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Kidney Stones: What to Know About Their Diagnosis & Treatments

A kidney stone problem is a serious medical condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, it can be one of the most painful health conditions you can possibly experience.

Also known as renal calculi, kidney stones are formed when your urine contains high levels of salts and minerals. They typically originate in your kidneys but can also develop in other parts of your urinary tract, such as ureters, urethra, and bladder.

For minor cases, hard stones in the kidney may go undiagnosed and won’t cause any symptoms. However, if they are left unchecked, they can lead to your kidney swelling and cause a lot of pain. Because of this, your kidney needs to be checked and treated as soon as possible.

In this article, we’ll share with you a guide on what you need to know about the diagnosis and treatments of kidney stones.

Diagnosis

In most cases, people suffering from kidney stones will have themselves diagnosed to trace the location and the size of stones formed inside. Some individuals have what is called “silent” kidney stones, meaning that individuals do not experience any symptoms.

Simple imaging services, such as an X-ray, can be performed to look for the stones, while advanced imaging services are done for more complex cases. Furthermore, a urinalysis will also be a part of the diagnosis to see whether or not there are any infections.

Treatments

The treatment typically depends on the diagnosis that shows your actual condition. It will be based on the size and location of the stones, and how long you have had the symptoms. Below are some of the treatments you will receive if you have kidney stones.

  • Natural means: If you have a minor case, you can simply resort to natural means. All you have to do is drink plenty of water and wait for smaller stones to pass through your urine.
  • Medications: For a complex case, you may need to consume certain medications, such as Tamsulosin (Flomax). It allows your ureters to relax, making the stones easier to pass.
  • Surgery: For severe cases, you may have to undergo surgery for your kidney stones. Surgery is required if the stone fails to pass, the pain is too unbearable, and the stone is affecting kidney function.

Types of surgeries for removal

There are a handful of surgeries for kidney stones removal that you may undergo. For your reference, here are some of them:

  • Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL): This uses shock waves to break the hard stones into smaller pieces, which allows them to pass in the urine.
  • Ureteroscopy (URS): This entails the use of a ureteroscope inserted into the bladder, up the ureter, and into the kidney to locate the stones. Once located, a small device grabs the smaller stones and removes them. If they are big, the device will break them into pieces before pulling them out.
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL): This involves making a half-inch incision (cut) in the back or side of your body to allow the nephroscope into the hollow center part of the kidney. The instrument then breaks the stones and suctions out the pieces. PCNL is said to be the best treatment for large stones in the kidney.

Conclusion

When you experience pain in your kidney, it’s best to get yourself diagnosed and treated for kidney stones immediately. Taking this for granted will not only worsen the pain you face but also your health condition in the long run. We hope this blog has shed some light on what you need to know about the diagnosis and treatments of kidney stones.

We are a team of expert urologists in New Jersey who are more than willing to address your health conditions. If you need a diagnosis and treatment for your kidney stones, request an appointment with us today!

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