Kidney stones: causes, diagnosis and treatment at home

Health Tips

Table of contents

How the kidneys work

What is the difference between renal colic

Types of kidney stones

Reasons for the formation of stones

First aid at home

Operation types

How the kidneys work in the body

The kidneys are a paired organ that filters our blood, is involved in metabolism and regulates blood pressure. During the day, the kidneys filter and purify 60 liters of blood. They are located in the retroperitoneal space – on both sides of the spine. One of them is slightly larger than the other, that is, the kidneys are not symmetrical. All unnecessary – slags and salts – are excreted by them along with urine. If the kidneys fail, life is at risk: the body is poisoned by its own waste products.

Kidney stones are crystals formed from chemicals dissolved in urine. It is these formations that grow to stones that can block the flow of urine. They are formed mostly in the pelvis of the kidneys, and getting stuck in the ureter, they respond with acute pain. The latter is called renal colic and in most cases it requires urgent care. To establish the presence of kidney stones allows ultrasound and computed tomography.

Renal colic is considered one of the most severe, some patients compare them to stabbing in the lower back. The first thing most people do is try to relieve pain at home with pills. However, not all of them are able to help. Even if the drug relieves the spasm, the stone in the ureter will not go anywhere.

How to distinguish renal colic?

  • paroxysmal sharp pain in the lower hypochondrium in the lumbar region;

  • possible vomiting, nausea;

  • diarrhea;

  • blood in the urine;

  • burning when urinating. These symptoms require immediate treatment to the urologist.

What are kidney stones

Kidney stones can be of different shapes and have slightly different composition. For example, the crystals may have sharp edges, injuring the lining of the ureter. The type, size and shape of the stone depends on the therapy and the type of surgery.

  • calcium. This is the most common type of stone. There are two forms: calcium oxalates and calcium phosphates. If oxalate stones are identified, the intake of oxalate (found in nuts, wheat bran, spinach, chocolate, beets, soy products) should be reduced.

  • Urate. They form when urine becomes too acidic due to the buildup of uric acid.

  • Phosphate. These are stones that form when the kidneys are inflamed and have bacteria in them.

  • Cystine. These stones result from a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak into the urine.

Reasons for education

Common reasons for this: hereditary predisposition, inflammation, malnutrition. It used to be thought that men were diagnosed with kidney stones several times more often than women. Now this is no longer the case. Both suffer from excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle.

It is believed that meat, spinach, sorrel and excessive consumption of legumes, as well as excessive consumption of mineral water, can lead to the formation of stones. Plus, do not forget about hard drinking water at home, which needs to be cleaned with filters. There are entire regions where the risk of kidney stones in the population is increased precisely because of a certain composition of water. But we understand that not all people who love meat and legumes suffer from kidney stones. However, the main reasons are:

  • inflammatory processes;

  • metabolic disorders;

  • heredity (features of the structure of the kidneys, pathology of the urinary tract, when urine stagnates).

At the same time, the lack of water in the diet can cause dehydration of the body and increased formation of salts. You need to drink water (the same 2 liters a day), but remember about its quality, filtration.

In nutrition, you should also follow the rules (in the presence of pathology):

  • limit the use of salt (this does not mean that you need to stop salting altogether – everything is in moderation);

  • eat a little 4-5 times a day;

  • exclude alcohol, as it contributes to an increase in the concentration of salt components in the urine.

How to help yourself at home during an attack

Atypical advice: during a painful attack, stop drinking water. According to some experts, the pain occurs due to the overflow of the system with urine, swelling occurs and the kidney is infringed in its own capsule, which is inextensible, but rich in pain receptors. If you stop drinking at this point, the pain will become less intense. This is something that can make things easier at home. Then it is necessary to understand the prospects for stone migration in the ureter – of course, you will not do this on your own, you will need to consult a doctor. To relieve a pain attack, it is necessary to take antispasmodics that dilate the ureters. Thus, there is a chance that the stone will “fall” into the bladder.

The good news is that small stones 2-4 mm are considered self-expiring, that is, able to pass on their own. There is also an option when the stones are able to dissolve (thanks to a number of drugs). As soon as the size reaches 5-7 mm, a decision is made about a possible intervention. One popular measure is lithotripsy, where kidney stones are crushed. It is possible that the stones dissolve (due to a number of drugs).

Operation types

Not so long ago, stones from the urinary tract were removed using open surgery. Often there was a need to remove the kidney. Now much more often they resort to a less traumatic method – crushing stones. The operation is performed using a reflector that emits electro-hydraulic waves. Lithotripsy is characterized by a low percentage of postoperative complications. However, there are a number of contraindications:

  • pregnancy;

  • blood clotting disorders;

  • cardiopulmonary failure,

  • overweight patient;

  • acute form of pyelonephritis.

After crushing the stones, the sand comes out with the urine. However, a relapse is not excluded, therefore complex therapy is necessary, which includes taking medications, a certain drinking regimen, and a therapeutic diet.

In the event that the stones are too large or they are localized in a certain place, and kidney failure develops, an open operation is indispensable, therefore it is so important not to start the process and consult a doctor in time. Experts do not tire of reminding: acute paroxysmal pain never occurs overnight – the body signaled the problem in advance, but the patient did not pay attention, stopping the pain with pills.


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