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Dec 2023

Kidney stones: What you should know

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Dec 09, 2023

According to a study, nearly one in every ten people may experience kidney stones in their lifetime. Kidney stones are more common in adults than in children. Blood in urine, back pain, nausea, and vomiting are the most common symptoms of kidney stones. A kidney stone can be the size of a chickpea as well as a golf ball. While small kidney stones can pass the body through urine, surgery might be required for larger ones.

What is a kidney stone?

A kidney stone is a solid mass made of crystal that can be as small as a sand particle to the size of a golf ball. Most people do not even realize that they have a kidney stone. Small size kidney stones generally exit the body through urine, however, this process can cause severe pain. Drinking a lot of water can help in the process. Surgery is required for kidney stones that cannot pass through urine.

Who is most likely to develop kidney stones?

There are many risk factors for developing kidney stones. The risk factors include:

  • Having a diet that includes substances that can form a stone
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Having a family history of kidney stones
  • Having a blockage in the urinary tract

Certain medical conditions can put you at risk for developing kidney stones. The conditions may include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Parathyroid disease
  • High calcium level in urine
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney cysts
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gout
  • Cystic fibrosis

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones form from the substances that are present in your urine. The substances usually pass through the urine. Sometimes substances cannot pass through urine due to low urine volume, and as a result the substance forms a stone. The substances include:

  • Calcium
  • Uric acid
  • Oxalate
  • Phosphate
  • Cystine
  • Xanthine

How are kidney stones diagnosed?

Healthcare advisers will first ask about your symptoms, medical history, and family medical history. After that they will prescribe you certain diagnostic tests, such as:

  • Blood test: A blood test will help determine how well your kidneys are functioning, and will look for biochemical problems that can develop kidney stones.
  • Urine test: A urine test helps find out the signs of infection and measures the levels of stone-forming substances in your urine sample.
  • Imaging test: Imaging tests including ultrasound, X-ray, and CT-scan help doctors determine the location, size and shape of the kidney stones. It also helps doctors decide the suitable treatment plan for you.

Smaller kidney stones do not require treatment as they leave your body when you urinate, which can be severely painful. However, if your kidney stone is in bigger size then your doctor would suggest surgery to remove them. Your doctor may also prescribe you certain medications to reduce extreme pain, and to manage nausea and vomiting.