Are you suffering from extreme pain in your back or sides?
Have you noticed that your urine has blood in it?
It’s possible that you might be dealing with a larger than ordinary kidney stone. You need to seek professional help immediately.
Kidney stones can be a nightmare. Throughout most of our lives we pass kidney stones without even noticing, but sometimes they can turn into a huge headache. The reason for this is that some kidney stones grow to a larger size than the ones that can pass out of our body through urine without causing discomfort.
The common kidney stones which we don’t notice are usually the size of a grain of sand or even smaller, but the ones that cause all sorts of issues and problems are much bigger and can get caught in our ureter. There, problematic kidney stones are often equal to the size of a pea, a marble, or in some rare cases can become even larger.
Obviously, the problem occurs when your body is not able to get rid of these stones, often causing them to become caught in your ureter. So, if you are experiencing extreme pain around your kidneys or your ureter, if you are suffering from blocked urine flow, or if you notice bleeding of the urinary tract then you should definitely consult your doctor immediately to check for kidney stones.
Types of Kidney Stones
There are a few different types of kidney stones, and they are separated into four categories. These categories are labeled according to the chemical composition of the stone.
Calcium Oxalate Stones
The most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone. There are a few factors that contribute to the likelihood of these types of stones forming in your kidney.
– Decreased volume of urine.
– Increased volume of calcium in urine.
– Increased volume of oxalate in urine.
– Decreased levels of citrate in urine. (Citrate can help prevent formation of calcium oxalate stones.)
Besides these general factors, there are also some medical conditions which can increase your risk of developing calcium oxalate stones.
– Hyperparathyroidism, a condition where you have an excess of parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream.
– Increased levels of uric acid in the blood. (Gout can be a big cause of this condition.)
– Any type of bowel disease.
– Those who have undergone surgery for obesity also have a higher risk of developing calcium oxalate stones.
– Any type of kidney problems will also increase the risk of kidney stones.
The less common types of kidney stones, which usually occur due to infections, are known as struvite stones. These types of kidney stones are associated with urinary tract infections, which create a favorable environment in which struvite stones can develop rather rapidly.
Because of how rapidly these stones grow, they can develop into very large sizes very quickly can cause major issues including an increased infection of the urinary tract, major kidney damage, and if left untreated they can even cause death. Struvite stones occur more frequently in women than in men. People who use bladder catheters for an extended period of time are also more susceptible to developing these struvite stones because of a higher risk of infection.
Uric Acid Stones
Another type of a kidney stone is known as the uric acid stone. These stones are common in people who are obese, those whose diet is extremely high in protein, and those who suffer from a medical condition known as gout. Gout is a condition where high levels of uric acid seep into the blood stream and end up being deposited into your joints.
These stones form in acidic urine with pH levels between five and six and can be very troublesome to detect because they are not visible on a plain x-ray. A more thorough examination is needed to determine if you are a victim of uric acid kidney stones.
The last type of a kidney stone is also the least common one, the cystine stone. Only about one percent of all patients with kidney stones are diagnosed with cystine stones. Cystine stones occur due to an inherited defect, which results in an issue transporting amino acid within the kidney. Generally, those who are affected by this defect develop cystine stones at a relatively young age. Since their kidneys aren’t able to transfer amino acid properly, the high concentration of this acid cause cystine crystals to form, which clump up together resulting in a formation of a bigger cystine stone.
Most patients who have this inherited defect suffer from reoccurring cystine stones and have to undergo prolonged treatment in order to manage the formations of these stones. Education about the condition, alertness, dietary changes, variety of fluids, and in some situations special medical treatment can be necessary to deal with these troublesome kidney stones.
Kidney Stone Treatment Options
The treatment of kidney stones varies depending on the type of kidney stones you have. In most cases, depending on the severity of the condition or the size of your kidney stone, you doctor will prescribe special medications which will help break the kidney stones down to a much smaller size and let them pass through your urinary tract.
However, sometimes it is necessary to undergo surgery in order to remove very large kidney stones. Surgery may also be necessary if you are in severe pain and unable to cope with it throughout the time needed for medications to work on removing the kidney stones.
There are four different types of surgery that a doctor can choose to perform according to the specifications of your kidney stones.
– Extracorporeal lithotripsy: Through a method of external application, shock waves are used to break down the larger stones into smaller ones, which make it possible for the stone to pass in the urine stream.
– Percutaneous ultrasonic lithotripsy: A small incision is made in the back of the kidney and used to insert a narrow instrument which removes the kidney stones after they are broken up by ultrasound.
– Laser lithotripsy: This method is used to break up stones trapped in the ureter with a laser. Afterward, the smaller stones pass through on their own.
– Ureteroscopy: A small telescope is used to either break down or remove the stone from the ureter. It is inserted into the urethra and guided towards where the stone is located.
No matter which type of kidney stones you suffer from, there is a way to treat them. If you experience severe pain in your back or sides, have a discomfort while urinating, or notice pink/blood tainted coloring of your urine, it is a really good idea to visit a doctor.