What are kidney stones?
A kidney stone is a concretion or a crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract from minerals in urine. The condition of having kidney stones is termed nephrolithiasis. kidney stones are hardened mineral deposits which originate as microscopic particles. Since kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood and add them to the urine, some of these waste materials may not dissolve or be evacuated forming crystal or stones. Kidney stone may be of different sizes and shapes some kidney stones are small and pass out with the urine.
If stones grow to enough size (usually at least 3 millimeters (0.12 in)) they can cause blockage of the urethra. This can cause severe pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin. Kidney stones cause severe pain is called renal calculi.
The best way to avoid getting kidney stones is drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration, keeping urine diluted and thereby preventing kidney stones from being formed by the waste products.
Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine.
- Difficulty urinating
- A feeling of intense need to urinate
- Penile pain or testicular pain
- Occassional blood in Urine
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Fever, chills
- Urinary tract infection
- Sharp, cramping pain in the back and side, often moving to the lower abdomen or groin
Drink at least 3 liters of liquid each day to produce a large amount of urine. This will help the stone pass.
Surgery is mostly needed in the following cases:
- The stone is too big and cannot pass through.
- The stone continues to grow in size.
- The stone blocks urine passage restricting flow which in turn can lead to infection and kidney damage.
- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) – This procedure breaks down the kidney stones into smaller pieces which then pass out of the body through urine.
- Percutaneous Nephrostolithotomy (PCNL) – This procedure involves removing the stones through a nephroscope passed into the kidney through a track created in the patients’ back. Used for large and medium stones. The ultrasonic or laser probe breaks these stones which are than sucked out.
- Lithotripsy with holmium Laser – Performed under epidural & spinal anesthesia which are located in the middle and lower ureter. An ureteroscope which is passed into the ureter fragments the stones using holmium laser and converts them into sand like particles. These are then flushed out through the urinary passage. This is the most effective treatment for kidney stones.
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