Discover the Top Causes of Kidney Stones and How to Prevent Them


Discover the Top Causes of Kidney Stones and How to Prevent Them

Kidney stones, also known as nephrolithiasis, urolithiasis or renal calculi, have become prevalent, especially among men these days. While some stones stay in the kidneys and go undetected, others leave and have the potential to cause significant pain and, in some cases, complications. Depending on your situation, a kidney stone may pass through your urine, or you may require surgical treatment to remove it.

Read on to learn about kidney stones symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and the treatment you can opt for and get covered by a health insurance plan.

What Are Kidney Stones and How Are They Formed?

Your kidney usually eliminates the waste substances your urine contains as it has various wastes dissolved in it. Human urine has different waste materials dissolved in it that are filtered and eliminated by your kidneys. Crystals start developing when your urine is concentrated or has too much waste. However, your urine may not have a substance that stops crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form. Stones can develop in one or both kidneys. Substances such as calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate are attached to those crystals formed in your urine and form a solid piece of stone.

Types of Kidney Stones

Below mentioned are the 5 types of kidney stones- 

Calcium Oxalate Stones - These stones are the most common type of stones found in the kidney. It develops when the urine has high calcium levels and low citrate levels. Foods such as beets, black tea, nuts, potatoes, spinach and chocolate are high in oxalate, which can develop calcium oxalate stones. If you develop calcium oxalate stones frequently, your doctor may advise you to undergo an evaluation of your metabolism and urinary function. This requires urine and blood tests to know the exact cause. Also, your doctor may advise you to make dietary modifications to avoid the likelihood of forming kidney stones.

Struvite Stones - This kind of stone is common among women formed due to urinary tract infection. These stones grow fast, become big, and sometimes occupy the entire kidney. They can cause severe UTIs and kidney function loss if left without medical assistance.

Calcium Phosphate Stones - Calcium phosphate stones are caused due to abnormalities in the urinary system functions. Your doctor may advise you to undergo a series of urine and blood tests to know the cause of the stone.

Uric Acid Stones - Uric acid stones are common among men and in people with high animal protein intake or those who don’t drink enough water. It is also found in people with a family history of stone, who have had chemotherapy or have gout.

Cystine Stones - Cystine stones happen due to cystinuria, a hereditary genetic disorder. This disorder leads to excessive amounts of amino acid cystine collecting in the urine. This may result in kidney and bladder stones and ureters that move urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Kidney Stone Symptoms

You may experience below mentioned symptoms if you have a kidney stone passing through your urinary tract, moving inside your kidney or getting stuck in your ureter (the tube that comes from the kidney to the bladder):

  • Mild to severe pain starting from the back or below the ribs to the lower abdomen and groin area
  • Painful urination
  • Pain at the tip of the urinary organ if you are a man
  • Blood in urine with a foul smell
  • Frequent urination but in smaller amounts
  • Chills and fever due to an infection
  • Vomiting and nausea

It is also possible that you remain asymptomatic. Also, when a kidney stone is passed through your urine, you may see it in the urine stream. It may appear as a small pebble or a small grain.

>> Also Read: 4 Valuable Tips That Will Keep Your Kidneys Healthy

Causes of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones occur due to various known and unknown reasons. Possible causes include drinking less water, exercising excessively or not exercising, weight loss surgery, obesity, eating too salty or sugary food, etc. Family history and infections could also be the possible cause in some people. Consuming excessive fructose found in table sugar and corn syrup also puts you at risk and can result in kidney stones.

Are Kidney Stones Dangerous?

Well, in extreme circumstances, kidney stones can be hazardous. Kidney stones can have significant implications on your health if you ignore them or keep putting off getting them treated.

Kidney Stone Size Chart

Passing a kidney stone at home using medication and urine is possible, but it depends on the size. Kidney stones can be as large as a golf ball and range from tiny crystals to enormous stones. Additionally, various therapies are now available, depending on their size. Smaller stones can naturally and efficiently move through the urinary tract. Let's learn about the kidney stone treatment options available in India according to the kidney stone size-

kidney stone size chart

Kidney Stones Removal Methods

Due to advancements in technology these days, many methods can help you remove your kidney stones. Below are the kidney stones removal methods-

Treatment for Small Kidney Stones

Smaller kidney stones may get painful until you pass them through urine, which takes 1-2 days. Your doctor may suggest NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to help you with pain. To ease symptoms, your doctor may also recommend-

  • Drinking plenty of water or fluids throughout the day until the stones clear
  • Medicines to help stones pass (alpha-blockers)
  • Painkillers or anti-sickness medicines

Usually, smaller stones pass through urine if you take plenty of fluids in your routine. You may undergo a few tests if there is hardly any sign of improvement despite taking fluids.

Treatment for Large Kidney Stones

If you are wondering what size of kidney stone requires surgery, let us tell you surgery can only remove large kidney stones as they are too hard to pass naturally. Below are the surgeries to get rid of kidney stone pain permanently-

Shockwave Lithotripsy - This treatment involves high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to know the exact location of the kidney stone. Shock waves track the stone and break it into smaller pieces to make it pass through your urine. Your doctor will give your painkillers before starting the process, as it could be a comfortable part of treatment. Depending upon your stone size and other significant factors, you might need one more session to let kidney stones pass out successfully.

Ureteroscopy - This treatment involves inserting a thin, long telescope ureteroscope through the tube. Urine passes through that tube on its way out of the body (the urethra) and into your bladder; then, it passes up into your ureter, connected with your bladder to your kidney. Your doctor may use an instrument to remove the stone gently or use laser energy to break it into small pieces to let urine pass naturally. This process makes you fall unconscious with the help of general anaesthesia.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy - This process involves a nephroscope, a thin telescope. A small cut is made at your back to insert the instrument that passes through the cut into your kidney. This way, the stone is pulled out or broken into smaller pieces using pneumatic energy or laser.

How to Prevent Kidney Stones?

Making sure you have enough water each day to stay hydrated is the greatest approach to avoid kidney stones. You should strive to consume up to 3 liters (5.2 pints) of liquids per day, every day, to avoid stone recurrence.

We suggest you to:

  • Drink water, although tea and coffee are also acceptable substitutes
  • Juice a fresh lemon into your water
  • Steer clear of carbonated beverages
  • Limit your salt intake

Does Health Insurance Provide Protection Against Kidney Stones?

Yes, your health insurance will protect you against kidney stone-related treatment. A comprehensive health insurance plan ensures you don’t have to bear hospitalisation and treatment expenses. Care Health Insurance offers exclusively tailored health insurance plans for individuals seeking the best services in the market that can protect them against unforeseen medical emergencies. If you buy health insurance at an early age, you will not only have to pay less premium but also your waiting period will get over when you are healthy, and there is no sign of any sickness like kidney stones. So, wait no more to protect yourself today!

Disclaimer: The information mentioned above is for reference purposes only. Also, kindly consult a professional medical expert to verify the details of health concerns.

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