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Information about Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are solid masses made of crystallized salts and minerals from urine. You might have heard for urinary or renal calculi, ureterolithiasis, nephrolitiasis or urolithiasis – these are all different names for kidney stones, depending on their localization. They can vary in size and small kidney stones can pass through the ureters, to the bladder and be excreted without damaging anything. However, kidney stones may also be larger. When these stones start to move from kidneys they can get stuck somewhere along the ureter or cause infection and some other harm to the kidneys.

People suffering from kidney stones usually feel tenderness of the abdomen or the back. More prominent signs and symptoms of this condition may include sudden or constantly present pain in the back, on the side, or in some cases in the groins or genitals. Renal colics are another possible sign of kidney stones. They are described as cramping caused by the contraction of the muscles of ureter wall, trying to move the kidney stone to the bladder.

Painful and frequent need to urinate is present in cases when the stone is already in the ureter or when it passes through the bladder. Infection of urinary tract is also known to cause pain during urination.

Blood in urine (called hematuria) may be visible or present only in traces and visible using microscope. In either case, it indicates the damage done to the ureter lining.

Fever, profuse sweating, tiredness and loss of appetite may also point to kidney stones in some patients. Nausea, vomiting and gastrointestinal problems such as constipation or diarrhea can also be associated with kidney stones.

Risk Factors for Kidney Stones

Statistic data show that men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women. According to available information, many of the patients are middle aged men who don’t drink enough water and use vitamins C and D in large amounts. Use of diuretic medications or antacids with calcium and consummation of alcohol also increase the risk of development of kidney stones. Recurrent urinary tract infections or blockage, problems with the kidneys or some metabolic disorders may also lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Available Kidney Stone Treatments

Type and cause of kidney stones determine the treatment options for this medical condition. Smaller stones don’t require surgical intervention and doctors usually advise drinking plenty of water and exercise for these patients. Drugs may be used to ease the pain or treat existing infections.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNCL) and ureteroscopic stone removal are treatment options for patients suffering from larger kidney stones.

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