Kidney Stones – Symptoms
In case the kidney stone is small enough to easily pass through the ureter, there may be no symptoms at all. However if the stone is bigger, the usual symptoms include:
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- blood in the urine
- Severe pain in the side or back, below the ribs
- A persistent urge to urinate, urinating frequently, or urinating in small amounts
- Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
Kidney Stones – Causes
There is no definite cause for Kidney Stones. However, there are some contributing factors that can increase the likelihood of developing a kidney stone, like:
- A constant low urine volume due to dehydration or not drinking enough fluids
- High calcium or high salt diet
- Bowel conditions that cause diarrhoea
- Certain surgeries, like gastric bypass surgery
- Some medications and supplements
- Family history
Kidney Stones – Diagnosis
If a patient experiences any of the symptoms, the doctor may run diagnostic tests depending on the specifics of the case.
- Blood Test
- Urine Test
- CT scans
- Analysis of passed stones
Kidney Stones – Treatment
You may be asked to wait for 2-4 weeks to allow the stone to pass naturally with urine, if the stone is not causing severe pain or an infection. However, if the stone is too large or is blocking the urinary tract, a Kidney Stone Treatment Surgery may be prescribed by the doctor.
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) – A non-invasive procedure where ultrasound is used to pinpoint the location of the stone and then shock waves are fired repeatedly to crush the stone to small pieces. These small pieces can then pass out of the urinary tract with urine.
- Ureteroscopy – A tool is passed into the ureter to find the stone and break it into pieces. After the procedure, a stent is placed in the ureter so that urine can drain normally from the kidney into the bladder.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) – This surgery is performed in rare cases, where the stone is too large. A tube is inserted directly into the kidney via an incision in the back. The stone is then removed directly or broken down to small crystals.
Kidney Stones – Risks & Complications
Kidney stone treatment surgery is a low risk and effective surgery. However, rare complications associated with this surgery include:
- Injury to kidney and adjacent organs
- Mild back pain
- Bladder irritation with frequent urge to urinate
- Blood in urine.
Since PCNL is a more invasive procedure than ESWL or Ureteroscopy, a higher chance of risk and complications are attached with it.
Kidney Stones – Pre Op Care
- Inform your doctor about all the medication and supplements you’re under
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight, the night before your surgery
Kidney Stones – Post Op Care
- Drink plenty of water to lubricate the stent and aid the moving out of the small sized stones.
- Your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent infection, treat bladder spasms or burning during urination
- Avoid prolonged sitting or lying in bed
- Take short regular walks to maintain physical movement and activity
- Avoid heavy lifting or exercising
- Get the stent removed as instructed by the doctor. If the stent is left inside for a prolonged period, it can cause infection as well as loss of kidney function.