Kidney stones are solid lumps that grow in the kidneys and are often accompanied by pain. They can range in size from the size of a grain of sand to the size of a pearl and are usually yellow or brown in color. If they grow to a large size, they may block the urine flow and cause intense pain.
Treatment options for kidney stones
Treatment options for kidney stones vary based on the size and location of the stone. For small stones, a simple procedure called cystoscopy may be sufficient. For larger stones, surgery may be necessary. Both types of procedures involve incisions in the back and use a camera to locate the stone and break it up.
Surgical methods for kidney stones are available at the doctor’s office and may include endoscopic procedures (urethroscopy) or open surgery. Endoscopic surgery, including ureteroscopy, uses a small incision to guide a special device to the affected area. Open surgery, on the other hand, requires general anesthesia. A small incision is made in the back or ureter and the stone is removed. After the procedure, the surgeon will repair the incision.
Treatment options for kidney stones are available for both children and adults. In most cases, doctors will try to let the stone pass without surgery, but if it is not passed, it will need to be removed. Medications that reduce the acidity of urine may also be used.
Signs and symptoms
While the most noticeable sign of kidney stones is pain, it is important to remember that the intensity of the pain doesn’t necessarily mean the severity of the condition. Even small kidney stones can be painful. Moreover, the pain may come and go and may not be persistent. However, if you experience pain, it is recommended to seek medical attention.
The initial treatment of kidney stones is aimed at relieving pain and preventing infection. It may involve taking NSAIDs or strong narcotics. In some cases, you might also be admitted to the hospital for intravenous fluids. Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotic medications. The underlying medical conditions that may have caused the kidney stones must be treated as well.
Kidney stones can cause flank and abdominal pain. To confirm the diagnosis, imaging tests are often performed. Non-contrast CT scans can be used to rule out other causes of abdominal pain. The downside of this test is the high radiation exposure. Alternatively, ultrasound combined with plain abdominal X-rays is a quick and accurate diagnostic test.
Diagnosis of kidney stones involves a series of laboratory and radiographic studies, including urinalysis. This examination is essential in order to determine the presence of the stones. The exact location and size of stones is also an important consideration. In addition to the traditional tests, patients with kidney stones should undergo imaging to determine their severity and location.
X-rays and CT scans are commonly used to determine the presence of kidney stones. A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis is the gold standard, but a plain x-ray may also be necessary. Various other studies may also be necessary to pinpoint the exact location of a kidney stone.
A urinalysis with microscopy can reveal crystals in urine, which may indicate the presence of a kidney stone. The doctor may also look for signs of infection or bleeding. Another test that doctors use to determine whether a patient has a kidney stone is a 24-hour urine collection. Patients usually collect urine for 24 hours and two 24-hour collections over two days.
If you have kidney stones, you may have a variety of treatment options. There are conservative therapies, including increased hydration and pain control, as well as medical expulsive therapies, which use medications to aid in the passage of the stone. Your doctor will discuss the options available for you based on the size and location of the stone, as well as your symptoms.
Surgical procedures are available for larger stones. A ureteroscopy involves a small incision in the back of the patient, which allows a surgeon to see and break up the stone. Some doctors may also use a laser to break up the stone. This type of procedure can remove kidney stones of any size, including those up to 20 millimeters in diameter.
Cystine stones are common in people with chronic urinary tract infections. These stones are formed by an excess of cystine in the urine. People with chronic UTIs are at the highest risk of developing this type of stone. Cystine is a protein-building amino acid that is found in the urine and often forms during childhood.