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Treatments for Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard crystals produced from the mineral and salt components of urine. Kidney stones do not usually produce symptoms so most of the time, they remain undetected until the person who has them feel them when they pass through the ureter.

There are different types of kidney stones based on how they are formed. It is important to know them to help patients and doctors know the kind of kidney stone treatment that will be used.

Here is a list of the different types of kidney stones.

  1. Calcium Stones. This is the most common type of kidney stones. Calcium stones are usually in the form of calcium oxalates. These are formed when oxalates in urine combine with calcium. 
  2. Struvite Stones are caused by urinary tract infection. A specific bacterium that causes this infection disturbs the balance of acid in the urine. This leads to formation of hard crystals composed mainly of ammonium and magnesium. Since women are more prone to urinary tract infections, it also follows that they are more prone to having struvite stones.  
  3. Uric Acid Stones, as the name implies, are formed from uric acids particularly if they are present in acidic urines. Uric acid dissolves in non-acidic urine but not in an acidic one. In acidic urine, uric acid becomes deposited and eventually forms into stones.  
  4. Cystine Stones are rare. They are effects of the disorder called cystinuria. A person with cystinuria has a high level of cystine present in his or her urine.

 

Now that you are aware of the various types of kidney stones, here is a list of possible kidney stones treatments available.

  1. Medical treatment. Different medications are given for different types of kidney stones. For those with calcium stones, certain diuretics may be given. These medicines lower the amount of calcium released into the urine. For those with uric acid stones, medicines that lower acid concentration in the urine are given.
  2. Extracorporeal shock wake lithotripsy or ESWL. This is the most commonly used kidney stone treatment. Shock waves are created outside the body. These waves pass through the skin and body tissues until they hit the target as guided by an x-ray or ultrasound. The waves shatter the stones into small pieces that can easily be removed through urination. Recovery time for ESWL is short.
  3. Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy. This is used when the stones are too large to be broken by ESWL. A small incision I made in the back where a nephroscope will be inserted. The nephroscope will break the stones in to small pieces and remove them. Hospitalization for several days is required after the procedure. Unlike in ESWL where removal of the small stone pieces will entirely be through urination, the nephroscope can directly remove the small pieces of stones.
  4. Ureteroscopic stone removal. A fiber-optic instrument called ureteroscope in inserted through the urethra to locate the stone. Once it finds the stones, it can either directly remove them or shatter them.
  5. Parathyroid surgery. Some calcium stones are produced because of the over activity of the parathyroid glands. These glands sometimes become overactive when there is growth or tumor in the thyroid. An operation can be done to remove this growth to treat kidney stones.

 

These procedures are being used by doctors for a long, long time already. They have produced positive results in treating kidney stones. But you must remember that there are also alternative means in treating kidney stones. There are natural remedies that can be used to remove stones. So if you are afraid of these treatments, consult your doctor for other means to remove your kidney stones.

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