Kidney Stone Disease

 

Having kidney stones is quite a common occurence and many have stones all their lives without even knowing it. As you an imagine, our kidneys process an enormous amount of waste products and some of these substances will bind together when and form crystals. The environment in our kidneys is supposed to stop this from happening, biut under certain conditions (frequent dehydration in Australia being an important one), kidney stones may be formed.

Kidney stones usually do not cause any trouble, until the moment they decide to leave the kidney and travel down the tubes (ureters) down to the bladder. If ever they found a large kidney stone on an image there is nothing to worry as these large stones can not come down the thin tube, but worrying are the stones of 2-6 mm in diantere, that perfetcly block the tube that drains from the kidney. As these tubes have muscles, to 'massage' the urine from the kidney to the bladder, in case of blockage severe, a colicky ('up and down') character of pain is described. This pain can be extremely severe and women who have had a baby oftej say thet a kidney stone is more painful than being in labour !

So, you will hardly miss it when a blocking kidney stone is making its way down. Smaller stones may come down without any problem and sometime patients describe this as a 'stoneshower' when they urinate, or they describe having seen 'sand' in the urines.

What can be done ? 

Of course the first question is: why does someone have stones ?

Usually it happens because certain waste products appear in the urines in a higher amont than they should, because the patients lacks a gene that regulates the kidneys waste product balance. There are several types of stones and to understand why someone develops stones, ideally a stone is caught when it comes out, so that it can be examined in the laboratory.

1) Calcium Oxalate stones

This is the most common type of kidney stone.

2) Urate stones

3) Pyruvate stones

 

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