About Kidney StonesKidney stones are one of the most common conditions affecting the urinary tract system. They are comprised of solid materials that are generated when there are high levels of specific substances within the kidneys. There are several types of kidney stones, including those that are small and smooth, large in diameter or hard and crystalline in structure. Sharp, crystalline kidney stones can cause immense pain as they travel down the ureter.
While kidney stones can affect anyone, they are more commonly found in men. Approximately one in eleven Americans has been diagnosed with a kidney stone in their lifetime.
Causes of Kidney StonesKidney stones are formed when there are high concentrations of phosphorus, oxalate and calcium in the urine. Although these substances are normally found in the kidneys in lower concentrations, high concentrations can lead to the formation of stones and the subsequent damage that follows. As these substances accumulate on the inner lining of the kidney wall, they collect to form a sharp stone. There are several ways that you can get a build-up of these substances in your system, including:
- Dehydration: When the patient does not drink enough water, the uric acid cannot be diluted properly and becomes extremely acidic. This makes the perfect environment for stones to form.
- Various Conditions: Certain conditions have been found to be comorbid with kidney stones, such as urinary tract infections, hyperparathyroidism, Chrohn’s disease, renal tubular acidosis and gout.
- Excessive Mineral Consumption: Those who exceed the recommended amounts of Vitamin D and calcium daily may be at an increased risk for developing kidney stones.
Common Kidney Stone SymptomsKidney stones have very distinct symptoms, including the following:
- Blood in the urine
- Excessive pain while urinating
- Sharp pain in the kidneys, which is felt in the lower back or abdomen.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and Chills
Kidney Stone TreatmentsKidney stone treatments either involve kidney stone removal or simply treating the pain and other symptoms until the stone passes on its own. If the stones are too large in size to pass normally, your physicians may determine to perform an ureteroscopy.
At miVIP, our ureteroscopy specialists use the minimally invasive procedure to break up kidney stones and carefully remove them from the body. A ureteroscopy involves the use of a small, laparoscopic tool that is inserted into the body and into the kidneys to allow the surgeon access to the kidney stones. The area is also checked for infection or any other issues that may be causing the stones to form.