Kidney stones are solid accumulation of chemical deposits that are formed inside the urinary tract. The medical term for these stones is renal calculi. They are hard, and could be as small as a microscopic speck or larger than a marble.
When a stone is very small it can easily pass through the ureter (narrow tube which connects the kidney to the bladder), and into the urine.
These tiny stones usually exit the body, unnoticed, during urination. Large stones, however, can create serious problems. They can remain in the kidneys or travel into the ureters, where they can become trapped.
Approximately 1 in every 10 persons will develop a kidney stone in their lifetime. They are more common in Caucasian males, over the age of 30 years. Persons who previously had renal calculi are at greater risk of recurrence. Also, persons with relatives who have or had this condition are at risk of being affected by it.
Persons who are prone to this condition should be very careful of their diet. Adequate amounts of water and good nutrition are integral to any prevention strategy or program.
One of the key functions of the kidney is to filter the blood and remove waste chemicals from the body, through the urine.
These waste products such as uric acid, phosphates, and calcium oxalate are usually kept in a liquid form by natural protective chemical compounds.
Occasionally, these protective compounds are unable to maintain the waste substances in a soluble form. When this happens, these substances begin to crystallize and clump together... forming what is known as renal calculi.
Tiny stones, sometimes called "silent stones", may never cause any problems. In fact, most people with these stones never know or suspect that they have them. They usually pass out in the urine without any problems.
Large stones are quite different and can cause problems when they restrict the normal flow of urine. Apart from the severe pains they cause, they can block the flow of urine down the ureters and create pressure on the kidneys.
Eventually, the pressure caused by backed-up urine can cause the kidney to become swollen. Over an extended period of time, the kidney may become damaged and infection may develop.
If a stone is lodged further down the ureter, the backed up urine may also cause the ureter to become swollen. The presence of a stone in the ureter may cause spasms, which result in severe pain. Any major blockage of the urinary system, especially the ureter, must be treated urgently. If the stone is not dislodged on its own then surgery may be required or doctors may recommend the use of a ureteric stent to allow the urine to drain into the bladder.
Diagnosing renal calculi is based on, among other things, a patient's history of very severe pain in the back, sides, or groin area. Severe pain is one of the first symptoms of kidney stone. To confirm the presence of renal calculi a physician will usually perform a urine test and an X-ray.
X-ray of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder may or may not reveal the presence of renal calculi. A series of x-rays taken after injecting iodine dye into a vein is usually a more reliable way of seeing a kidney stone. This procedure is known as intravenous pyelogram (IVP). The dye is like a highlighter which lights up the urinary system as it travels along. If a stone causes obstruction, the dye will be stopped or will only be able to trickle slowly past the stone.
Once a patient has passed a stone it is usually analyzed to determine the type of stone (chemical composition). It is important to know the type of stone that affected a patient, as this helps to diagnose the cause and formulate an effective treatment and prevention strategy.
The increasing incidences of renal calculi are becoming a common medical problem in many Western societies. This is largely the result of poor dietary and lifestyle habits. If you possess any of the risk factors for kidney stones, it is wise to start paying attention to your dietary habits.
If you have been diagnosed with of suspect that you may have a kidney stone, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If left untreated for an extended period, kidney stones could cause infections and kidney damage. A competent medical practitioner will be able to properly diagnose your condition and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment.
If you have ever had to endure the excruciating pains caused by kidney stones, and you don't mind sharing your experience, please take a few moments to tell us your story.
Others with similar experiences can identify with your story and may find encouragement and support, knowing that they are not alone.
Thanks for sharing and future visitors thank you also!
(Click here to see what other visitors have said.)
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Healthier - Kidney Stones Solution
I had my 1st noticeable kidney stone in January 2012. I am a 36 yr old female. I have Cacchi Ricci Disease, which I Found out in November 2015. It is …
Kidney Stone Hell
I went to an urgent care center on a Friday morning where they did an ultrasound. They said it was a 9mm stone and they set me up with a urologist the …
My Body Makes Kidney Stones
My name is Laurie... my body makes kidney stones. This statement might seem strange but I have had 12 large stones 7mm, 9.2mms etc., removed since 2004. …
My Horrific Kidney Stone Pain
I had been feeling sick for about a week or so, so naturally I went to see my family doctor. She wanted to alter my meds slightly then told me to call …
Kidney Stones... Kidney stent
At the start of a new year, just after Christmas, I was rushed to hospital with kidney stones. The pain was unbelievable. I was then back and forth …
Plenty Fluids Prevent Kidney Stones
I would like to relate my experience with kidney stones, for the benefit of others. I am a lawyer by profession. I had a bad habit of being a workaholic, …
Finally Stone Free!
After dealing with a 1.7 centimeter stone, a blockage, a stent, two lithotripsies, then another blockage and a third lithotripsy, I'm finally Stone Free! …
First Kidney Stones and Stent Not rated yet
I got a nagging pain in my abdomen about six (6) weeks ago... But it passed in about 40 minutes. It wasn't terrible. A few days later, however, I started …
Kidney Stones Not rated yet
Well I had two large stones in my kidney. The doctors blasted one that finally passed out. I have another one in the upper kidney area and I'm hoping …
Kidney Stones Suck Not rated yet
As I sit here in sheer agony with pending kidney stone making its way out of my body, I Google the cause of it and read a lot of reports stating its commonly …