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Home :: Urinary Disorders

Kidney Stones


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Kidney stones are usually based on calcium salts, uric acid, cystine and struvite. Of the calcium stones the majority are made of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. Kidney stones typically leave the body in the urine stream; if they grow relatively large before passing, obstruction of a ureter and distention with urine can cause severe pain most commonly felt in the flank , lower abdomen and groin. Kidney stones are unrelated to gallstones. If a stone becomes large enough, it may begin to move out of your kidney and progress through the ureters - the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to your bladder.

The commonest kidney stones are the calcium ones. Men are more affected and the formation of a stone is generally between 30-40 years. The average rate of new stone formation in patients who have previously formed a stone is about every 2-3 years. A stone may stay in the kidney or break loose and travel down the urinary tract. Although the reasons for this are still unclear, many experts believe that diet choices and lack of fluids are important factors that have contributed to this increase.

Kidney stones are solid accretions of dissolved minerals in urine found inside the kidneys or ureters. The condition of having kidney stones is termed nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis. (Nephrolithiasis literally means kidney stone-itis while urolithiasis means urinary stone-itis.) Most people have two kidneys (see illustration), which "clean" the blood. The incidence of kidney stones has been increasing in recent decades. A small stone may pass all the way out of the body without causing too much pain. They originate as microscopic particles and develop into stones over time. The medical term for this condition is nephrolithiasis, or renal stone disease. They are fairly common, occurring in about 12 in every 100 men and 4 in every 100 women in the UK at some point in their life.

Kidney stones are made of salts and minerals in the urine that stick together to form small "pebbles." Kidney stones , also known as nephrolithiases , urolithiases or renal calculi. Kidney stones are a common problem that will affect 5-15% of people at some time during their lives. A lodged stone can block the flow of urine, causing pressure to build in the affected ureter and kidney. A larger stone may get stuck in a ureter, the bladder, or the urethra. A problem stone can block the flow of urine and cause great pain. Kidney stones usually form when your urine becomes too concentrated.

Causes of Kidney Stones

The comman causes of Kidney Stones include the following:

  • Congenital kidney defect that may increase urinary calcium loss and stone formation (medullary sponge kidney).
  • Hypercalciuria (high calcium in the urine), another inherited condition, causes stones in more than half of cases.
  • Taking certain medicines such as diuretics (water tablets), antacids and thyroid medications.
  • Several factors increase the risk for developing kidney stones, including inadequate fluid intake and dehydration, reduced urinary flow and volume or too low (e.g., citrate), and several medical conditions.
  • Struvite stones usually result from urinary infections caused by a particular bacterium and are found mainly in women.
  • People who have inflammatory bowel disease or who have had surgery on their intestines may not absorb fat from their intestines normally. This changes the way the intestines process calcium and other minerals, and it may lead to kidney stones.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Some sign and symptoms related to Kidney Stones are as follows:

  • Increased persistent urge to urinate.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Tenderness in the abdomen and kidney region.
  • Painful urination.
  • Excessive urination at night.
  • You may be cool, clammy, and sweaty with a pale appearance to your skin.
  • Usually, people with kidney stones will be seen pacing about or moving all around on the bed.
  • A frequent urge to urinate.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Urinary tract infection (fever, chills, loss of appetite).
  • Abnormal urine color.
  • Pain or aching in the back on one or both sides.
  • Bloody, cloudy or smelly urine.
  • The location where pain is felt is largely a result of where your kidney stone lodges.

Treatment of Kidney Stones

Here is list of the methods for treating Kidney Stones:

  • Most kidney stones can pass through the urinary system with plenty of water (2 to 3 quarts a day) to help move the stone along.
  • Over-the-counter medications may help with the pain, particularly anti-inflammatory pain medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).
  • Infections can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Ureteroscopy is another treatment option that may be used. In this procedure, a thin telescope is passed up into the ureter via the urethra and bladder.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is often used when the stone is quite large or in a location that does not allow effective use of extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL).
  • Bladder stones are removed using a cystoscope, a special instrument which