The primary function of the kidneys is to remove the waste and fluids from the blood and make urine from it. However, when the kidneys fail to work to the best of their potential, the waste and fluids remain as residue and stick to the kidney instead of being removed from the body. When a lot of such wastes and fluids get collected in the kidney, they start sticking together and making large chunks which are known as Kidney stones, formally.
Understanding kidney stones, its types, diagnosis, and treatment could prove beneficial for you. You should also get some knowledge of kidney stones removal cost Singapore as well its success rate to stay away from misconceptions. This guide covers all the aspects of kidney stones to make sure you have enough information about the problem while visiting your healthcare provider.
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are also known as renal calculi and they are hard crystal-like formations. While the usual place of their origin is the kidney, they can also be diagnosed in other parts of the urinary tract including ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Known as one of the most painful conditions in the medical literature, kidney stones can be formed due to various reasons depending upon the type of stone.
What Are The Different Types Of Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are of different types depending upon their forming crystals. Some of the most commonly diagnosed kidney stones types are:
One of the most common types of kidney stones is Calcium stones, made of calcium oxalate. When the amount of oxalate rises in the body, these types of stones can develop.
Men are more prone to developing uric acid stones than women. Primarily, people who suffer from gout or are undergoing chemotherapy treatment are more exposed to the risk of developing this type of stone. The high acidity of the urine causes this type of stone.
Women with a history of urinary tract infection are at more risk of developing these types of stones. In most conditions, these stones are large and can cause blockage in the urinary tract.
The rarest of kidney stones, Cystines are formed due to a genetic disorder known as cystinuria.
What Are The Risk Factors For Kidney Stones?
If the kidneys are not performing up to the mark and making less than 1 lute urine in a day, the person will be exposed to developing kidney stones.
It is also believed that kidney stones are more common in white people than black people.
Gender is also a detrimental risk factor for kidney stones as men are more exposed to the risk of kidney stones.
Many other risk factors can contribute to kidney stones. The list includes obesity, dehydration, protein, salt, and glucose-rich diet, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.
You are also exposed to the risk of developing kidney stones when:
- You have a history of developing kidney stones.
- There is a family history of the problem.
- You have had gastric by-pass surgery.
- You are suffering from polycystic kidney disease.
- You are consuming certain medications like diuretics (water pills) or calcium-based antacids.
What Are The Common Symptoms And Signs Of Kidney Stones?
One of the most gruesome symptoms of kidney stones is excruciating pain. However, you will only experience the symptoms of kidney stones once the stone starts traveling down the uterus. The pain that the stones produce is known as renal colic. The pain usually goes up to the back of the abdomen. However, some men may also feel the pain of traveling to the groin area.
Some additional symptoms of the problem include:
- Bloody urine; urine that is red, pink, or brown in color
- Vomiting and nausea
- Foul smell from urine
- discolored urine
- Chills with fever
- Increased frequency to urinate
- Nit able to empty the bladder in one go
How Kidney Stones Are Diagnosed?
When your healthcare provider will suspect that you have kidney stones, he/she would advise a few diagnostic tests and procedures including:
- Blood Tests: a blood test report shows the level of calcium or uric acid in your blood. It can also indicate the health of your kidneys and if there is any other underlying problem.
- Urine Tests: Usually, a 24-hour urine collection test is performed through which the amount of stone-forming minerals you are excreting is checked.
- Imaging: Different imaging tests can be used for checking the stones in the kidneys. Some of the popularly used techniques include dual-energy computerized tomography (CT) and abdominal X-rays. Sometimes, the experts may use ultrasound for checking the presence of stones in the body.
Analyzing Passed Stones:
In this test, the stones that you have passed are checked. Usually, the patient is asked to urinate through a strainer which can trap the stones passed out. The stones then are sent to the lab for study and identification of the minerals they are made of. This information helps the doctor in identifying the cause of your kidney stones and how it can be prevented.
What Are The Possible Treatments For Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are successfully treated using a range of treatment methods. The choice of treatment depends on the type of stones.
Kidney stones treatment for small stones with mild symptoms:
It is possible to treat small kidney stones without any invasive techniques. The doctors offer different advice to the patients which helps them pass out the stone from the body with urine. You would be suggested to:
- Drink plenty of liquids:
The first thing that your healthcare provider will advise you is to increase your water intake. You must consume at least 1.6 to 3.6 liter of water and other liquids in a day.
- Pain relievers:
It can be painful to pass even the smallest of the stones with urine and hence, the doctor prescribes you some painkillers. Commonly the patients are prescribed ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
There are a few medicines that help in kidney stone passing. This medicine is known as an alpha-blocker and it makes it easy to pass kidney stones easily and comfortably.
Kidney Stones Treatment For Small Stones With Serious Symptoms:
For large kidney stones, it requires more effort to pass them out. The need for more invasive treatment is there and some of the popular options include:
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a preferred treatment for large kidney stones. In this therapy, sound waves are used to break the stone into small pieces. The stone pieces pass out with the urine. There are certain side-effects of the problem including bleeding in urine, bruising on the abdomen and lower back, and bleeding around the kidneys.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a surgical way to remove kidney stones. It is a minimally invasive method in which small telescopes along with other instruments are inserted into the abdomen through a small incision.
Parathyroid Gland Surgery
Overactive parathyroid glands can be the cause of calcium phosphate stones formation in the body. This is a condition when the thyroid glands start producing a lot of hormones because of overgrowth. A surgery is hence performed to remove the extra growth and limit the production of thyroid hormone.
Can I Prevent Kidney Stones?
Expert doctors claim that kidney stones can be prevented with a combination of lifestyle and medicines.
- Stay hydrated:
The first thing you can do to prevent kidney stones is drinking plenty of liquids. The amount of liquids you must consume also depends on the rate of your sweating.
- Limit consumption of oxalate-rich foods:
You must regulate the consumption of oxalate-rich food like Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate, etc.
- Lower salt and animal protein:
Lowering the amount of salt and animal protein you consume can also help you prevent kidney stones.
Medication for kidney stones:
There are different types of medication available for kidney stones depending upon the type of stone. The doctors would first diagnose the type of stone and then prescribe any medication. Some commonly prescribed medicines for kidney stones include thiazide diuretic or a phosphate-containing medicine, allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim), antibiotics, etc.
Is Kidney Stone Removal Safe?
Yes, kidney stone removal is a safe procedure no matter what treatment the doctor chooses. However, you must consult with a qualified and experienced doctor for your problem. The right diagnosis of kidney stones is very important to treat the problem effectively. When you reach the doctor, do not fail to describe all your symptoms carefully, and undergo all the diagnostic tests suggested.
What Does The Kidney Stones Removal Cost Singapore?
Kidney removal, if you avail the treatment from a reputed and genuine healthcare provider, is an affordable treatment. You can easily get rid of the problem by undergoing treatment as prescribed by the doctor and have to pay a cost-effective price. However, you may get overcharged for the treatment if you fail to identify the authenticity and credibility of the doctor. Now that you know most of the important factors about kidney stones, make sure you also choose the best urology specialist Singapore for kidney stones removal treatment.