Kidney stones are one of the most common and painful disorders affecting the urinary tract.
A kidney stone is a hard mass of crystals that separate from the urine within the urinary tract. Small kidney stones usually travel through the urinary tract and pass out of the body in the urine without causing any pain. However, a larger stone may get stuck in the ureters (narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder (an oval-shaped chamber in the lower abdomen that stores urine), or the urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the genitals where urine is passed out). If the stone is big enough, it can block the flow of urine and cause severe pain.
Kidney stones are usually made up of calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. These chemicals come from the food we eat and make up important parts of our body, such as bones and muscles. Normally, urine contains chemicals that inhibit crystal formation; however, these inhibitors do not seem to work in all people.
Kidney stones occur more frequently in males, with prevalence rising dramatically as men enter their 40s and continues to rise in men 70 and older. For women, prevalence peaks at age 50 and older. Once a person develops more than one stone, he or she is likely to develop stones again in the future unless lifestyle changes are made.
Kidney stones often do not cause any symptoms. The first symptom is usually sudden, extreme pain that occurs when a stone moves in the urinary tract and blocks the flow of urine. It is typically a sharp, cramping pain in the back and side in the area of the kidney or in the lower abdomen. Sometimes, there is nausea and vomiting. Later, pain may spread to the groin.
If the stone is too large, pain continues as the muscles in the wall of the narrow ureter try to squeeze the stone into the bladder. Blood may appear in the urine, which takes on a pink color. As the stone moves down the ureter, closer to the bladder, a person may feel the need to urinate more often or feel a burning sensation during urination.
The most effective way to prevent kidney stones is to drink enough liquids—water is best—to produce at least 2 liters of urine a day. A person can pass kidney stones through his or her urinary system by drinking 2 to 3 liters of fluids a day to help move the stone along. Often, the person can stay home during this process, drinking fluids and taking pain medication as needed.
For large kidney stones that are not passed out of the urinary system with increased fluid intake, Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is a non-invasive manner of treating Urinary Tract Stones.
Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) is equipped with a state-of-the-art ESWL machine that uses shock waves to pulverize and flush out kidney stones.
For inquiries, contact the ESWL Unit at 771-9000 to 9002 local 8310 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.