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Before starting the actual topic, I will share a short story about myself what I used to think about kidney stone when I am teenager as many teenager will read this one. I was quit puzzled about the word kidney stone and I used to think that having small stone particles in daily food leads to accumulation of stone in kidney but it is of no sense today as I am grown up medical personnel now.

Kidney stone, medically renal lithiasis or nephrolithiasis are solid masses usually originated in your kidney that can develop anywhere along your urinary tract which may be kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra. It is one of the important topic to talk about as the pain of kidney stone is considered worse than that of child birth.

What causes kidney stones?

Here are the various causes of kidney stones among which many are preventable if we take care of the daily habits and lifestyle.

Inadequate water intake

Its one of the major causes of developing kidney stone is low consumption of water or excess sweating which leads to decrease the amount of urine and cannot dilute the things which may form stone later on.

What you eat plays a vital role

Food which have high content of oxalate leads to kidney stone. These food includes: spinach, rhubarb, grits, bran cereals.

Image source: drjockers.com

Animal protein

Consumption of red meat (which don’t include chicken) and shellfish can make uric acid rise in the body. When the urine become acidic along with rise in uric acid cause stone formation

Sodium

In daily life we come table salt (NaCl) which contains sodium. Too much consumption of table salt has also been said to lead the stone formation.

Gut problems

Kidney stone is most common in people with inflammatory bowel disease like crohn’s disease & ulcerative colitis. Bowel problems can give you diarrhea, so you make less pee. Your body may absorb extra oxalate from intestine which increases chances of stone formation.

Genetic causes:

Stones in children are mostly due to some genetic in born errors of metabolism due to genetic or enzymatic defects. So, thorough evaluation is needed for kidney stones in case of children.

What symptoms you have if you suffer from kidney stones?

Symptoms may vary among the different people and highly depends on nature & size of stone. The most common one is pain. You may feel it:

  • In your side or back, below the ribs – and the pain can be very intense
  • In your groin and lower abdomen
  • Come and go and get better or worse
  • As you urinate/pee – and you might have to go more often than usual

The pain may shift around in your body, from your stomach or back down your groin. This indicates that the stone is making its way from your kidney through the ureter and closer to your bladder. When this happens, you are more likely to feel a burning when you pee and have more urges to go. You may sometime spot the stones after they exit.

How to confirm if you have kidney stone?

If you have symptoms mentioned above, visit the doctor nearby and have ultrasound of abdomen done. Ultrasound will alone identiy the kidney stone in most of the cases.

How to prevent kidney stone?

As said “Prevention is better than cure” so do prevention is best way to deal with kidney stone. We can get rid of kidney stones by following ways:

  • Drink a lot of water
  • Check food labels and avoid food which contain high level of sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sodium nitrate.
  • Eat citrus fruits like lemons & limes which prevent stone formation
  • Avoid food which contain high oxalates
  • Regular exercise to avoid obesity

                                           High citrus food (Image source: urologysanantonio.com)

What is the treatment of kidney stones?

Treatment of the kidney stones mainly depends upon the size of stone and the location of stone. If its less than 5 mm in size and in the ureter or pelvis many of them pass on its own if you take plenty of water and fluids. Your doctor may try a specific flush therapy with some medicines.

If the size of the stone is large and localized inside the kidney, then you may need to treated by shockwave lithotripsy, passing a scope through your urethra and getting out the stone. In some cases, surgery may be required. Nowadays minimal invasive surgery are in practice where small holes are made in your back and stones are extracted.

When to visit doctor if you suscpect kidney stone?

If you have pain in back or loin, pinching in nature sometimes upto the groin and inner thigh it may be kidney stone. Visit the doctor nearby and have your kidney scanned by ultrasound. Many of the stones can be identified by simple ultrasound scan.

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