The incidence of patients suffering from kidney stones seems to be increasing at an alarming rate. While it is hard to point to a definite cause of the condition, several factors have come to light, each of which has a role to play in the pathogenesis of the condition. It is not a single cause that has to be dealt with. It is a collection of factors, thereby making prevention a difficult task.
Perhaps the reason due to which the incidence of this condition is not declining is that so many factors have a role to play. If a definite cause could be fathomed, one would take preventative measures focusing on it. But in this case, since so many risk factors are present, it becomes rather difficult to deal with all of them, thereby making a significant section of the population predisposed to the condition.
Kidney stones cannot be ignored. The primary reason for this is the fact that they have the potency to cause renal failure. Other dire consequences can also be brought about by neglecting kidney stones, which is why it is rather important that the condition is detected at an early stage so that management can be simpler and more feasible. Kidney stones can be managed by medications, adequate hydration or might require lithotripsy which is treatment by radiation. If the problem is detected at an early stage, it is entirely possible that the growth of the stone is halted and then the condition can be treated by conservative methods.
In order to detect the problem at an early stage, it is necessary to be familiar with the symptoms that are caused by the condition. Most of the symptoms are usually passed off without giving them due attention. People tend to be of the opinion that these symptoms do not bear any significance and by the time they start to take their symptoms seriously, the stones have grown to a considerable size. Therefore, it is necessary that kidney stone symptoms are well known by people, particularly those who are predisposed to the condition. This includes those who have a family history of kidney stones, those with metabolic disorders, those who reside in warm climates and do not hydrate accordingly, those who opt for high content protein diet, and gout patients.
Obese people also have to be rather cautious and alert with regards to the symptoms associated with kidney stones. The reason due to which it is essential to be observant is that if kidney stones are detected at an early stage, one can avoid a rather protracted and tiresome course of treatment. The details of the treatment will be discussed shortly.
The symptoms that are incurred by kidney stones depend mainly on their size and site. Small-sized stones tend to go unnoticed until and unless they get lodged in a critical position. Kidney stones do not remain static and continue to move throughout the place. It is when they get lodged in a certain location that symptoms start to manifest.
There are three primary reasons due to which symptoms would manifest in the case of kidney stones. One is that the kidney stones get stuck in a place or if infection occurs. Occasionally the stones can pass into the ureter as well, paving the way for a number of problems, which we will shed some light on in a while. Let us first focus upon the problems that arise due to kidney stones.
Flank pain in the affected side is the most common symptom. The pain might be so severe that it renders the patient unable to move at all. You would find people squirming and screaming with pain, such is the intensity. The pain radiates to the back and is present below the ribs. The pain is episodic and subsides in some time. The duration that it takes for the pain to subside varies from patient to patient. It could take around 15 minutes to an hour for the pain to alleviate. Mostly analgesics have to be injected into the patient to control the pain. The pain might also radiate to the groin and abdominal region, thereby making it difficult for the patient to localize it.
The patient would also complain of frequent micturition, in which the patient would have to urinate at increasing frequency. Micturition would also be accompanied by a fresh bout of pain.
An alarming symptom with which many people tend to present with is that of blood in the urine or hematuria. While people might find it easy to ignore the pain and avoid consultation, it is the blood in the urine which tends to send them into a state of frenzy and prompts them to acquire a consult. Hematuria is not a necessary symptom of kidney stones and it might appear at later stages when the size of the stone has increased drastically.
Kidney stones might also predispose the victim to infections, after which the patient would complain of cloudy or foul smelling urine. General and vague manifestations like nausea and vomiting are not uncommon either. The patient might also complain of frequent urination with the quantity of urine being rather minute. The patient would also be in an agitated state and would find it rather difficult to sit still.
As the stone moves down the ureter, pain starts to increase. The ureter is a rather narrow tube and the lodging of the stone in the ureter leads to blockage of the tube. This prevents the waste products from passing through. Due to this, bacteria would start to build up in the area, thereby leading to infections. In the case of such an infection, the fever would be rather high and would be accompanied by chills and rigors. The patient would feel rather weak and tired and would also complain of diarrhea.
Halting the growth of stones at the right time could lead to the evasion of a rather troublesome management. In the case a stone attains considerable growth, radiation would have to be used. The predisposition of malignancy due to radiation is well known. In addition, to this, since the stone would be quite large, multiple sessions would be required, which can be quite draining for the patient. After the radiation treatment, the patient would have to increase hydration and take medications so that the fragments of the stone can pass out with urine.
This is a rather protracted course of treatment which can be rather tiring. Sometimes the stone might get lodged in a position in which radiation would have no effect, making it necessary to perform surgery to remove the stone. In case the kidney stone is not detected at the right time, it can prove to be a silent killer as it would lead to renal failure. Indeed, a regular sized stone has the potency to result in acute renal failure, which is why it is of utmost significance that the problem is detected at the right stage so that appropriate measures can then be taken.
Another issue that needs to be kept in mind is that once you have acquired kidney stones, the risk or the condition occurring again increases significantly.
Under such conditions, any treatment that might aid in the complete eradication of the stones with minimal chances of recurrence is bound to receive attention. Every now and then, you hear about a new technique being introduced in the market that would lead to complete removal of the problem from the roots. But since it is health that we are talking about, one cannot opt for every technique or medication that is introduced in the market.
Caution is necessary in this regard, lest you end up doing more harm than good. Therefore, you need to have a guide who can provide you with a complete list of measures that would lead to the cure of the disease along with scientific backings for them.