Fight the pain of stones

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Kidney stones

An old African proverb says – “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito”. This is painfully true in case of kidney stones. A large population of the world today has been facing this terror; some due to the lifestyle habits while some, a small minority due to their genes, which are designed to develop a kidney stone in their bodies in later stages. No matter what the cause is, it’s equally painful to all the patients.

The basic function of our kidneys is to flush out miniscule particles of minerals and/or salts. These filtered microscopic particles are then pushed into the Ureter. This elongated and thin tube is responsible for taking such minerals to the bladder, where they are urinated. This is how kidneys normally function. The problem arises when there is sudden imbalance of chemicals in their kidneys and the miniscule particles, join together to form a crystal.
The movement of this crystal through the delicate walls of ureter causes extreme pain, usually escorted by nausea and vomiting. Sometimes, such crystals cause urinary tract infections. Other times, stone is stopped in the kidney, which is responsible for a number of infections too. It may not cause immediate pain, but surely will catch up.
There are a number of causes which can be suspected for kidney stones; high levels of urinary calcium and oxalate being one. Second one may be the excessive intake of calcium by the intestines. Others may include; excessive sodium in diet; imbalance of chemicals; diseases; even a few medicines may cause it.

Treatments

If you think you have extreme pain in your abdomen or if you think you are passing a kidney stone, rush to your doctor immediately. If your pain is severe you may be hospitalized and tested for signs of obstruction/infection. If you’re lucky, you may fall in the 85% of people whose kidney stone passes out of the ureter and into the bladder in around 72 hours after its detection. This is when the extreme pain leaves.
The pain has to be dealt with in the meantime. To achieve such results, anti-inflammatory drugs with some narcotics are given to the patients. In case of a urinary tract infection, you will receive a number of antibiotics. The main concern is the stones that are needed to be removed from your bladder, either surgically or non-surgically.

Lifestyle changes

Apart from the prescribed medicines you need to bring a huge change in your living habits. The doctor will keep a strict eye on you till the kidney stone passes. To help ease the process, drink water, lots and lots of it. Over 3-4 litres of water a day is required. Walking is another way to help the stone out of your body. The urine must be strained and stones should be sent for regular analysis. Taking extra precautions is important. Not taking regular care of yourself may lead to the same painful condition you went through.
Drink water. Take in fluids preferably water, as much as you can. The goal you need to achieve is to dilute the urine so as to clear out any traces of the crystals being formed again.
Decrease your salt intake. Higher levels of salt in your diet can considerably increase the calcium in urine. Strive for a diet of less than 2400 mg of sodium a day.
Refrain yourself from eating meat. Eating meat causes the body to make excess calcium and uric acid. Non-meat sources like soy should be the perfect alternative you are searching for.
Include potassium in your diet, more of it. Orange juice, bananas and several vegetables and fruits contains the rich supply of potassium.

Quite some time ago, doctors asked patients to cut down the oxalates supply in their diet, however modern research has shown that cutting down on it does no particular good.

Kidney stone procedures

Quite some time back the procedure for removing kidney stones was complicated, including a major recovery and a long hideous scar. With advancement in technology, several methods have been found which are far milder. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) technique is the most recent technique which is used quite frequently to break stones in the kidney or upper urethra. Success rate of this technique is around 50-90% depending where the stone is placed and what chemical composition it’s made of. After the ESWL procedure, you should expect some blood some blood in your urine. The chances of complications however are a minimum.

Some kidney stones are unable to be treated by ESWL because of the location where they are lodged. Usually these locations are middle and lower part of the urethra. Your doctor would then be using an alternate method usually called Ureteroscopy. In this technique small stones in urethra are looked upon by a fibre optic camera and manually, stones are picked out. Larger ones are shattered with lasers. Shock waves or electric shocks are also used to move big stones.

Rarest type of tones like Struvite, cystine and Uric acid are usually hard to remove and are chemically dissolved into a solvent. This process is called chemolysis.

Fewer than 2% of people require open surgery these days. But whatever be the case, kidney stones are no longer the threat they once were to the health of an individual. With advancement in medicinal sciences, the pain of passing of stone can be controlled too. With painkillers given well on time and procedures, done accurately; the risk of complications have gone down considerably and one can live their life once again under no constraints.