Renal lithiasis, or kidney stones, are small and hard deposits made of acid and mineral salts that are formed inside your kidneys. The fluid in your urine can dilute the substances that form crystals that would turn into kidney stones, but when the fluid stops doing that due to various reasons, you get kidney stones. The vast majority of kidney stones are calcium stones that are formed out of calcium oxalate.
If your kidney stones are struvite stones then they were formed inside your kidneys as a result of an infection, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Uric acid kidney stones happen in people who don’t drink enough water or those who lose too much fluid sweating.
If you’ve got cystinuria, which is a hereditary disorder that makes the kidneys excrete too many amino acids then you are likely to develop cysteine kidney stones.
As mentioned earlier, more often than not, there is no definite cause of kidney stones, but there some things you can do to decrease your risk of developing kidney stones. Firstly, if you are a man, then you’re more likely to develop kidney stones than a woman is. Thirdly, certain diets that are high in protein, sugar and sodium will increase your risk of certain types of kidney stones, so be careful! Lastly, if you’ve got family that has had a history of kidney stones, then you might also be at risk. To understand concepts regarding kidney stones, it helps to begin with a description of the urinary system. Stones form in the kidney when there is an excess of minerals, usually a combination of calcium, oxalate or uric acid.
If a stone is able to make the journey through the ureter and reach the bladder, then the hard work is done, and the stone is typically passed to the outside easily through the urethra. Before the 1980’s, intervention for stones required open surgical techniques, which typically required large incisions in the abdominal or flank area, and the need for a hospital stay of a week or more, with another one- to two-month recovery period at home. When a patient presents with an acute episode of pain and obstruction with a stone, the first step is often placement of a stent. The decision about using a stent in conjunction with lithotripsy may depend on stone size (large stones may do better with a stent to help keep the ureter open while fragments are trying to pass), and the degree of associated obstruction.
After lithotripsy, patients are encouraged to follow the guidelines listed in the Instructions for Passage of Stone newsletter to promote passage of stone fragments.
It can be difficult to reach the upper ureter or renal pelvis due to the curve of the ureter. It should be noted that with either lithotripsy or ureteroscopy, several procedures may be required to address the stone. In any of the circumstances where a stent has been placed, it is necessary to remove the stent.
When a patient is troubled with a stone, the doctors use the available techniques available to provide help. National Kidney Foundation spokesperson; Medical director, Dialysis Center of Lincoln, Neb. I've devoted more than 32 years, 8 months and 24 days of my life to the kidneys, but for 31 days each year all Americans have the opportunity to celebrate kidney health awareness.
To kick off National Kidney Month, here are five reasons why I think the kidneys and kidney disease deserve some respect and attention. They can affect any part of a person’s urinary tract, from your kidney, urethra to your bladder. The moment a kidney stone starts to make itself felt is the moment it starts moving inside your kidneys or enters your ureter (which is the channel that connects your kidneys to your bladder). If you are experiencing pain that doesn’t allow you to sit in a comfortable position, then it’s time to see a doctor.
If your pain is so intense that you’re experiencing fever and chills, then go see your doctor as soon as possible.
If you have trouble urinating or you’re experiencing pain while urinating, then most likely you have kidney stones.
If you’ve noticed any blood in your urine, then this might be a sign you have kidney stones.
It is not yet known what exactly causes kidney stones, but there are several factors that do increase your risk of developing them. We can find oxalate in food, but you should now that our liver also produces this substance.
When this is the case, struvite stones can grow quickly and can reach dangerous sizes without much previous warning. Those who eat a high-protein diet, consume too much sodium and sugar or have gout also are at risk of developing uric acid stones. Drink plenty of water, aside from helping your kidneys, it also does wonders for your skin and general health.


A high sodium diet increases the amount of calcium that gets accumulated in your kidneys and puts you at a high risk of developing kidney stones.
Make sure your BMI is in the normal range, to avoid kidney stones and other health related issues. If this is the case, then you should take care of yourself, drink lots of water, avoid having an increased BMI and diets high in protein and sodium.
These minerals begin to crystallize, and then the crystals can join together to form a stone (see Kidney Stone Prevention newsletter for description of stone formation and strategies for stone prevention).
They may present themselves in a dramatic fashion when they cause severe pain, or they may be found incidentally during an imaging study carried out to investigate some other issue.
Stones can cause obstruction at any point along the pathway from the renal pelvis, through the course of the ureter and down to the junction of the ureter with the bladder. If a stone blocks the ureter completely, then there is obstruction of the kidney, which can cause severe pain. The diameter of the urethra is four times larger than the diameter of the ureter, so typically the stone passes through without difficulty. When stones are in the kidney, they are often asymptomatic, and in many cases can be left alone. A stent is a thin tube, like a straw, that is placed in the ureter from the kidney to the bladder. For stones in the upper ureter or the kidney, the next step may be ESWL, also known as shockwave lithotripsy.
In some cases, the stone may fragment into multiple small grains of sand that pass through the ureter without difficulty.
In this procedure, also done under anesthesia, a fiber optic instrument is passed through the urethra and the bladder into the ureter to reach the stone. When a stone has been stuck in the ureter, there may often be swelling in the ureter where the stone had been lodged. Some patients may feel frustrated with the need for multiple procedures that are carried out on a staged basis, but it is helpful to remember that this approach is much better than the open surgical techniques used in the not too distant past.
The stent is typically removed via cystoscopy, which is often done in the office, but occasionally be done in the outpatient area with sedation. However, any intervention carries the potential for hazards to develop as a result of the effort to help. Fortunately, current practice offers the prospects for effective management, and the choice of that management depends on the unique circumstance of each individual patient. This year, to recognize the organ I hold so dear, I'll be posting lots of health tips and hopefully some new-to-you information about the kidney -- what it does and how to make sure you're doing everything that you can to protect this vital organ.
It's trendy to go green these days, but the kidneys have been recycling role models since long before the term had social traction.
If you have kidney stones, then you’re most likely in a lot of pain, especially if you’re passing them, that’s why it is very important to know what causes them, so you know how to avoid being at risk of developing kidney stones. When the kidney stones enter the ureter or start moving in your kidneys, then you will be experiencing some or all of these symptoms: severe pain below the ribs and in the side and back, pain that comes in waves, pain that fluctuates in intensity, pain that spread to the groin and lower abdomen, pain while urinating, pink, brown or red urine, vomiting or nausea, urge to urinate more often than usual, fever and chills (this happens if your kidney stones are giving you an infection).
High doses of vitamin D can increase your body’s levels of calcium oxalate as well as severe metabolic disorders or intestinal bypass surgery. If you live in warmer climates or you sweat a lot, you’re also at risk of developing kidney stones.
Also, if having regular checkups will correctly assess your health situation and it will help you avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. The kidneys, one on each side, sit high in the upper abdomen partially underneath the ribcage.
When there is pain suggestive of a stone, an x-ray study is carried out, such as a CT scan and a ultrasound, to determine if a stone is present.
If the stone rotates slightly (even if it has not moved any further “downstream”), it may no longer block completely, the urine from the kidney can get around the stone, the obstruction may be relieved, the back pressure on the kidney is released, and the pain can subside. Some stones, particularly small ones, can be present in the kidneys for years, and may never cause trouble. Reasons to intervene include significant blockage of the kidney, the presence of infection or fever, or the finding of a stone that is too large to pass.
Carried out with general anesthesia, this technique uses shockwaves that traverse the body to focus on the stone, which then cause fragmentation of the stone into smaller pieces, which can be passed down the ureter. In other cases, the stone may break into large fragments, which may pass into the ureter, where they may cause obstruction requiring further procedures for management of stone fragments. The stent helps dilate and straighten the ureter, which allows more room for subsequent ureteroscopy.
In some cases when the stent only needs to be in place for a day or two, there may be a string attached to the end of the stent, called a “dangler”, which is allowed to protrude from the urethra. With any of the interventions for stone, there are potential risks, which include the general risks associated with a procedure under anesthesia, such as a heart or lung problem, circulation or blood clot issue, bleeding or infection.


The kidneys make a concerted effort to save the nutrients and water that the body needs before filtering out the waste products from the blood. Albumin is a specific protein that can be detected in trace amounts in the urine, and its presence and concentration is a powerful indicator of kidney damage. If a stone is causing obstruction the next step depends on the size and location of the stone.
One of the most common reasons to proceed with intervention is a failure of the “trial of labor”.
The stent is placed via cystoscopy, a technique done under anesthesia, which does not require an incision or a puncture. Sometimes, a stone may be particularly dense with a very strong crystalline structure, and it may fragment only a little or not at all. Alternatively, if the stone is too large, a laser may be used to fragment the stone into smaller pieces, which can then be removed. The stent is often allowed to remain in place for several weeks, at which time ureteroscopy is more feasible.
In addition to the above, there are potential hazards such as perforation or scarring of part of the urinary system. Day in and day out, these fist-sized beans located below your rib cage on both sides of your spine work non-stop.
Removing waste products from the body and creating urine is a major function of the kidneys, but it's far from the only one.
Of the 200 liters of blood that the kidneys filter, the overwhelming majority (approximately 198 of them) are retained and reused by the body. Because kidney disease is often "silent," physical symptoms don't usually appear until kidney disease is very advanced, at which point dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary. Urine, once formed in the kidneys, enters the first part of the urinary drainage system called the renal pelvis.
If the stone has not passed on its own, or if there have been repeated episodes of pain, then the stone is removed. The cystoscope, a fiber optic catheter, is placed via the urethra (again, that is the tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside). In that case, repeat lithotripsy may be required, or a different technique may need to be carried out. Early detection can make a critical difference in stopping or slowing kidney disease progression. The pain can be felt anywhere along the pathway, and may be up in the back or side (referred to as flank pain), or it may extend to the lower abdomen or groin area. The patient tries to pass the stone with increased intake of fluids in an effort to “push” the stone through. A stent can be advanced through the cystoscope from the bladder into the ureter and up into the renal pelvis, which then provides drainage for the obstructed kidney. Routine testing can catch kidney disease early, when you can still prevent further damage and prolong the life of the kidneys. Stents are very effective at keeping the ureter open, and provide relief of the severe pain caused by obstruction. Without taking any breaks to update Facebook or chat with friends, the kidneys continuously filter 200 liters of blood, removing toxins, wastes and water to be excreted as urine.
The problem is that in many cases clinicians aren't diagnosing kidney disease, missing the opportunity to intervene before the kidneys have failed.
Urine is constantly being made by the kidneys, and transported through the renal pelvis and ureters into the bladder. When pain begins, it may be helpful to take the pain medication as prescribed, and to get into a tub of hot water or shower for 15-20 minutes. The end of the stent in the bladder can cause irritation, which may trigger urinary symptoms, including urinary frequency (the sense of the need to go more often), urgency, (the sense of the need to go right away), and pain or discomfort with urination. The patient may also be started on treatment with an alpha blocker (one of the most commonly used is Flomax, also known as tamsulosin). In men the urethra is longer and is encircled by the prostate, which is a gland that is part of the reproductive system. Alpha blockers are medications which are used to dilate the urinary pathway in men with an enlarged prostate, and are also useful to promote dilation of the ureter, which may make it easier to pass a stone.



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