Kidney Stones

What is a kidney stone and who does it affect?

A kidney stone can slowly develop unnoticed in the center part of the kidney (renal pelvis). When the stone breaks loose and migrates from the kidney to the bladder, the patient suddenly becomes very sick with excruciating pains. About one in 1,000 patients with a kidney stone has to be admitted to hospital. About 20% of patients with gout develop kidney stones.

What are the signs and symptoms of a kidney stone?

A kidney stone will usually cause back pain that moves into the right upper abdomen when the stone is fairly high. As the stone travels down, the sharp edges can cause damaged resulting in blood in the urine (hematuria). Pain becomes stronger and very rhythmic like labor pains. When the stone eventually arrives close to the bladder, the pain is in the lower right or left abdomen (depending on which side the stone is) and radiates into the genital region and the inner thigh area on the affected side. Patients may also begin to vomit or experience bloating of the abdomen.

How is a kidney stone treated?

Patients tend to visit the emergency room when the symptoms are excruciating. Pain relief is provided to the patient. Most small stones pass within a few others, while other may take 2 or 3 days. The passed stones can be recovered and analyzed by straining the patient’s urine.

If the stone does not pass within 3 days, the urologist has several options of extracting it. Shock wave lithotripsy is the method of choice for most stones less than 2 cm in diameter. With this treatment energy from a machine is focused on the stone until it shatters into smaller pieces. This procedure is repeated until the stone has disintegrated into sand like particles, making them easier to pass. The remaining stones can be removed through a tube inserted through the skin or through the bladder and the ureter. Other surgical techniques and a chemical dissolving method exist as well.

Special diet suggestions as to what to avoid and what to add in the diet to prevent recurrence of a kidney stone may be provided depending on the stone analysis.

IceWave patches from Lifewave are an FDA-approved non-drug method available, which will control pain.

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