Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, also known by its medical names nephroliths or uroliths, are effectively tiny and harden minerals and salt crystals. They are most likely to be found inside kidney but in all reality, they can exist anywhere within urinary track. Under normal circumstances, the minerals and salt inside our bodies are dissolved into the watery part of our urine and they do not transform into crystals; this is because we have certain substance inside our body that prevents crystal formation. However there is a threshold on how much of our urine can handle the amount of minerals and salts. When they reach a critical concentration level, they are likely to turn into kidney stones.

The process of kidney stone formation can be described as follows: at first it involves a formation of submicroscopic crystal nucleus inside the urine, then these particles will grow and congregate and a stone (or calculus) is resulted. Such stones will take on different sizes; with the smallest among them can be carried through the urinary tract and get transported outside our body, while the bigger ones tend to stay put in some form of medical treatment is usually required (this may either involve surgical removal or dissolution) to rid it from our urinary track.

For most people, symptoms first surface when the kidney stones make their ways from the kidneys to the ureters; these are the small tubes connecting our bladders to the kidneys. The most common symptom is the sensation of severe pain around the lumbar region, which slowly spreads to the hip and groin, while the stone traverse through the urinary tract. Other symptoms observed are the usual nausea, blood in urine, vomiting, pain on urination and occasionally fever.

Other Known Issues That Affect Kidney Stones

It is widely known that there are a number of factors that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. They can be genetic, dietary or infectious related and the chemical make ups may vary from one to another. Calcium stones (with major composition being calcium oxalate) are perhaps the most commonly found stone type among patients. Their formation is largely related to the high concentration of calcium or oxalate found inside the urinary tract. Such phenomena can be resulted from a number of factors; they are excessive consumption of oxalate-rich foods (which can be found in spinach, nuts, chocolate, potatoes, soy beans and strawberries), excessive intakes of vitamin D from supplements and some digestive disorders which gives rise to over-active intestine, causing an increased absorption of calcium or oxalate. Some other causes include urinary infections (struvite stones), dehydration or high-protein intake (uric acid stones) or certain hereditary metabolic diseases, like cystinuria which results excessive discharge of the amino acid cystine into the urinary tract and subsequently bring about the formation of cystine stones.

There is no one generic treatment of kidney stones as it is often dependent on the stone size as well as on the severity of the corresponding symptoms. When the stone is relatively small and does not cause any symptom or just manifest minor pain and discomfort, one can simply flush the stone out of our body through the urinary tract by drinking 2-3 litres of water a day. It is common to experience some pain or discomfort as the stone makes its passage, but one can relieve the pain through pain relievers.

In any case, when the stone gets too big for the abovementioned passage or it is causing severe symptoms like urinary bleeding or kidney damage, one may have to undergo surgical or endoscopic removal. Alternatively sound waves technology may be employed to break up the stone (so that the stones can be reduced to smaller fragments that are easily eliminable). Invariably, more invasive approach has to be adopted

Kidney stones are usually recurrent in nature. Even after treatment, patient is often advised to take on preventive measures so as to minimize the likelihood of recurrence. Even though prevention is not difficult, it often involves the patient to make choices on his or her lifestyle and dietary habits; practices like taking plenty of water through out the day, cutting down or avoiding oxalate-rich foods, removing or reducing animal protein from daily diet and exercising care with calcium supplements. As additional precautionary measure, one can get certain prescribed medicines from the clinic (for example urine alkalinizing agents or antibiotics) in order to reduce the chances of kidney stones formation.

Kidney stones patients or people who are in the high risk group are well advised to have themselves protected through an adequate and comprehensive international medical insurance plan before the onset of any symptoms brought about by the kidney stones. You will find the insurance handy to cover the related cost of therapeutic and defray your cash outlay for corresponding preventive treatment.