This is a condition caused by the presence of stones inside the kidneys or the urinary tract (ureters or bladder). Kidney stones are made up of normal urine substances, but for different reasons, they have concentrated and solidified into larger or smaller pieces. The stones are composed of different minerals such as calcium, oxalate, uric acid and others.
Kidney stones can form if the urine is saturated with salts that can produce them, or because the urine lacks the natural inhibitors of this process. This may be related to other factors:
-A decrease in urinary volume.
-An increase in the urinary excretion of chemical substances that prevent the dissolution of the salts that the urine contains.
It is estimated that between 10 and 15% of the population may have kidney stones, who present different symptoms depending on the location and size of the stone.
A stone the size of a grain of sand or up to 3 mm can go unnoticed and be removed spontaneously, or cause great pain. On the other hand, a 2-cm stone may give no symptoms if it is located in the kidney.
Most of the time, these stones are removed spontaneously, while, on other occasions, they obstruct the passage of urine.
The size of the stone depends on the time it remains in the urinary tract, on the location and space it has to grow. For example, the most voluminous stones are found in the kidney, which has cavities that dilate due to obstruction and also allow growth in the bladder due to lack of good emptying of the bladder.
When the urinary tract is blocked, a great pain, known as “renal colic” is felt. This pain is usually located in the back, under the ribs, front part of the abdomen on the same side and radiates towards the genital area. There may also be nausea, blood in the urine and vomiting.
There may even be stones that will never give symptoms and will only be diagnosed by chance while doing an imaging exam in that area.
One of the ways to prevent this condition is to correct any excess calcium, phosphate, oxalate and purine intake.
In addition, several general dietary measures can allow better control of the disease, such as increased fluid intake, preferably water (the first and simplest measure to prevent pathology).
It is essential to follow a low-calorie diet, low in salt, limiting animal proteins, sugars and alcohol. Foods such as cocoa, coffee, tea, nuts, etc. are also not recommended.
The stone that does not cause symptoms can be discovered during a routine microscopic analysis of urine.
In contrast, pain-producing stones are generally diagnosed by symptoms of renal colic, along with pain in the lower back and groin or pain in the genital area, for no apparent reason
Microscopic analyzes of the urine can reveal the presence of blood or pus, as well as small crystals that form the stone.
Other diagnostic tests that are performed are abdominal radiography, intravenous urography, retrograde urography, abdominal ultrasound and computed tomography.
You might also want to read: Kidney stones treatment
At Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to diagnose and treat kidney stones. Book an appointment to get a checkup.