The Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones
If you’ve never had a kidney stone, count yourself lucky as these tiny conglomerations of calcium and other compounds can make life extremely difficult.
The stones themselves are not actually stones, but most are rather a conglomeration of calcium and other compounds. They are formed in the kidneys and then must pass out of the kidneys and out of the body through the urethra. This process of movement from kidney to urethra can be extremely painful, although some small stones can pass without causing any significant discomfort.
The symptoms of a kidney stone typically include sharp pains in the back, around the area where the kidneys are located. Nausea and vomiting also might occur along with the pain. Pain during urination and blood in the urine are two other common symptoms of a kidney stone.
Your regular doctor typically can help you when you have these stones, or perhaps you will want to see a doctor that specializes in these types of issues – an urologist. The urologist can perform some tests that correctly determine whether or not you have a kidney stone or perhaps some other problem. An ultrasound machine can be used to help locate a kidney stone, and the ultrasound equipment is an excellent option because it is non-invasive and does not require that a patient be exposed to contrast dye or any radiation.
Generally, if the stone is small, your doctor will recommend increasing your fluid intake, and sometimes pain medicine will be prescribed or an over-the-counter pain medicine will be recommended. When it comes to fluids, water is the best choice, and some studies show that adding lemon juice to the water can be helpful. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages as these cause dehydration, which is often a reason why stones are created in the first place.
For larger stones that cannot pass out of the body, medical intervention might be necessary. One procedure, known as shock wave lithotripsy, involves crushing the stone in order to make the pieces small enough to pass through the body easily. Ureteroscopy is another common procedure where a doctor uses a scope to find the stone and either remove it or perhaps use a laser to break it into passable-sized pieces. In some cases, more invasive surgery might be needed, although most stones can be managed without surgery.
Be sure to keep the pieces of the stones you pass and give them to your doctor for analysis. While most stones are calcium based, there are cystine stones, uric acid stones and struvite stones. Knowing the type of stone you have can make it easier to avoid the formation of stones in the future.