Kidney Stones: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Kidney stone disease is a condition when hard material that resembles stones is formed in the kidney. Stones found in the kidneys are sometimes as small as grains of sand to the size of a golf ball. Stones found in the kidneys can survive in the kidneys or walk out of the body through the urinary tract.

Causes of Kidney Stones

It is generally formed when urine contains more crystallizing agents. In addition, there are various risks that cause kidney stones:

1. Less Drinking Water

This disease is formed when there is a change in the balance of water, salt, and mineral levels in the body. Most commonly, the cause of kidney stones is lack of drinking mineral water.

Lack of fluids in the body or sweating too much, usually will cause the color of urine to appear pale yellow, cloudy or dark.

2. Medical Conditions

In addition to the problems above, there are also other causes that can also cause a person to experience this disease, including:

  • Intestinal Problems

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis often experience this disease problem. Intestinal problems can make someone get diarrhea, which causes urination rarely. The body can absorb a lot of oxalate from the intestine, so it enters more urine.

  • Specific Genetic Diseases

One example of this is a medullary sponge kidney, this birth defect causes cysts to form in the kidneys.

This disease can make a person’s urine become more acidic, which can form stones in the kidneys.

  • Gout 

This disease causes gout to accumulate in the blood and form crystals in the joints and kidneys. The size of kidney stones can be enlarged and will be very painful.

  • Parathyroidism

The parathyroid gland can pump too much hormone in the body, which increases calcium levels in the blood.

  • Kidney Tubule Acidosis

This kidney problem results in the accumulation of acid in the blood, which causes acidosis (excessive acidity).

3. Obesity

Overweight has twice the risk of causing kidney stones. Body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more when obese. When 5 feet 10 inches tall, obesity starts at 210 pounds or 95.2544 kilograms.

Weight loss operations that are considered fast can help a person lose weight and improve health. However, surgery alone can cause this disease.

Studies show that people who get surgery experience the most common weight loss, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), is far more likely to form stones.

4. Diet

Whatever food you eat plays a big role in its formation. The most common type occurs when calcium and oxalate stick together when the kidneys pass urine. Oxalates are chemicals that exist in many healthy foods and vegetables.

Your doctor may advise you to reduce foods high in oxalate if you have had this type of stone before. These foods include spinach, grits and cereal

5. Sodium

Sodium can be obtained from table salt, which can increase the risk. So, be careful when eating salty snacks, canned foods, packaged meats, and other processed foods.

6. Animal Protein

When urinating is too acidic, another type can form. Eating red meat and shellfish can make uric acid in the body rise, which can accumulate in the joints and cause gout or go to the kidneys and then form stones.

It’s important to remember, animal protein can increase urine calcium levels and reduce the amount of citrate, both of which cause kidney stones.

7. Medicines

Taking some drugs is also a cause of this disease, such as the following drugs:

  • Certain antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin and sulfa antibiotics
  • Some drugs for the treatment of HIV and AIDS
  • Certain diuretics to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). But some thiazide diuretics can actually help prevent it.

Types of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are formed from different crystals. Here are the various types of crystals that make it:

1. Calcium

Calcium is the most common cause. It is usually made of calcium oxalate (although it consists of calcium phosphate or maleate). Eating fewer oxalate-rich foods can reduce the risk of this type.

Foods high in oxalate include potato chips, spinach, beets, beans, and chocolate. Although some form from calcium, adequate intake of calcium in food can prevent.

2. Gout

This type is more often suffered by men than women. In general, it can occur in gout sufferers or those undergoing chemotherapy.

Stones derived from gout develop when urine is too acidic. A diet rich in purines can increase acid levels in the urine. Purines are colorless substances in animal protein, such as meat, fish and shellfish.

3. Struvite

This type of stone is commonly found in women with urinary tract infections (UTIs). These stones can get bigger and cause urinary blockages, as a result of kidney infection. If the infection is treated immediately, the development of struvite stones can be prevented.

4. Cystine

Although rarely found, this type can occur in men and women who have a genetic disorder cystinuria. With this type, cystine (an acid that occurs naturally in the body) leaks from the kidneys into the urine.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Generally do not cause pain, even sufferers do not feel any symptoms. However, here are the characteristics of kidney stones that are important to recognize:

  • Severe rib pain on the side, back, and bottom
  • Pain that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin
  • Severe groin pain
  • Urine is pink, red (bloody urine) or brown
  • Reduced amount of urine excreted
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • A strong desire to urinate
  • Fever and cold if there is an infection

Kidney Stone Diagnosis

If you are suspected of having kidney stones, your doctor may perform the following tests and diagnostic procedures:

1. Urine Test

A urine collection test is carried out for 24 hours to show that the body secretes too much stone-forming minerals or too little stone-preventing substances. The doctor will ask you to do two urine collections for two days in a row.

2. Blood Test

A blood test can reveal whether you have too much calcium or uric acid in the blood. Blood test results can help monitor kidney health and can direct doctors to examine other medical conditions.

3. Body Imaging

Imaging tests can determine the presence of kidney stones in the urinary tract. Imaging options range from simple abdominal x-rays, to high-speed computerized tomography or CT scans that can detect even small sizes.

Other imaging options such as ultrasound, non-invasive tests, and intravenous urography, which involve injecting dye into the arteries of the arm and using X-rays (intravenous pyelogram) or CT urogram, when the dye moves through the kidneys and bladder.

4. Kidney Stone Analysis

The doctor may ask you to urinate using a filter to collect the stones that are released. Then laboratory analysis can reveal the composition of kidney stones. The doctor will use this information to determine the cause and design a plan for prevention.

Also read: Don’t Ignore These 6 Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Treatment for Kidney Stones Naturally

Kidney stones are usually quite small when removed during urination and this condition may require home treatment like the following:

1. Drink enough water

Drinking water is the easiest way to prevent and treat. Drink as much as 2 to 3 liters of water a day (if you do not have health problems that do not allow excessive drinking) to help cleanse the urinary system, and relieve or slow down the growth of deposits in the kidneys.

2. Lemon juice

Lemon contains citrate, a compound that can help break down and slow down calcium deposits. Drink a glass of lemon water in the morning on an empty stomach and a few hours before dinner. How to treat kidney stones can help break down the smaller size.

3. Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate is a fruit that has astringent and antioxidant properties that are believed to reduce the possibility of kidney stone formation. This fruit also contains compounds that reduce urine acidity.

Drinking pomegranate juice is the easiest way to get the benefits of pomegranate.

3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra-virgin olive oil is a thick oil that can help reduce kidney stones by lubricating the urinary tract.

Drink about 5 ounces of extra-virgin olive oil in the morning and evening, which can reduce pain and discomfort.

4. Celery juice and seeds

Celery contains antioxidants and compounds that can increase urine production. You can also add celery seeds to your food regularly.

As for celery juice, you can simply blender one or two sticks of celery mixed with water. Celery juice can be consumed every day to help treat the symptoms of kidney stones.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains citric acid which can help dissolve calcium deposits. Drink two tablespoons of pure apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water.

This method can reduce symptoms and prevent the formation of kidney stones. A mixture of apple cider vinegar and water can be taken several times a day and may be most effective if consumed before meals.

Keep in mind, the scientific facts from various studies so far have concluded that the effectiveness of natural ingredients above is clinically still not supported by strong and consistent evidence. So if you want to use the above ingredients as a method of treatment, you should consult with your doctor first.

Medication for Kidney Stones

Small, painful kidney stones also require the following medical treatment:

1. Pain Relief

Removing small stones when urinating can cause discomfort. To ease mild pain, doctors usually recommend taking painkillers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen sodium.

2. Medical Therapy

Your doctor may prescribe kidney stones to help remove stones. This type of drug, known as an alpha blocker, relaxes the muscles in the ureter, helps to expel it more quickly and reduces less pain.

How to treat kidney stones that are large in size

If the size is too large and cannot be removed during urination, it will usually be removed surgically. The following are the main types of surgery to remove kidney stones:

1. Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL)

Extracorporeal lithotripsy shock waves use sound waves to break up large stones so that it is easier to lower the stones into the ureter up into the bladder. This procedure can be uncomfortable and may require mild anesthesia. This condition can cause bruising on the stomach and back as well as bleeding around the kidneys and surrounding organs.

2. Ureteroscopy

When a stone is stuck in the ureter or bladder, the doctor may use a device called a ureteroscope to remove the stone.

A small wire with a camera attached is inserted into the urethra and passed to the bladder. The doctor then uses a small instrument to break the stone and remove it. This stone is then analyzed in the laboratory.

3. Tunnel Surgery (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy)

The surgeon will remove kidney stones through a small incision. Sufferers may need this procedure if:

  • Causes blockages and infections or damage the kidneys
  • Grow too big
  • Pain cannot be overcome

If symptoms that you recognize, immediately consult a doctor to get the right treatment, healthy friend!

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