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Kidney Stones

Kidney stones also called renal calculi, nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis are hard deposits of minerals and salts that form in kidneys. 

Kidney stone is an endemic disease of India and is common. 

Anyone can form a kidney stone; men are often more likely to get compared to women. 

Risk factors for kidney stone are:

  • If you had Kidney stone before 
  • Family history of Kidney stones 
  • Not proper intake of fluids and water
  • Diet High in protein, sodium, or sugar
  • Overweight 
  • Certain type of surgery like Gastric surgery 
  • Urine containing high levels of uric acid, calcium, oxalate or cysteine. 

Types of Kidney Stones 

  • Calcium stones- The most common type 
  • Uric acid stones- Form when urine is often too acidic 
  • Struvite stone- Can happen if you have a certain type of urinary tract infection and ammonia builds up in the urine due to a specific enzymatic activity by the organism in the urine. Such stones can even fill all or part of the renal pelvis and branch into several or all the calyces which is then called as Staghorn calculi. 
  • Cysteine stone – Exceedingly rare, happens in people who have genetic disorder. 

There are several symptoms of Kidney stones or can be asymptomatic. 

Symptoms can be

  • Intermittent colicky flank pain/ Severe pain in abdomen or back/Pain radiating to the lower abdomen or groin/
  • Pain while urinating (with associated urinary tract Infection)
  • Blood in Urine 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 

Kidney stones might also cause irreversible kidney damage either partially or completely.

Lab tests (including Kidney function tests) and Imaging (USG/IVP/CT scan) is used to diagnose the location and number of stones 

Conservative/Medical Treatment includes Drinking a lot of water to help pass stone(s) and Pain relievers. 

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy can be used to break stones in certain situations, depending upon stone size and hardness of stones. Treatment sequel might be formation of scar in the kidney and literature has also mentioned (cause and effect though not conclusively proven) increased incidence of Hypertension and Diabetes being found in such individuals during long term follow-up.

Surgical procedures may require removing or breaking up larger stones and includes standard PCNL/Mini PCNL/Micro Perc/flexible URS or RIRS.