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A kidney stone begins as a tiny piece of crystal in the kidney. When the urine leaves the kidney, it may carry the crystal out, or the crystal may stay in the kidney. If the crystal stays in the kidney, over time more small crystals join it and form a larger kidney stone. Most stones leave the kidney and travel through the urinary tract when they are still small enough to pass easily out of the body. No treatment is necessary for these stones. But larger stones may become stuck in the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder (ureters). This can cause pain and possibly block the urine from flowing to the bladder and out of the body. The pain often becomes worse over 15 to 60 minutes until it is severe. The pain may ease when the stone no longer blocks the flow of urine, and it often goes away when the stone passes into the bladder. Medical treatment is often necessary for larger stones. The smaller a stone is, the more likely it is to exit the body (pass) on its own. About 9 out of every 10 stones smaller than 5 mm and about 5 out of every 10 stones 5 mm to 10 mm pass on their own.1 Only 1 or 2 out of every 10 kidney stones need more than home treatment The average time a stone takes to pass ranges between 1 and 3 weeks,1 and two-thirds of stones that pass on their own pass within 4 weeks of when the symptoms appeared Almost half of all people who get kidney stones will get more stones within 5 years unless they take preventive measures.3 When you have kidney stones several times over a period of years, the length of time between stones tends to get shorter. It is not possible to predict who will have more stones in the future and who will not Problems that may occur with kidney stones include: An increased risk of urinary tract infection, or making an existing urinary tract infection worse Kidney damage, if stones block the flow of urine out of both kidneys (or out of one kidney, for people who have a single kidney). For most people with healthy kidneys, kidney stones do not cause serious damage until they completely block the urinary tract for 2 weeks or longer Kidney stones are more serious for people who have a single kidney or an impaired immune system or have had a kidney transplant. Stones in pregnant women When stones occur during pregnancy, an obstetrician and urologist should determine whether you need treatment. Treatment will depend on your trimester of pregnancy.5 Stones in children Kidney stones are not common in children. When they occur, it is usually between the ages of 8 and 10. Children with kidney stones may also have a urinary tract infection. Often, children with stones also have other medical problems, such as an abnormally developed urinary system, a metabolic disorder, or genetic risks, such as cystic fibrosis.6
Kidney Stones - What Increases Your Risk
Several factors make it more likely you will get kidney stones. Some of these you can control, and others you cannot.
or high blood pressure Insulin resistance. Read supplement labels carefully. or indinavir (Crixivan). If you think that your diet may be a problem. Getting your recommended amounts of calcium combined with a low-sodium. cystic fibrosis. and do not take more than the recommended daily doses Levels of calcium affect your risk of kidney stones. such as acetazolamide (Diamox). which can result in a greater risk for kidney stones. weight gain since early adulthood. Weight gain can result in both insulin resistance and increased calcium in the urine. Try to drink enough water to keep your urine clear (about 8 to 10 glasses of water a day). hyperparathyroidism. which can occur because of diabetes or obesity Prolonged bed rest Bladder problems caused by spinal cord injury Medicines used to control other conditions or diseases. such as antacids or aspirin . People who are not very active may have more problems with kidney stones Medicine. such as dark green vegetables. can cause kidney stones to form Risk factors you cannot control Risk factors for both new and recurring kidney stones that you cannot control include: Age and gender Men between the ages of 30 and 50 are most likely to get kidney stones Postmenopausal women with low estrogen levels have an increased risk for developing kidney stones. and oxalate-rich foods. Women who have had their ovaries removed are also at increased risk A family history of kidney stones A personal history of frequent urinary tract infections Other diseases or conditions. such as inflammatory bowel disease. sodium.Risk factors you can control Risk factors for both new and recurring kidney stones that you can control include: Fluids you drink The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Drinking grapefruit juice may increase your risk for developing kidney stones Diet. In one study. a high body mass index (BMI). low-protein diet may decrease your risk of kidney stones. gout. and a large waist size increased a person's risk for kidney stones Activity level. increase your risk for developing kidney stones Weight and weight gain.7 In older people and younger women. one study shows that eating more calciumrich foods reduces the risk of kidney stones Diets high in protein. schedule an appointment with a dietitian and review your food choices Vitamins C and D can increase your risk of kidney stones when you take more than the daily recommendations. Some medicines.
which leads to higher calcium levels and possibly calcium kidney stones. and other substances in the urine can stick together and form a stone. About 9 out of every 10 stones smaller than 5 mm and about 5 out of every 10 stones 5 mm to 10 mm pass on their own. Factors that change your urine balance include: Not drinking enough water. people who have inflammatory bowel disease or who have had surgery on their intestines may not absorb fat from their intestines in a normal way.Cause Kidney stones may form when the normal balance of water. Risk factors for recurring kidney stones that you cannot control include:10 High levels of minerals. and uric acid. calcium. Gout is one example. salts. as they often occur in family members over several generations. and other substances found in urine changes. Kidney Stones .1 Only 1 or 2 out of every 10 kidney stones need more than home treatment. and your doctor may find it during a routine exam or an exam for another condition or disease. Your stone may not be causing you pain. Try to drink enough water to keep your urine clear (about 8 to 10 glasses of water a day).An abnormal urinary tract. In this case. Treatment for your first stone If your doctor thinks the stone can pass on its own. minerals. Not all kidney stones are diagnosed because of immediate symptoms. and it may lead to kidney stones More commonly. This is the most common cause of kidney stones Medical conditions. Most small stones [less than 5 mm] move out of the body (pass) without the need for any treatment other than drinking extra fluids and taking pain medicine. such as oxalate. the salts. he or she may suggest home treatment. you have the same treatment options as noted below. kidney stones can run in families. the more likely it is to pass on its own.1 The smaller a stone is. such as the kidneys being joined (horseshoe kidneys). This changes the way the intestines process calcium and other minerals. Citrate helps prevent stone formation in some people Abnormal urine pH. When you don't drink enough water. minerals.Treatment Overview Your first diagnosis of kidney stones often occurs when you see your doctor or go to an emergency room because you are in great pain. either very high or very low. How this balance changes determines the type of kidney stone you have. Your doctor may suggest that you wait for the stone to pass and take pain medicine or have a procedure to remove the stone. in the urine Low urine output (stasis Low levels of citrate. over time Kidney Stones . a person forms kidney stones because the parathyroid glands produce too much of a hormone. including: . Many medical conditions can affect the normal balance and cause stones to form. Also. Most kidney stones are calcium-type-they form when the calcium levels in your urine change. In rare cases. and you feel you can deal with the pain.
heart. or liver disease and are on fluid restrictions. Calcium channel blockers and alpha-blockers have been shown to help kidney stones pass more quickly with very few side effects. He or she then removes the stone (lithotomy) or breaks it up and removes it (lithotripsy).Drinking more fluids. If your pain is too severe. See a picture of nephrolithotomy Ureteroscopy. This is the most commonly used medical treatment for kidney stones. You need to drink enough water to keep your urine clear. if the stones are blocking the urinary tract . Drinking grapefruit juice may increase your risk for developing kidney stones Using pain medicine. Your doctor can prescribe stronger pain medicine if needed Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help your body pass the stone. talk with your doctor before increasing your fluid intake Not drinking grapefruit juice.11 Ask your doctor if one of these medicines can help you. Your options are: Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). Occasionally. The surgeon passes a very thin telescope tube (ureteroscope) up the urinary tract to the stone's location. such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). your doctor will probably suggest medical or surgical treatment. The surgeon puts a narrow telescope into the kidney through a cut in your back. If you have kidney. or if you also have an infection. Try to drink 2 glasses of water every 2 hours while you are awake. Open surgery. about 8 to 10 glasses a day. may relieve your pain. The surgeon makes a cut in the side or the belly to reach the kidneys and remove the stone. See a picture of ureteroscopy . This procedure may be used if ESWL does not work or if you have a very large stone. ESWL uses shock waves that pass easily through the body but are strong enough to break up a kidney stone. Nonprescription medicine. This treatment is rarely used . Ureteroscopy is often used for stones that have moved from the kidney to the ureter. you may need a small hollow tube (ureteral stent) placed in the ureter for a short time to keep it open and drain urine and any stone pieces. See a picture of ESWL Percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy. where he or she uses instruments to remove the stone or break it up for easier removal.
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