Situated on the left and right sides of the body are two organs that are shaped like beans which are called kidneys. The main function of kidneys is to separate any unwanted waste from the blood. This function is broken down into four stages: filtration, reabsorption, secretion and excretion. It is possible to live with only one kidney. For those who have kidney diseases or kidneys that do not function properly on their own often use a dialysis machine to help filter the blood. kidney stones are not a disease, but a mass found in the kidneys that resemble pebbles or stones, hence the name. There are multiple types of kidney stones that can affect you.
Types of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can cause serious problems within the body if they do not pass naturally (via urine) or if not removed. It is no surprise that passing a kidney stone is painful for most, especially men. A kidney stone is a hard and crystalized material that forms in the kidneys and sometimes in the urinary tract. Kidney stones are common and can be found in one in every 25 people. The types of kidney stones are:
- Calcium: These types of stones are the most common. The main cause of these stones is excess calcium that form into stones. Calcium stones formed from calcium, phosphate and oxalate.
- Struvite: Women are more susceptible to these types of stones because they suffer more from urinary tract infections. Infections of the urine can easily cause struvite stones to form in the body.
- Uric acid: These stones are common among patients with gout or people that undergo chemotherapy. These types of stones begin to form when there is too much acid in the body. Uric acid stones are more common among men than women.
- Cystine: This is the rarest form of kidney stones and usually occurs in those who suffer from cystinuria. Leaking acid in the body that travels to the urine is the main cause of these stones.
Causes of Kidney Stones
There can be different causes of kidney stones depending on the type of kidney stone formed. Some of the causes of kidney stones include:
- Excess of cystinuria
You are more likely to increase your chance of forming kidney stones because of the following: family history, diet, obesity, dehydration, kidney diseases and frequent urinary tract infections.
Kidney stone pain can often mask as another illness or problem. Some of the symptoms of kidney stones are:
- Pain during urination
- Pain in the side and/or back
- NauseaTypes of Kidney Stones
- Foul-smelling urine
- Urge to urinate often
- Pain in the groin
- Red, brown or dark urine
- Pain that comes and go in the lower abdomen
If you notice blood in your urine, a high and persistent fever or difficulty urinating, then you should seek medical help immediately.
Diagnosis and Treatment
One of the easiest ways to diagnose kidney stones is using an ultrasound. This method allows doctors to pinpoint the exact area of where the kidney stone(s) are.
Other methods of diagnosing kidney stones are by a computerized tomography scan (CT scan) or an intravenous pyelography (IVP).
Passing kidney stones is like a waiting game. Most of the time doctors will give patients pain medication and wait for the stones to pass on their own. A stone can pass within minutes, hours or days. If a kidney stone has not passed within a month or so, medical help may be needed. A surgical procedure known as lithotripsy ca be done to blast the stones.
Here are some tips to help prevent kidney stones from occurring or recurring:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
- Decrease the intake of calcium-rich foods
- Decrease the use of salt
- Do not prolong urinating
- Decrease the use sugar and citrus fruits