How to Remove Kidney Stones

How to Remove Kidney Stones safely

Kidney stones can develop in one of your kidneys or in both of them. If you are aged between thirty and sixty you are most at risk of developing them. Besides the kidneys, they can also be found in the ureter, a tube which connects the kidneys to the bladder. If you develop kidney stones, you will know about it. They are extremely painful and, if left untreated, can result in infection setting in or the kidney failing. Small kidney stones can be easily disposed of.

Usually, they will exit your body when you empty your bladder. Larger kidney stones, however, are a different matter. If you experience pain in your abdomen, that is, the sides of your stomach, severe pain that repeatedly comes and goes in waves, and nausea or vomiting, it is worth visiting your GP. You may well be suffering from kidney stones.

Kidney stones are caused when a combination of chemicals builds up in the body. They come in numerous sizes and shapes. At their smallest, they are no larger than grains of sand. In rare cases, when they reach their largest, they continue to grow until they are the size of a golf ball. The most common form of kidney stones is calcium stones.

There are also struvite stones, which are usually the result of infections, such as urinary infections. The third type of kidney stones are uric acid stones. These are brought on by an excessive amount of acid in the urine. If you drink an insufficient amount of water or other fluids, you put yourself at a greater risk of developing kidney stones. It is possible for your kidney stones to recur.

This is more likely to happen if your diet is rich in protein but low in fibre, if you are inactive or confined to your bed, if problems with kidney stones run in your family, if you have suffered from several kidney or urinary infections and if you have had kidney stones when you were young, particularly when you were aged twenty-five or below.

Although small kidney stones can be passed via urination, they can still cause pain and you should seek treatment to help you with it until the stones have all been passed. Your GP may prescribe you a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which will help to ease the pain. There are other steps you may be advised to take as well. For example, you may be recommended to drink a steady stream of fluid throughout the day as well as taking anti-blockers which can help your stones to pass more easily.

The level of fluid you may be required to drink may be as much as three litres or 5.2 pints. It is advisable to stick to drinking water, although tea and coffee are also good. Fizzy drinks, on the other hand, are not recommended and you should make sure your diet doesn’t include an excess of salt. It’s not a particularly nice thing to say, but make sure your urine is the right colour whenever you use the toilet. If it is dark, it means you should drink more. If it is lighter or pale, you are drinking the required amount.

Sometimes, kidney stones become too large to be passed naturally. When this happens, surgery is the best means of removing them. There are three different types of surgery available and the size and location of your own stones will determine which form of surgery is assigned to you. The first type of surgery is known as shock wave lithotripsy (SWL). Here, the precise location of your stones will be identified using ultrasound.

Once they have been pinpointed, a machine dispatches ultrasound shock waves to break up the stones and make them more manageable to pass via urine. This form of treatment is usually quite uncomfortable, so before you undergo SWL, painkillers will be administered. It’s not guaranteed that your kidney stones will be treated in one session of SWL, so you may need several. The second form of treatment is ureteroscopy. Here a ureteroscope, a long and thin telescope, is passed down the tube that urine travels up through during urination. From there, it makes its way up and into the ureter.

The surgeon then has two options; they can either gently remove the stone using a separate instrument or they can use laser energy to break it down and enable it to pass naturally out of the body later. This process is carried out under a general anaesthetic, so you won’t be conscious during it. The third form of surgical treatment is percutaneous nephrolithotomy, or PCNL. This involves making a small incision in your back and passing a thin, telescopic instrument known as a nephroscope through it and into the affected kidney. The surgeon can either pull out the stone or use a laser or pneumatic energy to break it down into smaller pieces. Like ureteroscopy, this procedure is always carried out under a general anaesthetic.

You should be aware that any form of surgical treatment of larger kidney stones carries a likelihood of complications. Your surgeon will explain these to you in full prior to your surgery. Factors involved in determining whether you experience complications include the size and position of your kidney stones in your body and the type of treatment you have.

First, there is a risk that you could develop sepsis, an infection which spreads through your blood. Your ureter could become blocked by fragments of stone once the larger stone or stones have been broken up. Additionally, you may develop a urinary tract infection, bleed during the surgery and experience post-surgery pain.

If you want to keep kidney stones away, make sure you drink plenty of fluids every day. You should mainly focus on drinking water. Drinks such as tea, coffee and certain fruit juices can also contribute to your fluid intake, but water is by far the healthiest option and the best one for keeping kidney stones from developing.


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