Kidney stones or renal lithiasis or nephrolithiasis are small, hard deposits that form inside the kidneys. These are made up of minerals and acid salts and have several causes. They can affect any region of the urinary tract from the kidneys to the bladder. They allow the minerals to crystallize and stick together thereby form into stones that are quite painful.
Though they do not cause any permanent damage, but they can be treated with pain medication along with plenty of water that will flush them out in case they are of small size. In other instances, surgery may be needed when they get lodged and grow in size causing complications. Subsequently, doctors will also recommend preventive treatments in future to reduce the risk of recurrence of the kidney stones.
Diagnosing Kidney Stones
When doctors suspect you have kidney stones, they will ask you to take any or all of the following diagnostic tests and procedures for confirmation:
- Urine analysis: A 24-hour urine collection test will show if you are excreting many stone forming minerals or few stone preventing substances. You will need to perform two urine collections for two consecutive days for this test.
- Blood testing: While helping to monitor the health of kidneys, it will reveal too much uric acid or calcium in the blood.
- Imaging: It will show kidney stones which are lodged in the urinary tract. Imaging options includes dual energy computerized tomography (CT), simple abdominal X-rays, intravenous urography or CT urogram and ultrasound.
- Analysis of passed stones: You will be asked to urinate through strainer so as to catch the stones when you pass. Subsequent analysis reveals the mineral composition of the kidney stones which is important to determine the cause of it.
Treatment for Kidney Stones
- Small Kidney Stones
- Drinking Water: About 2 to 2.8 litres per day of water will help to flush out the urinary system. Continue this until your doctor tells you otherwise or till you produce near clear urine.
- Pain relievers: Doctors recommend pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to relieve pain and mild discomfort.
- Medical therapy: Some doctors will prefer to give you medications such as alpha blockers which will help relax the muscles in ureter and help to pass kidney stones.
- Large Kidney Stones
The following are treatment options for kidney stones that are too large to pass and cause urinary tract infections, bleeding and kidney damage.
- Surgery to remove large kidney stones: Percutaneous nephrolithotomy includes the surgical removal of kidney stones using telescopes and instruments inserted through small incisions in the back. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and recommended when the ESWL has failed.
- Using sound waves to crush stones: Considering the location and size, your doctors will recommend ESWL (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy) which creates strong local vibrations that break the stones into tiny pieces which will pass through the urine.
- Parathyroid gland surgery: Some stones are cause due to overactive parathyroid glands producing too much parathyroid hormone that increase the calcium levels in blood causing kidneys tones. Removing the benign tumors in parathyroid glands causes this condition which will stop the formation of kidney stones.
- Using ureteroscope to remove kidney stones: Doctors will pass a thin lighted tube called ureteroscope that is equipped with camera through urethra and bladder to the ureter. After the stone is located, special instruments snare the stone and break it up into tiny pieces. It is performed under general anesthesia and stents will be placed in ureter to relieve swelling and promote healing.
Kidney Stones Treatment in India
Kidney stone treatment in India is comparatively low cost. Indian Health Guru Site along with the best urology clinics across the country offers the highest quality treatment options for the global patients. You can avail the free telephonic or online consultation directly through our website.