney and may use a laser to break large stones into smaller stones. Patients who receive this procedure may have to stay in the hospital for several days after to recover from the procedure.

 

Conclusion

The best way to handle kidney stones is honestly by trying to avoid them. If you aren’t able to do so, there are all the above-mentioned treatments that can help you get back to feeling great again.

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