Kidney Stones Cause And Treatment

Kidney stones, also called renal calculi, are solid concretions or aggregation of crystals of dissolved minerals in the urine. The most common type of kidney stone is composed of calcium oxalate crystals. Other types of renal calculi are composed of struvite (magnesium, ammonium and phosphate); uric acid; calcium phosphate; and cystine. Kidney stones are one of the most painful disorders, and one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. They produce a sudden, intense pain capable of bringing even the most strong murdered to their knees.

Although anyone can develop kidney stones there are some common risk factors. If any of your parents or anyone from previous generations have had kidney stones then you are more likely to develop kidney stones. If you are a Caucasian then you are more at risk. Women are far less afflicted with kidney stones than men. While 15% of the men can develop kidney stones in the case of women it is only 5%. Although kidney stones can strike at any age the most common time is between 20 and 40 years of age.

Most small kidney stones can be safely treated by allowing them to pass naturally through the body rather than resorting to surgery. American Urological Association discourages surgical extraction of smaller stones which is many times practiced. This can damage the tubes leading from the kidney to the bladder

Nearly 1 million surgical interventions are done each year to remove kidney stones in United States Alone. The following treatments are used to remove kidney stones.

  • Shock waves or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) – use of a machine to send shock waves directly to the kidney stone to break a large stone into smaller stones that will pass through the urinary system. There are two types of shock wave machines: with one machine, the patient sets in a tub of water, with the other, the patient lies on a table.
  • Ureteroscope – a long wire with a camera attached to it is inserted it into the patient's urethra and passed up through the bladder to the urethra where the stone is located. A cage is used to obtain the stone and remove it.
  • Tunnel surgery (Also called percutaneous nephrolithotomy.) – a small cut is made in the patient's back and a narrow tunnel is made through the skin to the stone inside the kidney. The physician can remove the stone through this tunnel.