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Kidney Stones And Renal Colic – Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Diagnosis And Treatment

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Kidney Stones And Renal Colic

Most people think kidney stones cause excruciating pain. However there are several treatment methods for removal or destruction without major discomfort. For people diagnosed with large kidney stones , the doctor will recommend a more aggressive treatment. Regardless of size, everyone who has kidney stones should call the doctor to remove them, pain relief due to painkillers does not solve the problem.

Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones or urinary calculi develop from salts and minerals that are transported by the urine, with a hard consistency  and  sizes ranging from several millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. Although derived from the kidney, kidney stones will be removed from the body through the urinary tract with difficulty (ureter, bladder and urethra) and often can be even block the flow of urine.

Kidney Stones Risk Factors

  • Excessive loss of water by sweating – high concentration and diminished urine volume that leads to precipitation of urine substances
  • Obstruction of the urinary tract
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Metabolic changes like hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria, hyperoxaluria, hyperuricemia, cystinuria.
Stones in Kidney

Stones in Kidney

Kidney Stone Causes

There are some people prone to kidney stones and occur mostly in:

  • Males
  • People who do not drink enough fluids
  • Aged 30-60 years
  • Have a family history including the presence of gallstones
  • Live in arid and hot zone.

Kidney stones form when urine has too high content of minerals and salts that harden. Sometimes, when the stone passes from the kidney to the ureter, urination is painful and is difficult.

Kidney Stones Symptoms

  • Discomfort
  • Severe back pain
  • Pain that is felt in the pelvis, genitals and lower abdomen
  • Intense sensation of burning during urination
  • Fever and chills
  • Hematuria (bloody urine)
  • Vomiting
  • Urine cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Loss of appetite.

Kidney Stones Types and Diagnosis

There are several types of kidney stones:

  • Those formed of calcium or calcium oxalate are the most common.
  • Struvite stones contain  crystallized magnesium and ammonia . They are formed mainly due to urinary tract infections.
  • Uric acid stones occur in people who have a high acidity of urine.
  • Cystine stones are rare and usually are found in the same families.

Imaging tests, such as ultrasound, abdominal ultrasound, intravenous pielography, retrograde pielography and computed tomography can be used to indicate the size and location of kidney stones. These investigations can be extremely useful to determine the potential risks of eliminating the kidney stone naturally or whether a minimal intervention or more aggressive treatment is needed.

Kidney Stones Treatment

There are several types of treatments for kidney stones. The doctor may prefer a particular technique over another, depending on the size and location of the kidney stone, and also depending on the treatment that has been followed.

Conservative Treatment

Because many kidney stones are small enough to be eliminated naturally during urination, the doctor may recommend the patient to drink plenty of water (liquids will help remove the stone). In some cases it is necessary to administer painkillers so that pain can be tolerated. When a person removes a stone it is indicated that the stone is preserved and taken to the laboratory to analyze the content. This can determine which foods to avoid (those that could contribute to stone formation). Besides drinking water, lemon juices can be consumed that are designed to stimulate the elimination of the stone.

Other therapeutic strategies

Lithotripsy (ESWL) Extracorporeal Shock Wave. This technique is suitable for breaking a kidney stone. With a special device, shock waves from the skin will be oriented to the kidney stone crushing it into tiny fragments that can be eliminated afterwards naturally through the urinary system.


Percutaneous Nephrolitotomy. This procedure is used when kidney stones are large and involves inserting a tube through a small incision in the skin, from the back side to the abdomen and kidneys to help drainage. A fiber optic camera, called nefroscop provides accurate images of the location of the stone. Using a probe supplied with energy, kidney stones will be disintegrated into small pieces.

Uretroscopy (retrograde and anterograde). The Ureteroscope is a small optical instrument with a very thin tube, with a camera and a small case, that is inserted through the urethra, bladder and ureter to the place where the stone is. There are two techniques in wich the kidney stone can be removed: either is caught in the housing and it breaks or it is pulled out through an instrument inserted into the ureteroscope.

Kidney Stones Treatment

Kidney Stones Treatment

Kidney Stones Prevention

Firstly, each person should drink plenty of fluids. If the family has other people who suffered from kidney stones you should pay special attention to your urinary system health. Without enough water, there are more chances that the salt and minerals that are present in urine to form kidney stones. Do not exceed the daily amount of 1-2 cups of caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee, cola, etc.)

Diet will change as follows:

  • If the kidney stones are composed of oxalate, the doctor may recommend limiting intake of citrus fruit, chocolate, beer, vitamin C supplements of  green vegetables.
  • For kidney stones made of calcium salt will be limited in the diet.
  • For uric acid stones red meat, fish and chicken consumption will be reduced to lower the acidity of urine.

The urologist may recommend diuretics, cellulose phosphate or potassium citrate to facilitate the excretion of calcium in people who have had kidney stones composed of calcium.