Kidney stones also called as Renal stones are extremely common. They can remain silent in the body for years and can suddenly produce symptom of severe abdominal pain or renal colic. This can be a problem if the patient is travelling. This article gives information on Renal stones.
1. What are Renal Stones ?
Renal stones are stones formed in the urinary tract. They can be in the kidney, ureter or the bladder.
2. Who can suffer from Renal stones ?
Renal stones can be seen in patients at any age from childhood to very old.
3. How are Renal stones formed ?
Renal stones are formed from minerals in the urine. Certain persons are more prone to stone formation. Some patients will repeatedly form stones. Normally the inside surface of the kidney and the ureter (a tubes joining the kidney to the bladder) is very smooth.The kidney forms urine in small droplets every second. These drops of urine flow from the kidney to the bladder through the ureter. Urine collects in the bladder. When the bladder becomes full, we feel like passing urine. This normal physiological process can get disturbed.
a. Drinking less water : This produces urine full of minerals which can precipitate forming stones. This is commonly seen in areas of water scarcity.
b. Due to some metabolic problem like high Parathyroid hormone some patients excrete calcium in high quantities which forms stones.
c. High salt intake increases calcium excretion which precipitates to form stones.
d. Diet low in calcium increases Oxalate secretion which can form stones.
e. High intake of stone forming foods like, Colas, nuts, spinach, Beets and tea increase chances of stone formation.
f. Very heavy meat intake increases uric acid excretion which results in uric acid stones.
4. How can Renal stones affect your health ?
Renal stones can produce several problems.
Big stones can block the flow of urine. This produces back pressure on the kidney resulting in a condition called as hydronephrosis. If left untreated it can permanently damage the kidney.
Small stones can get stuck in the ureter producing renal colic / severe abdominal pain.
The biggest problem is that renal stones can remain silent for several years and can suddenly produce symptoms. This can be a problem when the patient is travelling and medical facility is not readily available.
5. How can we detect renal stones ? Renal stones can be detected by X-ray or ultrasound. Routine yearly blood checkup and ultrasound can help. Never neglect mild abdominal pain . Renal colic is a typical pain that starts in the back and radiates to the front part of the abdomen or groin. Patient who have history of renal stones should be more careful.
Patient's planning an international travel should get blood tests and ultrasound examination before travel.
6. How can we prevent renal stones ?
As there are several causes for renal stone formation, it is necessary to find the right cause in every person. In case you happen to pass a renal stone please get it analysed. This can help us to tell the composition of the stone and methods to prevent it.
Fourier Transfer InfraRed spectroscopy (FTIR) is now available at Bhide Laboratory
7. What is FTIR ?
FTIR is a gold standard for analysis of renal stones. It is available only at selected centers in our country.
8, Why is stone analysis so important ?
Stone analysis can tell us the possible etiology (cause) of stone formation. Stones classified by etiology
• Calcium oxalate
• Calcium phosphate (including brushite and carbonate apatite)
• Uric acid