Friday, April 15, 2011

There are several ways to treat kidney stones

Kidney Stones
Kidney stone (also known as nephrolithiasis) is one of the most painful urologic diseases. It is the migration of stone that forms at the level of the kidney through the different structures of the urinary system (the uretere, urinary bladder and urethra).

Kidney stone disease was described by ancient civilizations (Mesopotamia, India, China, Persia, Greece and Rome). It was discovered in the pelvis of an Egyptian mummy (dated to 4800 BCE). Among the famous leaders that suffered from this disease were Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III, Peter the Great, Louis XIV, George IV and former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Clinically, during the process of migration, the stone can cause severe pain that typically starts in the flank. As the stone progresses, the pain starts to localize to the groin and the genital area, causing blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting. In most cases, the stone continues its migration and is eliminated in the urine. Many stones are formed and passed without causing symptoms. In a small percentage of patients, the stone is big in size and will block the uretere causing blockage of the urine flow compromising the kidney’s function and increasing the risk of infection of the kidney


There are several types of kidney stones which are categorized by the type of crystal forming the stone. The most common stones contain calcium oxalate, which can be formed without any predefined risk factors. The calcium phosphate is mainly common for patients with genetic or acquired defect in excretion of acidic materials in the urine.

Struvite stones are exclusively present in patients with recurrent urinary tract infections. Cystine stones result from an inherited condition that causes an increase in the amount of cystine (an amino acid) in the urine. Uric acid stones form only in acidic urine and cannot typically be seen by X-ray imaging.

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