Kidney stones (kidney lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are little, difficult mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys. The stones are made of mineral and acid salts.
Kidney stones have lots of causes and can impact any part of your urinary tract – from your kidneys to your bladder. Commonly, stones form when the urine ends up being concentrated, permitting minerals to take shape and stick together.
Passing kidney stones can be rather painful, however the stones typically cause no irreversible damage. Depending upon your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink great deals of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances– for example, if stones end up being lodged in the urinary tract or trigger problems – surgery might be needed.
Your doctor might advise preventive treatment to lower your risk of frequent kidney stones if you’re at enhanced danger of developing them once again.
Kidney Stones Symptoms
A kidney stone might not trigger symptoms till it moves within your kidney or passes into your ureter– television connecting the kidney and bladder. At that point, you may experience these signs and symptoms:
- Severe pain in the side and back, listed below the ribs
- Pain that infects the lower abdominal area and groin
- Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in strength
- Pain on urination
- Pink, red or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent need to urinate
- Urinating more often than typical
- Fever and chills if an infection is present
- Urinating small amounts of urine
Pain caused by a kidney stone might change – for example, moving to a various location or increasing in intensity– as the stone moves through your urinary tract.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any symptoms that stress you.
Seek instant medical attention if you experience:
- Pain so severe that you cannot sit still or discover a comfy position
- Pain accompanied by queasiness and throwing up
- Pain gone along with by fever and chills
- Blood in your urine
- Trouble passing urine
Kidney stones often have no guaranteed, single cause, although numerous factors may enhance your danger.
Kidney stones form when your urine consists of more crystal-forming compounds– such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid– than the fluid in your urine can water down. At the exact same time, your urine might lack compounds that avoid crystals from sticking together, developing a perfect environment for kidney stones to form.
Types of kidney stones
Understanding the type of kidney stone helps identify the cause and might offer hints on the best ways to decrease your risk of getting more kidney stones. Kinds of kidney stones include:
- Calcium stones. Many kidney stones are calcium stones, normally through calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a naturally happening compound discovered in food. Some vegetables and fruits, along with nuts and chocolate, have high oxalate levels. Your liver likewise produces oxalate. Dietary elements, high doses of vitamin D, digestive tract bypass surgery and numerous metabolic conditions can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine. Calcium stones might also take place through calcium phosphate.
- Struvite stones. Struvite stones form in reaction to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection. These stones can grow quickly and become rather large, in some cases with couple of symptoms or little caution.
- Uric acid stones. Uric acid stones can form in individuals who don’t drink sufficient fluids or who lose excessive fluid, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those who have gout. Specific hereditary elements also may enhance your threat of uric acid stones.
- Cystine stones. These stones form in individuals with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete excessive of certain amino acids (cystinuria).
- Other stones. Other, rarer types of kidney stones also can happen.
Aspects that increase your threat of developing kidney stones include:
- Family or individual history. If somebody in your household has kidney stones, you’re most likely to establish stones, too. And if you’ve already had one or more kidney stones, you’re at enhanced risk of establishing another.
- Dehydration. Not drinking sufficient water each day can increase your risk of kidney stones. Individuals who live in warm environments and those who sweat a lot might be at higher danger than others.
- Particular diets. Eating a diet that’s high in protein, salt and sugar may increase your threat of some types of kidney stones. This is particularly true with a high-sodium diet. Too much salt in your diet increases the amount of calcium your kidneys should filter and considerably enhances your danger of kidney stones.
- Being obese. High body mass index (BMI), huge waist size and weight gain have been connected to an enhanced risk of kidney stones.
- Digestion illness and surgery. Stomach bypass surgery, inflammatory bowel disease or persistent diarrhea can cause modifications in the digestion procedure that impact your absorption of calcium and water, enhancing the levels of stone-forming substances in your urine.
- Other medical conditions. Illness and conditions that may enhance your threat of kidney stones consist of renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism, particular medications and some urinary system infections.
Getting ready for your appointment
Little kidney stones that don’t obstruct your kidney or trigger other problems can be treated by your family doctor. But if you have a large kidney stone and experience severe pain or kidney issues, your doctor might refer you to a doctor who treats issues in the urinary system (urologist or nephrologist).
What you can do
To get ready for your visit:
- Ask if there’s anything you need to do before your appointment, such as limitation your diet.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to kidney stones.
- Keep track of just how much you drink and urinate throughout a 24-hour duration.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or other supplements that you take.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember what you discuss with your doctor.
- Jot down concerns to ask your doctor.
For kidney stones, some basic concerns consist of:
- Do I have a kidney stone?
- What size is the kidney stone?
- Where is the kidney stone located?
- What type of kidney stone do I have?
- Will I require medication to treat my condition?
- Will I need surgery or another procedure?
- What’s the possibility that I’ll establish another kidney stone?
- How can I avoid kidney stones in the future?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best handle them together?
- Do I need to follow any restrictions?
- Should I see an expert? If so, does insurance coverage usually cover the services of an expert?
- Exists a generic option to the medicine you’re prescribing?
- Do you have any academic product that I can take with me? What websites do you suggest?
- Do I need a follow-up visit?
Besides the questions you prepare in advance, don’t hesitate to ask any other concerns during your visit as they strike you.
What to anticipate from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of concerns, such as:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or periodic?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to enhance your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to intensify your symptoms?
- Has anyone else in your family had kidney stones?
Tests and medical diagnosis
If your doctor presumes you have a kidney stone, you might have diagnostic tests and procedures, such as:
- Blood testing. Blood tests might reveal excessive calcium or uric acid in your blood. Blood test results aid monitor the health of your kidneys and may lead your doctor to look for other medical conditions.
- Urine testing. The 24-hour urine collection test may reveal that you’re excreting a lot of stone-forming minerals or too few stone-preventing drugs. For this test, your doctor might ask for that you carry out two urine collections over 2 consecutive days.
- Imaging. Imaging tests may show kidney stones in your urinary system. Options vary from easy abdominal X-rays, which can miss out on little kidney stones, to high-speed or dual energy electronic tomography (CT) that may expose even small stones.
Other imaging alternatives consist of an ultrasound, a noninvasive test, and intravenous urography, which involves injecting color into an arm vein and taking X-rays (intravenous pyelogram) or getting CT images (CT urogram) as the dye journeys through your kidneys and bladder.
- Analysis of passed stones. You may be asked to urinate through a strainer to capture stones that you pass. Laboratory analysis will reveal the makeup of your kidney stones. Your doctor utilizes this information to identify what’s triggering your kidney stones and to form a plan to avoid more kidney stones.
Treatments and drugs
Treatment for kidney stones varies, depending on the type of stone and the cause.
Little stones with very little symptoms
Most kidney stones won’t require intrusive treatment. You might have the ability to pass a little stone by:
- Drinking water. Drinking as much as 2 to 3 quarts (1.9 to 2.8 liters) a day might help eliminate your urinary system. Unless your doctor informs you otherwise, beverage enough fluid– mainly water– to produce clear or nearly clear urine.
- Painkiller. Passing a small stone can cause some pain. To alleviate moderate pain, your doctor may suggest pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or naproxen salt (Aleve).
- Medical treatment. Your doctor might provide you a medication to assist pass your kidney stone. This kind of medication, called an alpha blocker, relaxes the muscles in your ureter, helping you pass the kidney stone quicker and with less pain.
Big stones and those that cause symptoms
Kidney stones that can’t be treated with conservative measures– either because they’re too big to hand down their own or due to the fact that they cause bleeding, kidney damage or continuous urinary tract infections– may need more comprehensive treatment. Procedures may consist of:
- Using acoustic waves to separate stones. For specific kidney stones– depending upon size and place – your doctor may recommend a treatment called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).
- ESWL makes use of acoustic waves to create strong vibrations (shock waves) that break the stones into tiny pieces that can be passed in your urine. The treatment lasts about 45 to 60 minutes and can trigger moderate pain, so you may be under sedation or light anesthesia to make you comfy.
- ESWL can cause blood in the urine, bruising on the back or abdomen, bleeding around the kidney and other surrounding organs, and discomfort as the stone pieces travel through the urinary system.
- Surgery to get rid of huge stones in the kidney. A treatment called percutaneous nephrolithotomy (nef-row-lih-THOT-uh-me) involves surgically eliminating a kidney stone making use of small telescopes and instruments inserted through a small laceration in your back.
- You will get basic anesthesia throughout the surgery and remain in the healthcare facility for one to 2 days while you recuperate. Your doctor might suggest this surgery if ESWL was not successful.
- Utilizing a scope to get rid of stones. To get rid of a smaller sized stone in your ureter or kidney, your doctor may pass a thin lighted tube (ureteroscope) equipped with a video camera through your urethra and bladder to your ureter.
- As soon as the stone lies, special tools can snare the stone or break it into pieces that will pass in your urine. Your doctor might then position a small tube (stent) in the ureter to ease swelling and promote healing. You may need general or regional anesthesia throughout this procedure.
- Parathyroid gland surgery. Some calcium phosphate stones are caused by overactive parathyroid glands, which lie on the four corners of your thyroid gland, just below your Adam’s apple. When these glands produce too much parathyroid hormone (hyperparathyroidism), your calcium levels can become expensive and kidney stones might form as an outcome.
- Hyperparathyroidism often happens when a small, benign tumor types in among your parathyroid glands or you develop another condition that leads these glands to produce more parathyroid hormone. Removing the growth from the gland stops the formation of kidney stones. Or your doctor might advise treatment of the condition that’s triggering your parathyroid gland to overproduce the hormone.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
Prevention of kidney stones might consist of a mix of way of life changes and medications.
You might reduce your danger of kidney stones if you:
- Consume water throughout the day. For people with a history of kidney stones, medical professionals generally suggest passing about 2.6 quarts (2.5 liters) of urine a day. Your doctor might ask that you determine your urine output to make sure that you’re drinking adequate water.
- If you reside in a hot, dry environment or you exercise frequently, you might need to drink much more water to produce sufficient urine. If your urine is light and clear, you’re likely drinking enough water.
- Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. If you tend to form calcium oxalate stones, your doctor may advise limiting foods rich in oxalates. These consist of rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate and soy items.
- Choose a diet low in salt and animal protein. Lower the amount of salt you eat and choose nonanimal protein sources, such as legumes. Think about making use of a salt replacement.
- Continue eating calcium-rich foods, but make use of care with calcium supplements. Calcium in food doesn’t have a result on your threat of kidney stones. Continue consuming calcium-rich foods unless your doctor encourages otherwise. Ask your doctor prior to taking calcium supplements, as these have been linked to enhanced danger of kidney stones. You may reduce the danger by taking supplements with meals. Diets low in calcium can increase kidney stone formation in some individuals.
- Ask your doctor for a recommendation to a dietitian who can assist you develop an eating plan that minimizes your danger of kidney stones.
Medications can control the quantity of minerals and acid in your urine and may be handy in individuals who form specific type of stones. The kind of medication your doctor recommends will depend upon the kind of kidney stones you have. Here are some examples:
- Calcium stones. To help prevent calcium stones from forming, your doctor might recommend a thiazide diuretic or a phosphate-containing preparation.
Uric acid stones. Your doctor might recommend allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim) to lower uric acid levels in your blood and urine and a medicine to keep your urine alkaline. In many cases, allopurinol and an alkalizing agent might liquify the uric acid stones.
Struvite stones. To avoid struvite stones, your doctor may suggest strategies to keep your urine free of bacteria that trigger infection. Long-term USAge of prescription antibiotics in small dosages may assist achieve this objective. For instance, your doctor may recommend an antibiotic prior to and for a while after surgery to treat your kidney stones.
Cystine stones. Cystine stones can be hard to deal with. Your doctor may advise that you consume more fluids so that you produce a lot more urine. If that alone does not help, your doctor may also recommend a medication that decreases the amount of cystine in your urine.
Last modified: August 18, 2016