The human body is simply amazing. The complexity of all processes that occur inside us every single second is truly unbelievable. We breathe, we digest, we think and we grow, without any conscious contribution to all these. However, the miracle of life is sometimes perturbed by various malfunctions or errors that generate abnormal behaviors. Kidney stones are one of these painful perturbations many of us have to live with for their entire life.
This medical condition is quite widespread, one in 20 people developing kidney stones at some point in their life. These stones are crystalline mineral formations, and they are located either inside the kidney or on the urinary tract. These stones appear whenever the urine volume decreases or when the stone-forming substances in it are too concentrated. Dehydration is one of the major risk factors for the formation of these minerals that can turn one’s life into a nightmare. They may form as a secondary symptom of other medical conditions such as gout, due to improper diet and lifestyle habits, or because of hereditary factors. This means that one can develop kidney stones even while living an impeccable life, with proper hydration and not too many excesses. It is important to maintain a good kidney health.
Most kidney stones are eliminated naturally, as they pass through the ureter to the bladder. They don’t need any help in finding their way through the urinary system. Nonetheless, the process of eliminating them is extremely painful, requiring medication to control the pain. In some cases, the patient needs to take medication that facilitates the passage of urine. Nevertheless, everybody who has to eliminate a kidney stone needs to be prepared to suffer.
This medical condition is easy to diagnose. The patient can’t hide it for too long, as the excruciating pains are going to send him to the doctor sooner rather than later. Ultrasound examination can reveal the presence of kidney stones, as well as their size. Smaller ones can pass through, but large ones may need to be broken down into smaller fragments, in order to be able to be eliminated. This can be achieved through ultrasonic treatment. Although not the most pleasant in the world, this treatment if well supported by patients, especially when a local anaesthetic is used.
Once a stone has been eliminated, the patient feels relief and an attenuation of the symptoms. However, as long as the risk factors are still present, new stones are going to get formed, so the process in going to repeat over and over again. Most patients know this, so they observe their symptoms closely, in order to be able to become aware as soon as possible. They can’t do much to help the stone pass through the ureter to the bladder, but they can take pain killers and drink more water, in order to urinate more frequently and in bigger volumes. Some of them choose not to bother their doctor anymore, as they are pretty sure what causes their horrible flank pain and bloody urine. Others, however, feel the urge to go the ER each time it happens. The pain is extremely intense, so it’s easy to understand why they need to see some doctors and nurses around them during such crises. However, after they are given pain control medication and perhaps some substances to ease the passage of the stone, they feel reassured they are going to be fine, so they go home and wait for the stone to get eliminated. This process can take a few days, so these people may not be able to go to work during all this time.
What should I do?
If you suffer from kidney stones, you may contact your doctor and ask him to help you identify the causes and the risk factors that apply to your case. If your condition isn’t hereditary, you might be able to stop the formation of these stones by limiting the salt consumption and by drinking plenty of water, so that you avoid getting dehydrated. If your condition is hereditary, all you can do is hope that you’ll only get small stones, as they are much easier to eliminate. Besides, you should trust in pain control medication, as it is your best friend during these periods.