Kidney Stones: Formation and Treatment Options

Kidney Stones: Formation and Treatment Options

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The function of the excretory system is finding and removing waste produced by our body. One of the organs in the excretory system is the kidney. There are many disorders linked to the kidney, but one of the most common is kidney stones, also called renal calculi. Historical evidence shows that kidney stones have been around for thousands of years. Kidney stones are one of the most painful urological disorders and one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. More than three million people a year visit their doctor and more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. If kidney stones are not treated, it may lead to infections, kidney damage, and even death. There are different types of kidney stones and treatments available. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating properly and drinking plenty of water helps to avoid kidney stones.
Kidney stone are form from substances found in the urine. They can be as small as a grain of sand to the size of a pearl. It has been documented that sometimes kidney stones can get as large as a golf ball. There are four types of kidney stones: calcium, struvite, uric acid and cystine stones. Calcium is the most common type of kidney stone.
The most common kidney stone contains calcium and is caused by not drinking enough water to flush out the calcium in your kidneys. The struvite stone is caused mainly from an infection in the urinary system. Uric acid stones are formed when too much meat or protein are consumed and not enough liquids. Cystine stones are rare, but are hereditarily and will build up in the urine until a stone is form.
Symptoms can very from no pain to excruciating pain when the stone obstructs the urinary tract. Some of the symptoms can be sharp, stabbing pain in the lower back, which can last from 20 minutes to one hour. Blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are some other symptoms. Many times, there will be an urged to urinate and when it finally happens there will be a burning pain in the urethra.
They are several ways to remove kidney stones and it all depends on the size and location of the stone. Usually if the stone is less than 4 mm in diameter it will pass on its own, but stones larger than 6 mm have only have a 20% chance of passing spontaneously, Drinking two to three quarts of water a day will help the stone pass.

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Treatments for larger stones can vary from shock waves that break up the stones to sizes that can pass through the urinary system to more invasive surgery like tunnel surgery or ureteroscope surgery. In all cases when the stone is retrieve, the doctor will examine it to determine the type of kidney stone in order to see what other medical treatment may be necessary to avoid the stones in the future.
Kidney stones are very painful regardless of the size of the stone. Surgery is the last option to eliminate kidney stones. If the stone does not pass spontaneously and the pain continues, a visit to the doctor is necessary. In most cases, kidney stones can be avoided by drinking plenty of water to flush out the waste produce by our body and by maintaining a healthy diet.

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