PKD Clinic

Polycystic Kidney Disease& Kidney Cysts

Kidney Stone (Renal Calculi)

Kidney stone can both be a single disease or a complication of other medical diseases. If left untreated, it may cause further kidney damage. > Kidney Stone

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Literally, kidney stone (renal calculi) is a benign disease. In some cases, it can block the urinary tract and cause some other diseases such as kidney failure and cancer. Therefore, a prompt treatment is very important for the person with kidney stone.

What is a kidney stone?

A kidney stone is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidney and it may form when the normal balance of water, salts, minerals and other substances found in urine changes. How the balance changes determines the type of kidney stone you have. Most kidney stones are made of calcium. Kidney stone have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract.

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What causes a kidney stone?

Dietary factors that increases the risk of stone formation includes low fluid intake and high intake of animal protein, sodium, refined sugars, apple juice, cola drinks, etc. In addition, there are many other factors may lead to kidney stone.

◆ Chronic diseases.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, Polycystic Kidney Disease and many other chronic diseases all can contribute to kidney stone. The person with a history of chronic disease is at the higher risk of developing kidney stones.

◆ Family history.

More commonly, kidney stones can run in families, as stones often occur in family members over several generations.

◆ Gout

Gout results in chronically increased amount of uric acid in the blood and urine, which can lead to the formation of uric acid stones.

◆ Hypercalciuria

In more than a half of cases, high calcium in urine causes kidney stones. In this condition, too much calcium is absorbed from food and excreted into the urine, which is more likely to cause kidney stones.

◆ Inflammatory bowel disease

People with inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to develop kidney stones, because too many substances which can form kidney stones will build up in their body.

◆ Some medications

Some medications are able to cause kidney stones and these medications include some diuretics, calcium-containing antacids and the protease inhibitor indinavir, some drugs used to treat HIV infections.

◆ Other conditions

The person who has undergone intestinal bypass or ostomy surgery is more likely to develop kidney stone. Sometimes, parathyroid glands produce too much hormone can also cause kidney stones.

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What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Most often kidney stones don't cause any symptoms. The first of a kidney stone is extreme pain, which begins suddenly and severely when a stone moves through the urinary tract and blocks the flow of urine. At this time, some other symptoms may occur:

◆ Severe pain in the back or side.

◆ Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin.

◆ Pain that may comes in waves and fluctuate in intensity.

◆ The urine that changes into pink, red or brown.

◆ Having a pain when you piss.

◆ Foul-smelling urine and urinary urgency.

◆ Nausea and vomiting.

◆ Fever and chills.

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How are kidney stones diagnosed?

Your great pain orders about you to see you doctor, and then your doctor will ask you some questions and examine you. If you pass a stone, your doctor will give you another treatment to determine whether you have kidney stones. You doctor may do one or more of the following tests to help diagnose your kidney stones and see where they are located.

◆ CT. Computed tomography (CT) scan is the preferred test for kidney stones. It can help ensure the location of kidney stones.

◆ IVP. Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an X-ray test that can show the size, shape and position of kidney stones in the urinary tract.

◆ Retrograde pyelogram. It may be done if the above two tests can't provide a diagnosis.

These three tests are usually used to diagnose kidney stone, and other tests including KUB and ultrasonogram may also be helpful.

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How are kidney stones treated?

Most kidney stones can pas through the urinary system with plenty of water 2 to 3 quarts a day. During this process, the patients should stay home, and drinking enough fluid and taking pain medications is also needed. However, some other treatment may be needed. If the kidney stones can't excrete out of the body, some other treatments have to be taken.

Develop a new lifestyle

You may be told to avoid food with added vitamin D and certain types of antacids that have a calcium base, besides drinking enough water. If you have highly acidic urine may also need to eat less meat, fish and poultry. A health lifestyle can help treat and avoid kidney stones effectively. If a new lifestyle is not enough to remove the kidney stones, a surgery or traditional Chinese treatment may be needed.

Surgical treatment

The surgical treatment for kidney stone has been improved in recent years, and many options do not require major open surgery and they can be performed in an outpatient setting.

The first one is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most frequently used surgery for kidney stone treatment. In many cases, ESWL may be done on an outpatient basis and recovery time is relatively short. Most people can resume normal activities in a few days. However, there may be some complications such as hematuria, discomfort in the back or abdomen and some others occurring in ESWL.

The second one is percutaneous nephrolithotomy

In some cases, a procedure called percutaneous nephrolithotomy is recommended to remove a stone, when the stone is quiet large or in a location that doesn't allow effective use of ESWL. One advantage of this treatment is that the surgeon can remove some of the stone fragments directly rather than relying solely on their natural passage from the kidney.

The third one is ureteroscopic stone removal

Ureteroscopic stone removal is usually used for mid and lower-ureter stones. This treatment is rarely used now because of the higher risks of damage to the ureters.

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How does traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) help treat kidney stone?

Some Chinese herbal medicines are able to expand and soften the urinary tract, to allow more substance which can form kidney stones excreting out of the body. In addition, some other herbal medicines can help dissolve the existing kidney stone. The dissolved stones are much easier to pass through the urinary tract. If the lifestyle changes can help you remove these stones and you don't want to have a surgery to treat your kidney stone, you can choose traditional Chinese medicine to help you.

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