Learn more about the urological treatments for kidney stones by understanding that kidney stones occur when salts in the urine form into solid crystals or ‘stones’. These stones can block the normal urine flow, and can be accompanied by severe pain.
Kidney stones can also cause infection, and even kidney damage or failure in severe cases. There are several types of kidney stones, with the most common being what is known as calcium stones.
Symptoms, causes and diagnosis
Symptoms may include severe gripping pain in the back, blood in the urine, passing small stones in the urine, and a fever if infection is present. It’s also important to note that some people with kidney stones do not experience any symptoms at all.
Causes of kidney stones include high levels of calcium and other substances in the urine, as well as certain medications and medical conditions.
Diagnosis may be done by ultrasound, CT scan or x-ray. Stones that are passed in the urine can also be examined by a physician or kidney stone specialist to determine what category they fit into.
Urological treatments for kidney stones
Kidney stone treatments vary, and will depend on the size and type of stone, and what problems it is causing for the patient.
In many cases, no treatment is necessary, as the patient will pass the stones in the urine. Pain relief might be required, and if pain is particularly severe, hospitalisation and strong medication might be necessary.
Kidney stone removal by open surgery is rarely used in Australia, usually being reserved for severe cases such as those where large obstructive stones are present, and / or there is a risk of complications such as organ damage.
Other urological treatments include:
Even though treatments can be very successful, the chance of recurrence is always present. Patients can take steps to reduce their risk of recurrence by doing the following:
It is not normally necessary to reduce calcium in the diet, although this would need to be determined by a kidney stone specialist. Drinking cranberry and citrus juices may also help to reduce risk levels, but this too should be discussed with your specialist.
Where to get help
The first port-of-call should be to visit your doctor if you suspect you might have kidney stones. If urological treatments are required, you may be referred on to a urologist or kidney stone specialist who will discuss treatment options with you. If you do require urological treatment, the type of treatment recommended will depend on the details of your particular case.