Kidney stones (renal lithiasis) are small, hard deposits that form inside your kidneys. The stones are made of mineral and acid salts. Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract - from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage. Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances, surgery may be needed.
Kidney stones often have no definite, single cause, although several factors may increase your risk. Kidney stones form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances - such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid - than the fluid in your urine can dilute. At the same time, your urine may lack substances that keep crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form.
Types of kidney stones
Knowing the type of kidney stone helps determine the cause and may give clues on how to reduce your risk of getting more kidney stones. Types of kidney stones include:
- Calcium stones. Most kidney stones are calcium stones, usually in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in food. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, have high oxalate levels. Your liver also produces oxalate. Dietary factors, high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery and several metabolic disorders can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine. Calcium stones may also occur in the form of calcium phosphate.
- Struvite stones. Struvite stones form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection. These stones can grow quickly and become quite large, sometimes with few symptoms or little warning.
- Uric acid stones. Uric acid stones can form in people who don't drink enough fluids or who lose too much fluid, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those who have gout. Certain genetic factors also may increase your risk of uric acid stones.
- Cystine stones. These stones form in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids (cystinuria).
- Other stones. Other, rarer types of kidney stones can occur
A kidney stone may not cause symptoms until it moves around within your kidney or passes into your ureter - the tube connecting the kidney and bladder. At that point, these signs and symptoms may occur:
- Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin
- Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
- Pain on urination
- Pink, red or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Urinating more often than usual
- Fever and chills if an infection is present
Pain caused by a kidney stone may change - for instance, shifting to a different location or increasing in intensity - as the stone moves through your urinary tract.
Factors that increase your risk of developing kidney stones include:
- Family or personal history. If someone in your family has kidney stones, you're more likely to develop stones, too. And if you've already had one or more kidney stones, you're at increased risk of developing another.
- Being an adult. Kidney stones are most common in adult's age 40 and older, though kidney stones may occur at any age.
- Being a man. Men are more likely to develop kidney stones, although an increasing number of women are developing kidney stones.
- Dehydration. Not drinking enough water each day can increase your risk of kidney stones. People who live in warm climates and those who sweat a lot may be at higher risk than others.
- Certain diets. Eating a diet that's high in protein, sodium and sugar may increase your risk of some types of kidney stones. This is especially true with a high-sodium diet. Too much sodium in your diet increases the amount of calcium your kidneys must filter and significantly increases your risk of kidney stones.
- Being obese. High body mass index (BMI), large waist size and weight gain have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.
- Digestive diseases and surgery. Gastric bypass surgery, inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea can cause changes in the digestive process that affect your absorption of calcium and water, increasing the levels of stone-forming substances in your urine.
- Other medical conditions. Diseases and conditions that may increase your risk of kidney stones include renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism, certain medications and some urinary tract infections.
When the stone size is small, homeopathy is likely to help in the passage of stone as well as in relieving the agonizing pain caused by the same. If the stone size is larger, or the stone is impacted, or there are multiple stones, then the patient is better treated surgically. However, even after surgical removal of stones, homeopathy still has a role to play in preventing its recurrence (as the chance of having recurring stones are about 70-80%).
Date: 4th Feb, 2014:
World Cancer Day
Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world, according to WHO, which estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention. Read More
Date: 14th March, 2014:
World Kidney Day
World Kidney Day was first celebrated in 2006, and from that date on, the world still celebrates this world day with a different theme and certain massages every year. Read More