Alternate Names : Nephrolithiasis, Urolithiasis, Urinary Calculi
What are the treatments for the condition?
There are medical and surgical components to the treatment of kidney stones. Medical care is first directed toward managing pain or infection. Afterward, treatment is directed at preventing more stones from forming. Mineral levels in the urine are sometimes measured by analysis of a 24-hour collection of urine. This information is used to determine the steps needed to prevent future stones. These may include dietary changes or medication.
Many stones will pass on their own. People are often given pain medication and told to drink a lot of fluids. They are then observed for a day or two to see if the stone passes. If the stone is very large on X-ray or doesn't pass, further treatment is needed.
Some types of stones can be dissolved with oral medications. Stones containing calcium cannot be dissolved using medication. If this type of stone does not exit the body on its own, some other treatment is required.
One type of treatment is lithotripsy, which uses shock waves aimed at the kidney stones from outside the body. The shock waves often break up the stones into small pieces. The small pieces can then be passed out of the body in the urine.
Surgery may be needed to remove the stone or stones. There are several surgery options. One method involves removing stones through a small, lighted tube called an endoscope. The endoscope can be passed through the urethra into the body. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body. The endoscope can then be advanced into the bladder or ureters to see the stone. The stone can then be removed through the endoscope.
Another type of endoscope is larger. It is inserted directly into the kidney through the skin of the abdomen. Larger stones can be removed this way. The majority of stones can be treated with one of these methods. If not, traditional or open surgery may be needed.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Pain medications may cause drowsiness, constipation, or allergic reactions. Surgery may cause bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction to anesthesia. Several of the medications used to prevent further stone formation may cause stomach or bowel upset.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
If stones pass on their own or are removed, a person can usually return to normal activities. Prevention of future stones is stressed. The person will be advised to drink plenty of fluids every day. Medications are helpful in some cases to prevent further stones.
How is the condition monitored?
People may be checked periodically with regular or special X-ray tests to see if stones are forming again. If a surgical procedure was difficult or complicated, additional X-ray tests may be used to check for urinary tract blockage. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.