Treatment for Kidney Stones

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Having kidney stones is completely normal. Most people have them and pass them in their urine unnoticed or with a little discomfort. Kidney stones are formed when substances present in the urine become too concentrated to form crystals and lump together. To avoid this, drinking plenty of water daily and maintaining a healthy diet are effective. When the stones become too large to pass in the urine spontaneously, medical treatment may be needed.

There are four ways to treat kidney stones. The most commonly used among urologists (kidney specialists) is the Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy, which is a non-invasive procedure to break down the stones into small fragments. This enables the patient to pass the stones in the urine more easily.

Another treatment option is Ureteroscopy, also known as Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery. The procedure is the lease invasive, but can still be uncomfortable. Painkilling medication or a mild anaesthesia is often given by the doctor. This treatment is necessary for stones that are lodged in the ureter (tube where wastes from the kidney are transported to the bladder) that block the passage of urine and causing damage to the kidneys. A long, thin telescope called ureteroscope is passed through the urethra to the bladder and into the ureter where the stone is lodged. The surgeon will try to remove the stone gently or break it down using a laser for the fragments to pass naturally in the urine. A plastic stent is often inserted to let the fragments pass more easily.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy is often used when shock wave lithotripsy is not possible to remove the stones from the kidney. Large stones, 21mm-30mm in diameter usually requires this procedure. The procedure involves a small incision in the back so that a nephroscope, a thin telescopic tube, can be passed into the kidney where the stones are then removed or fragmented using laser.

In rare cases, such as when a patient is in intense pain or require urgent care due to very large stones, an open surgery may be necessary. It is also done for patients with an abnormal anatomy, when all other alternative treatments are impossible. An incision in the back is made in order to gain access to both the kidney and the ureter for the surgeon to remove the stone successfully.

The above treatment options may become unnecessary in treating uric acid stones. This is because uric acid stones are much softer than the other types of kidney stones and they can be dissolved with plenty of water and alkaline fluids. Sometimes, the doctor will prescribe a medication to dissolve the stones, which when they become small enough, they can pass in the urine.

Before considering natural home treatments, make sure to see an urologist to determine whether the stones are small enough and safe to pass in the urine. If the stones are too large to pass and are causing intense pain, you may need immediate treatment at the hospital in order to make sure that you get the problem properly resolved.

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