Kidney Stones: A growing problem
Kidney stones is one of the most common kidney problems. Leaving them untreated can cause obstruction in the urine flow, leading to permanent damage of kidneys. Kidney stones are medically referred to as ‘renal calculi’.
Kidney stones are nothing but hard deposits that form inside the kidneys when various chemicals present in the urine get disturbed. These chemicals precipitate to form crystals causing stones. Number, size and location of the kidney stones may generally vary. There can be more than one stone. They may be present in kidneys or ureter (tube that carries urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder).
Causes of stone formation
1. Low intake of water
2. High intake of salt and sugar
3. Dehydration due to exercise
4. Medicines, which are used to treat HIV infections
6. Certain inherited disease such as Hypercalciuria (high calcium in urine)
7. Cystineuria (High content of cystine)
8. Diseases such as gout and IBS
Patients with small stones may not show any symptoms. However, those with bigger stones in kidneys may show symptoms such as
Types of stones
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Pain in the lower abdomen that increases while passing the urine
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea or vomiting
Kidney stones can be of various types such as
Uric acid stones:
These stones are formed in people who have persistent acidic urine. Increased level of acidic urine leads to formation of stones in the kidneys.
The most common stones seen in most of the patients are due to high levels of calcium oxalate in the urine.
Certain genetic issues cause some people to excrete large amount of cysteine in the urine, thus resulting in the formation of stones.
Frequent UTIs with bacteria create an atmosphere favourable to the formation of the stones made up of magnesium phosphate.
To diagnose if someone is having kidney stones, doctors usually recommend urine test and blood test. Sometimes to get a more comprehensive picture, s/he may suggest X-ray, CAT scan or ultrasound of kidneys and urinary tract.
Small stones can easily pass through the urinary tract not causing any pain and can be treated with just medications and simple diet modifications. However, it is the bigger stones which require surgical intervention for their removal. Shock waves and laser therapy are sometimes used to break and destroy the stones.
1. Increase your intake of water for diluting the urine and for preventing the concentration of chemicals in the kidneys.
2. Diet modification is important:
- Lower the intake of salt and sugar.
- Avoid consumption of coffee and tea.
- Lemon and cranberry juices are a good bet.
- Avoid oxalate rich foods such as spinach and nuts if you have calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Should I get my fibroids taken out?
“I have fibroids doctor! Should I undergo surgery?” As a gynaecologist, this is one of my most frequently encountered questions. So what do I say- “I have them too!!” Yes, it’s not a lie. I have a fibroid the size of a grapefruit. And it’s been around for the better part of the last decade. read more
Know the top 11 Benefits of Antenatal Exercises
Exercise does wonders for you during pregnancy. It helps to prepare you for childbirth by strengthening your muscles and building endurance. Also exercise helps getting your body back in shape once the baby is born. Benefits of Antenatal Exercises: Exercise helps to relax you and make you feel better. It improves the circulation for mother and read more
Laparoscopy or open surgery? Which is best for me?
With growing advances in minimal access surgery as well as an increase in public awareness, one of the common questions patients scheduled for surgery ask me is whether they should go for laparoscopic surgery or open surgery. As their gynecologist, it is my duty to apprise them of the risks and benefits of each modality. read more
Thyroid Cancer – Lesser known entity
Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in front of neck and produces thyroid hormones (T3, T4). Large numbers of patients in our country are suffering from thyroid problems. The purpose of this blog is to highlight various aspects of thyroid problems as well as cancerous growth in this gland, so that appropriate treatment can read more