Did you know that more than “1 in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in their life”? Yes, you heard that right! Unfortunately, kidney stones are more common than we think. 

Kidney stones are hard mineral and salt deposits that are usually formed due to dietary and lifestyle choices or an underlying medical condition. While some people may experience no pain at all, some do experience severe pain when these stones start moving around in the urinary system. 

While you may not be among the 1 in 10 people in the world who may suffer from this condition, it’s always good to be informed. Here’s everything you need to know about kidney stones. 

Kidney Stones & The Various Types

Kidneys play an important role in the human body. On a daily basis, they filter waste and regulate the water, salt, and mineral levels in the blood.

So how exactly do kidneys form? Well, they usually form in the kidneys when there are high levels of either calcium, oxalate, or uric acid in the urine. 

Kidney stones come in all shapes and sizes depending on the substance they are made of. Here is a list of four common types:

  1. Calcium Stones: Stones formed due to high levels of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate 
  2. Cystine Stones: Stones caused due to a common genetic condition known as cystinuria. 
  3. Uric Acid Stones: These stones are caused due to elevated levels of uric acid in the urine. 
  4. Struvite Stones: These types of stones are formed after urinary tract infections. 

Symptoms Of Kidney Stones 

Kidney stones cause no symptoms until they begin to move around in the urinary system. To be more specific, a kidney stone usually causes pain when it gets stuck in the ureters and blocks the flow of urine. When the stone blocks the ureters, a person may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sharp pain in the back 
  • Severe pain in the side 
  • Pain upon urination
  • Pain till the lower abdomen & groin
  • Nausea & vomiting 
  • Blood in urine 
  • Fever & chills if there is an infection 

If you suffer from any signs and symptoms of a kidney stone, consult a doctor immediately. 

What Causes Kidney Stones?

To date, there are no definite causes of kidney stones. However, several factors may increase the chances of their formation. Firstly family history may play a role in the formation of stones. Secondly, lifestyle factors including diet and weight may also increase the chances of developing stones. Finally, certain medical conditions and medications can also increase the risk of suffering from this condition. 

Treatment

When it comes to kidney stones, medical intervention is only needed if they don’t pass on their own. The treatment is decided by a medical professional depending on several factors including the size and the type of the stone. Here are some of the most common treatment options available today:

  1. Ureteroscopy: A medical professional uses a small scope to locate the stone and remove it using a basket-like instrument. If the stone is too large then it’s broken down into smaller pieces with a laser and then removed with the instrument. 
  2. Lithotripsy: In this procedure, a doctor employs shock waves to break the stone into smaller pieces. These pieces are then left to pass out naturally through urine. 
  3. Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: In this treatment, the doctor makes a small incision in the patient’s back to surgically remove the stone. 

Kidney stones can cause severe pain and distress to many people. If you think you suffer from any symptoms consult an expert immediately for the best treatment plan.

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