Kidney Stone Symptoms and Treatment
Kidney stones are small stones formed when salts and other minerals in the urine stick together. These stones, which are not very noticeable unless there is an obstruction, can cause pain by blocking the narrow channels leading to the bladder.
As the kidneys filter waste from the blood, they form urine. Sometimes salts and other minerals in the urine stick together to form small kidney stones. These range from the size of a sugar crystal to a ping pong ball, but they are rarely noticed unless they cause a blockage. Kidney stones can block the ureters, the narrow channels leading to the bladder, and cause pain.
Kidney Stone Symptoms
When kidney stones pass through the urinary tract, they can cause:
- Severe pain in the back, abdomen, or groin
- Frequent or painful urination
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea and vomiting
Small stones can pass without causing symptoms and can be treated.
Kidney Stone Diagnosis
Kidney stones are rarely diagnosed without causing pain. This pain is usually severe enough to send patients to the ER where various tests can reveal stones. These may include a CT scan, X-rays, ultrasound, and urinalysis. Blood tests can help look for high levels of minerals that play a role in the formation of kidney stones.
Home Treatment Method for Kidney Stones
If the kidney stone seems small enough, your doctor may suggest that you take painkillers and wait for the stone to pass on its own. During this time, your doctor may recommend that you drink about eight to 10 glasses of water and fluids a day to keep the urine clear.
Kidney Stone Treatment
The smaller the kidney stone, the more likely it is to pass on its own. If it is less than 5 mm, the probability of passing without further intervention is 90%. If the stone is between 5 mm and 10 mm, the rate is 50%. If a stone is too large to pass on its own, several treatment options are available.
1- There are prescription medications that can help the body get rid of kidney stones. Medicines known as alpha blockers relax the walls of the ureter. This widens the passages so a stone can pass more easily. Side effects are usually mild and may include headache or dizziness. Other types of medication can help prevent new stones from forming.
2- The most common medical procedure to treat kidney stones is known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This therapy uses high-energy shock waves to break the kidney stone into small pieces. Small pieces can then pass through the urinary tract more easily. Side effects may include bleeding, bruising, or pain after the procedure.
3- When a stone comes out of the kidney and is close to the bladder, the most common procedure is ureteroscopy. A thin tube is passed through the urinary tract to the location of the stone. A surgeon breaks the stone and removes the pieces from the tube. No incisions are made on the body.