Kidney stone symptoms
kidney stone symptoms
If you are leading a healthy life and suddenly you are diagnosed with a painful disease like a kidney stone, it is naturally a shock! Now, stomach ache is something that we all experience at some point or the other. Thus, we do not go to the doctor immediately. But if you experience kidney stone symptoms. for example
- Pain in the back and side
- Fluctuations in pain intensity, with times of pain lasting 25 to 50 minutes
- Pain the side and back to the lower abdomen and groin
- Bloody, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
- Pain on urination
- Nausea vomiting
- Persistent urge to urinate
- if an infection is present so fever and chills
So as you can see from these symptoms, having kidney stones is no picnic. However, if this is your first experience with these types of symptoms it is a good idea to see your doctor so that you can confirm that you actually have kidney stones before you begin any type of treatment.
Types Of Kidney Stones
There are four different types of kidney stones. Each of these types of stones has a different chemical composition. The best way to determine the most effective treatment for your kidney stones is to have a sample of your stone evaluated by a lab. The following is an overview of the different types of stones and what they are made of.
Uric Acid Stones
These stones form when the urine is consistently acidic. A diet that consists mainly of animal proteins can cause uric acid stones to form.
These types of stones are the most common. Foods that contain a lot of calcium or vitamin D can cause the formation of these types of kidney stones. There are certain medications that can contribute to the formation of these stones also. If you take prescription medications it is a good idea to ask your doctor if your medication can cause kidney stones.
These types of kidney stones are very rare and are caused by a genetic disorder that causes cystine, which is an amino acid, to leak through the kidneys and into the urine. This amino acid will then cause crystals to form in the urine.
These types of stones can be very harmful to the kidneys if they are left untreated. Struvite stones affect women more than men and are caused by recurrent kidney infections. Diet does not affect the formation of struvite stones.
How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects you have kidney stones, he may order a series of x-rays to detect the presence of a kidney stone or multiple stones. There are different types of diagnostic procedures that can be performed. Let’s look at a few of the most common diagnostic techniques that are used to find kidney stones.
During a CT scan, you will lie flat on your back on a moveable table. The table will glide into a very large tube and several x-rays will be taken of the urinary tract. This type of x-ray is better because it can compile a clearer picture of the internal organs. The CT scanner is very sensitive and it can usually show any kidney stones that may be present. There is usually no prep needed for a CT scan.
Another diagnostic test that can be used to find kidney stones is ultrasound. During this test, you will lie on a table and a technician will run a probe over the area of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.
An ultrasound uses to create a picture of the internal organs. These sound waves are emitted from the probe and will bounce off the internal organs. They will then be transmitted into a picture that can be viewed on a computer screen. This test can detect the presence of kidney stones, and it can also determine if the ureters are dilated due to obstruction. This test is painless and there is no prep needed.
KUB and Intravenous Pyelogram
A KUB stands for Kidneys, Ureters, and Bladder. The name of this x-ray makes it sound like the perfect test to detect the presence of kidney stones. However, a lot of times loops of the bowel or other internal organs can block the view of the kidneys and bladder making it difficult to visualize them.
An intravenous pyelogram is a better diagnostic test to determine the presence of kidney stones.
X-rays are taken at specific time intervals. If there are kidney stones it will show on an intravenous pyelogram. More importantly, this test will show if a stone is blocking any section of the urinary tract.
This type of x-ray can be done in an emergency situation, or it can be performed as an outpatient test. There is usually no special prep needed before the test. If you are having one done just as an outpatient you may be advised not to eat or drink anything a few hours prior to test time.
However, the intravenous pyelogram is becoming obsolete when it comes to diagnostic testing for kidney stones. These days the CT scanner is the best method to see what is going on inside the urinary tract.
A urinalysis may be performed to help detect the presence of kidney stones. This simple test can be important because it shows if you have a kidney infection along with kidney stones.
In most cases, kidney stones can pass safely through the urinary tract and out through the body. You need to help this along by staying hydrated. The more you urinate the better your chances of passing the stones.
However, if you are experiencing the pain of kidney stones, and you don’t do anything to help them pass then you can do serious damage to your kidney. If kidney stones become large, they can block the ureter. This will keep the urine from passing out of the body.
Initially, you will experience a great deal of pain when the ureter becomes blocked. However, in a few days, the pain will go away. You may think that you are in the clear because it doesn’t hurt anymore. The truth is the urine that has not been able to pass through the urinary tract has backed up into the kidney and actually shut your kidney down.
If you do not seek the treatment you will lose the function of that kidney. In some cases, a kidney stone can become so large that it not only causes a blockage but can also rupture the part of the urinary system in which it is lodged.
- The initial pain of the kidney stone and then suddenly the pain stops.
- Decreased urination.
- Nausea vomiting
- General feelings of illness or flu-like symptoms.
Kidney stones that are left untreated can also cause infection. Sometimes these urinary tract
Kidney Stones Treatment
A urinalysis is performed by submitting a urine sample to the lab. The lab tech will then examine the urine. If he finds blood or small crystals in the urine then it is likely you have kidney stones.
If he finds white blood cells, mucus, or blood in the urine this will indicate that you have a kidney infection along with kidney stones. It is important that you treat the kidney infection to prevent further damage to the kidneys.
Types of Medical Treatments Used for Kidney Stones?
There are several types of medical treatments that doctors use for kidney stones. The nature of the treatment will depend upon the type, size, and location of the stones. If the doctor thinks the stones can be passed easily he will usually opt for more conservative treatment. However, there are times when surgical interventions may be necessary. Let’s take a closer look at your medical options when you have kidney stones.
Hydration is the most common type of conservative treatment. Your doctor may advise you to start drinking lots of water or other non-caffeinated beverages during the day. The goal is usually to achieve a urine output that equals at least two liters per day. When you hydrate yourself small kidney stones will pass easily out of the body. Hydration will also help prevent new stones from crystallizing.
However, you need to keep in mind that it is possible to become water toxic. This happens when you consume too much water and deplete the sodium levels in your blood. When one electrolyte in your body gets out of whack you can bet that the rest will follow suit. Having an extreme electrolyte imbalance can be very dangerous and sometimes even fatal. It is best to consume just enough water to produce the intended urine output and no more.
Another type of conservative kidney stone treatment is diet modifications. Certain types of foods increase your chances for certain types of kidney stone formation. Your doctor can advise you on the types of foods you should eat and the types you should avoid. In general, it is best to eat a healthy diet that is rich in fiber.
Medications may be prescribed to help you get rid of your kidney stones. Allopurinol is a prescription drug that is commonly prescribed because it will decrease the production of uric acid, which can decrease the production of kidney stones. However, you must be careful when taking this medication because it can produce side effects such as a rash, seizures, flu-like symptoms, weakness, and severe bruising.
Another medication that may be prescribed is a thiazide diuretic. This type of medication works by decreasing the number of calcium concentrations in the urine. Side effects of this medication can be muscle weakness, fast heartbeat, skin rash, or nausea.
The most non-invasive surgical treatment for kidney stones is called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy or ESWL. This method involves using a machine to send high-energy shock waves into the body to break up large stones, so they can be passed. You are sedated for this procedure.
Side effects are bleeding when urinating and pain in the lower back. The cost for this type of procedure will vary from facility to facility. But you have to remember that you will be probably be billed by the doctor the performs the procedure, by the anesthesiologist that administers the sedation, and by the facility itself. It could be very expensive if you don’t have health insurance.
If a stone is large and gets caught in the ureter, causing an obstruction a more invasive surgical procedure may be needed. This procedure is called a ureterorenoscopy and laser lithotripsy. This is usually performed under general anesthesia meaning you will be put to sleep for the procedure.
A small telescope is passed through the urethra into the bladder and up the ureter. Once the stone or stones are visualized a tiny laser fiber can be used to break up the stones. Sometimes a stent will be placed in the ureter to promote the passage of these stones. Side effects from this procedure can include bleeding with urination and a lot of pain. The same rules apply to cost as with the procedure above.
If the kidney stones are too large or too hard to fragment using one of the above procedures then a procedure called percutaneous nephrolithotomy is performed. This involves making a small incision into the flank or lower back. A telescope is then passed directly into the kidney.
Once the stone is visualized it can be broken up with a laser. Usually, a small plastic tube is left exiting from the flank area temporarily to help drain urine and remaining kidney stone fragments. Side effects of this procedure can be bleeding and post-operative infections. The costs for this procedure will be much higher because you will be required to stay in the hospital for a day or two.
healthy kidney diet
Kidneys are small organs but they are incredibly useful for our well-being. Think of them as natural filters. Their task is to keep our blood clean by removing excess water, toxins, and waste products. This becomes urine and is then passed to the bladder. in the last, urine is passed out of the body through urination. Therefore it is very important to take care of them and in the process preventing kidney disease or some nasty and expensive medical operations.
Besides leading a normal healthy lifestyle, a healthy kidney diet becomes very important to ensure your kidneys remain healthy. Here are some tips to ensure healthy kidneys:
- Eat more fruits, more vegetables, more fish and more white meat such as rabbit, chicken.
- Drink more fluids. Water is the best choice.
- Avoid too much table salt. This also increases blood pressure and makes the kidneys work harder.
- Stop smoking and your chances of kidney disease, lung disease, and respiratory failure are also reduced.
- Eat less red meat, eggs, canned foods, junk foods, and fast foods.
- Reduce your cholesterol level by cutting down on fatty foods. Besides avoiding kidney disease, you also get the benefit of reducing possible heart attacks and strokes.
- Drink less dark colas, spirits, and alcohol in general.
- Reduce obesity by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. More physical exercise, less overeating, and other healthy activities should help you achieve this. Watch your calories! You also avoid other unpleasant and life-threatening sicknesses.
What are the benefits of all this?
First of all, all of the above are easily attainable and therefore a healthy kidney diet is very possible. All food items mentioned above are all found in a supermarket close to where you live. Exercise can be free or paid. Free means walking in the park or going out for a walk with friends or the dog. Paid means joining a gym or buying some exercising equipment. For the rest, it just takes some willpower but you can easily get used to the new lifestyle. There is really no excuse not to follow healthy kidney diets.
Secondly, your overall health also improves and you will feel much better. So it’s a case of keeping your kidneys healthy and getting a better lifestyle simultaneously!
kidney disease diet
- Control Protein Intake. Protein is important for building muscles, repairing tissue, and fighting infections. However, more often than not, you will have to limit your protein intake. Why? Since your kidneys are not functioning properly, they cannot remove the excess waste products such as urea, when breaking down proteins. Foods high in protein are meat, milk products, poultry, and poultry products such as eggs. Foods low in protein are mainly found in plant sources such as grains and vegetables
- Limit Phosphorus Intake. Phosphorus is a mineral that is important for building and maintaining bones and teeth. It is also essential to provide normal nerve and muscle function. High phosphorus foods are milk, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, beer, and dark cola drinks.
Phosphorus food substitutes are broccoli, non-cola soda, and non-dairy milk substitute, and hard candy.
- Vitamins and minerals should be taken only after consulting a doctor. Do not be tempted to buy them over the counter but only by prescription from a doctor.
- Find out your ideal body weight. Many patients with kidney disease might experience an increase or decrease in body weight. Cutting or increasing calories, reducing or increasing activity, should help you stay close to your ideal body weight. A kidney disease diet as recommended by your dietician will help you stay close to your ideal body weight.
- Reduce Sodium Intake. Sodium is linked to renal disease and high blood pressure. This element is commonly found in table salt and products that have table salt added to them such as canned foods, processed meats (ham, bacon, and sausages), and most fast foods (chips and other packaged snacks like crisps). So read the labels and see the sodium content. Look out for descriptions such as Low-sodium, Sodium-free, and Unsalted. Otherwise, choose low sodium foods such as unsalted snacks and avoid table salt with your food. You can also use natural spices to spice up your food such as garlic, onions, and oregano. Table wine and lemon are also good. And obviously, remove the salt shaker from your dining table!
- Reduce Fluid Intake. Kidneys control the amount of fluid in your body. Renal disease or renal failure will mean more fluid in your body. Your doctor will probably ask you to limit fluid intake. You can do this by only drinking when really thirsty, cut down on salt, and chew on sugar-free chewing gum.
- Limit Potassium Intake. Potassium is another element commonly found in foods we eat. It is important for the nerves, muscles, and heart. Foods low in potassium are recommended milk substitutes, together with: Fruits such as apples, peaches, cherries, grapes, pears, watermelon, plums, cranberries, and pineapple. Vegetables such as Rice, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, broccoli, Cucumber, Onions Lettuce, and Carrots.
- Get the right amount of Calories. Besides being important for your overall health, they are important for energy, building muscles and tissue, and good body weight. Since your new kidney diet will most probably limit protein, you will have to obtain your calories from other sources such as canola oil, jam, syrups, fruits, bread, grains, and vegetables.