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What are kidney stones?

What are kidney stones?


A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract .Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for kidney stones. One in every 20 people develop kidney stones at some point in their life. Urine has various wastes dissolved in it. Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine .When there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join together to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine. The stone-forming chemicals are calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate. Kidney stones typically leave the body in the urine stream, and a small stone may pass without causing symptoms. If stones grow to sufficient size (usually at least 3 millimeters (0.1 in)) they can cause blockage of the ureter.  Symptoms of a kidney stone include flank pain (the pain can be quite severe) and blood in the urine (hematuria). Diagnosis of kidney stones is best accomplished using an ultrasound, intravenous pyleography (IVP), or a CT scan.

Most stones form due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Risk factors include being overweight, certain foods, some medications, and not drinking enough fluids . The treatment for kidney stones is similar in children and adults. Patient may be asked to drink a lot of water. Doctors try to let the stone pass without surgery. He/She may also get medication to help make your urine less acid. But if it is too large, or if it blocks the flow of urine, or if there is a sign of infection, it is removed with surgery.

Shock-wave lithotripsy is a noninvasive procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to blast the stones into fragments that are then more easily passed out in the urine. In ureteroscopy, an endoscope is inserted through the ureter to retrieve or obliterate the stone.