Kidney stones is one of the oldest diseases in the history. There are some research studies that reveals it is nearly 7000 years old and even Egyptian kings were victims of it. This is found out through CT-scans and MRI-scans performed on mummies recovered from Egypt.
On most occasions, small kidney stones will be expelled out through urine without any problems. But, some stones can get big and cause many problems. In this article, we will look into some common questions that surround this problem and we will try to answer it the best way we can.
What are kidney stones?
Formation of stones in kidneys or in the path where the urine travels or in the bladder is what we commonly call as kidney stones. These stones may induce severe pain, infections, and affect the functioning of kidneys. The size of these kidney stones can be anywhere between the size of a sand granule to 2cms. Mineral salts and acids play a major role in its formation.
What are the signs?
Kidney stones don’t give out any signs during its formation. It starts to give out problems only when it starts to move. It is very painful when it moves. We will look into some common symptoms for this problem.
- There will be severe pain on the sides of lower ribs in the hip region.
- There will be pain starting from lower abdomen to hip region
- Severe pain during urination
- Urine will be pink, red, or brown in color.
- Urine will have heavy unpleasant odor
- Urine will be released little by little
- It will induce vomiting and nausea
- There will be constant feeling to urinate.
- If it is caused by infections, it will lead to fever and loss of body heat.
What causes Kidney stones
Bad food habits and not drinking enough water are the major reasons for kidney stones. When we eat foods rich in protein, calcium, and oxalate, our kidneys will expel them in excess levels. But, as long as we drink enough water, kidneys will easily expel these excess nutrients and minerals easily. But, when there is the deficiency in the water supply to kidneys, these mineral salts will combine with one another and starts to settle down as stones.
Calcium stones are more common in Indian sub-continent.
Calcium gets mixed with oxalate and forms calcium oxalate, this will settle down as sediments in kidneys.
What are the other possible stones?
- When our body has excess levels of calcium and phosphate, it will create calcium phosphate stones.
- Infections in kidneys will lead to the formation of struvite stones.
- People who do not drink enough water will have uric acid stones.
- Some people’s kidneys will have problems with separating amino acids, this is a hereditary problem. These people will have cystine stones.
How to detect kidney stones?
It can be detected through symptoms, blood test, and X-rays.
Blood tests will reveal whether the formed stones contain calcium or uric acid. Additionally, urine test will also reveal the type of kidney stone.
X-ray tests will give out place and size of the stones. But, very small stones are hard to detect through X-rays. CT-scan will be advised for these people.
75 percent of the times X-rays cannot penetrate these stones, so they can be easily detected through X-rays. Rest 25 percent of the stones can be detected through ultrasound test.
Who are all more vulnerable to Kidney Stones?
People who do not drink enough water, who eat a lot of protein, who suffer from obesity, who have digestion problems, who have undergone special surgery for weight loss, who are older than 40 years of age, women who are past their menopause stage, who have insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and hypothyroidism are more vulnerable to this problem.
Are kidney stones hereditary?
There is no definite study that confirms its hereditary nature. But, if a Father or Mother had kidney stones, there is a high probability for kidney stones in their children as well.
What are treatments for Kidney stones?
If the kidney stones are very small in size, it doesn’t need any special treatments. Drinking enough water and consuming liquid foods will expel it out of the system. Doctors might suggest painkillers to overcome the pain when these stones are released through urine.
But drinking more water for bigger stones would not fetch any results. For these people, Doctors will advise for ESWL (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy) treatment. A Lightwave with a particular frequency will be used to create shock vibrations in stones and it will be made to crack into small pieces. This is quite a painful process, so the Doctors would prescribe painkillers to withstand it.
There is a special surgery called percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). In this surgery, a special instrument called ureteroscopy will be used to remove the kidney stones.
There is an another treatment called Retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS), in this treatment a special laser instrument will be used to break the kidney stones into small pieces, so that they can be expelled through urine. It is one of the safest methods.
Is there a link between kidney stones and foods?
When we consume foods that have excess or high levels of sodium, calcium, protein, Vitamin-C and D, and oxalate, it increases the chances for kidney stones. So we need to reduce the salt intake, have a healthy diet, and drink lots of water. Doing so, we can effectively prevent kidney stones.
Would Consuming Plantain Stem Prevent Kidney Stones?
Plantain stem is used as a medicine for kidney stones in Siddha, Ayurveda and other traditional medical sciences. It contains diuretics, which will increase the production of urine and induce urination. So there is nothing wrong with consuming it.