Kidney stones is a prevalent urological disorder that occurs over the lifetime of 13% of men and 7% of women. Over the last several decades, incidents and prevalence of kidney stones are rising around the globe and across sex, race, and age. Such increases are thought to be driven by dietary change and global warming.
This article will help you learn more about this common disorder—what are kidney stones, and what are their symptoms and treatments.
Kidney stones are literal stones that form inside the kidneys by minerals or acids. The stones then pass into the ureters—the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Usually, only one kidney is affected, and one or multiple stones can be present. When the stones move from your kidneys to your ureters, it is when you will start to feel symptoms of pain, nausea, etc.
Often times, you don’t need to do anything to pass the kidney stones other than drinking plenty of water and taking pain medications. However, if the stones become stuck in the urinary tract, they may cause infections and would require surgical removal.
Kidney stones usually do not cause kidney failure unless there is only one functioning kidney or there are other underlying conditions.
There are four kinds of kidney stones:
Some kidney stones are small enough that it’ll pass out of your urinary tract without you noticing. However, other times the stones can cause:
Symptoms can vary based on the location of the stones:
If you are in severe pain, have nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, difficulty passing urine or bloody urine, you should seek medical help from your doctor.
When the kidney stones are small, they can pass on their own with sufficient hydration, and pain can be managed with medication. A doctor may also prescribe you with analpha blocker to relax the ureters and help the stones pass easier.
Other treatments include:
Please note that catheters are prescribed medical devices and should only be obtained as your doctor deems needed.
If you need intermittent catheters, CompactCath produces innovative, pocket-sized catheters that aim to liberate you from the anxiety of self-catheterization. Being the most compact catheter of its kind, it provides convenience and privacy.
Pain relief can be provided in the form of acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and meperidine. In addition, prescriptions of opioid narcotics might become necessary short-term. Some oral narcotics such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, usually in combination with acetaminophen and drugs for nausea may be prescribed. Heating pads may also provide some comfort.
Pain levels and needs vary per person, so consult your medical professional before purchasing or using any medication.
Of course, no one wants to have kidney stones. So, it is very important that if you just got over passing kidney stones, you take preventative measures to ensure you have a very low risk of getting them in the future. That means limiting protein from meats, salt, taking medicines that slow down or entirely prevent stone formation and drinking plenty of fluids (water).
Patients with high urine calcium levels and recurrent calcium stones may benefit from thiazide diuretics (drugs and/ or medicines that make you urinate more). This allows the kidneys to flush out clusters of calcium, preventing the creation of those bigger stones.
Another widely recommended medicine is potassium citrate, another chemical compound that de-acidifies your urine and prevents kidney stones. Potassium citrate can also be used with thiazides or by itself. However, please consult your physician or medical specialist, as they will prescribe the right medicine for you.
Your diet can affect your risk of getting kidney stones. To decrease your risk, follow the tips below:
The above recommendations are not formal medical advice, please consult a medical professional when it comes to treating, diagnosing, or preventing kidney stones.
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We produce catheters that are compact, mess-free, non-touch, and pre-lubricated. They are discreetly designed, convenient, and perfect for those who lead an active life.
CompactCath® is designed at Stanford d.school. It is FDA-cleared in 2014, holds six patents, covered by CNN Money, won two grants (BioDesign Spectrum grant, LPCH Pediatric Innovation grant) and two iF product design awards (2016, 2017).