Kidney stones are small masses in your kidneys that is made up of minute crystals. You can have one or several stones in your kidney or ureter at any given time. You will usually know when you have kidney stones because they cause extreme pain. In most cases, you will be able to pass a kidney stone on your own, but some people will have to get them surgically removed.
Causes of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are fairly common and can happen to anyone, though some people are at a higher risk of developing them. Kidney stones often run in families, so if your parent or grandparent has had kidney stones, you may have them one day as well. The causes of kidney stones depends on the type of stone it is. Calcium kidney stones are the most common type, mostly among men between 20 and 30. Calcium kidney stones are usually caused by diseases of the small intestines or a combination of substances such as oxalate found in spinach or vitamin C supplements. Cystine kidney stones run in families and are equal among men and women while struvite kidney stones are more common in women who have had a urinary tract infection. Dehydration is the most common risk factor for getting kidney stones.
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Most people won’t experience any symptoms until the kidney stones move down the urethra. This will block the flow of urine out of your kidneys and you will experience a variety of signs and symptoms. They include severe pain that comes on suddenly felt in the abdomen, side of the back, testicles or groin area, abnormal urine color, child, blood in the urine, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Diagnosing Kidney Stones
After a physical examination, your doctor will perform a variety of tests to find out if you have kidney stones. Tests include a blood test to check your electrolyte, calcium, phosphorus, and uric acid levels, kidney function test, urinalysis, and an examination of the stone. They can be examined with a CT scan, MRI, or x-ray of the abdomen.
Treating Kidney Stones
The proper treatment for kidney stones depends on the severity of your pain. Many people are able to pass them on their own through urination. You will be instructed to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and get plenty of rest until it passes naturally. If you can’t pass the kidney stones, you will need to have a surgical procedure to remove it.