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Steinberg Urology: All About Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small deposits or hard crystals forming inside your kidneys when minerals and salts in your urine bond together. Kidney stones may come unnoticed and stay in the urinary system with little or no symptoms, but as they grow in size and move location, there may be intense pain requiring surgical intervention so as not to obstruct urine flow and proper urinary system functioning. In Steinberg Urology, patients with kidney stones are given the proper diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care, focusing on long-term health.

What are the risk factors of kidney stones? It includes family history of kidney stones (first-degree relatives), dehydration (lack of fluids), certain diets (high in protein, oxalates, and stones like chocolates, nuts, and spinach), excess vitamin C or vitamin D intake, inflammatory conditions (Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease), metabolic disorders (gout or hyperthyroidism), and obesity. When it comes to thesigns and symptoms of kidney stones, it may include severe pain (located in the side or the back, radiating to the abdomen and the groin area), painful urination, frequent need to urinate, urinary urge, blood in the urine (hematuria), nausea and vomiting, foul smelling urine, and fever (stone causing infection). Patients with large kidney stones use CT scan, ultrasound, x-ray, urinalysis, and blood work to determine excessive uric acid or calcium, and they are usually diagnosed in the emergency department or in a urologist’s office. With the help of increased fluid intake (to flush out stones), pain relievers (acetaminophen), and alpha blockers (to relax ureters to allow passing of stones with lesser pain), small kidney stones may pass through the kidneys. A special strainer can be used in catching kidney stones or its fragments to help your urologist create the right medical intervention or treatment plan for you.

Kidney stones have different shapes and sizes including uric acid stones, calcium-oxalate, struvite stones, and cystine stones. Calcium-oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stones caused by foods high in salt as well as oxalate-rich food like spinach, kale, chocolate, strawberries, nuts, and tea. Struvite stones grow very large, causing infection, and it affects both men and women. Uric acid is a waste product of the body found in the urine and uric acid stones may form because of excessive intake of animal protein like red meat. Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) refers to a non-invasive procedure for removing smaller stones (less than 10mm in diameter) wherein high energy shock waves are delivered through the body to the stone, breaking up the stone into small particles. Find out more about kidney stones by checking Steinberg Urology website or homepage now.

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