If you’ve ever suffered from kidney stones then you’ll likely know that the presence of these stones can cause excruciating pain, and it is therefore a condition that requires immediate treatment.
Patients who experience recurring kidney stones can opt for home treatment. However, patients are still advised to seek hospital treatment to ensure or speed up the removal of the kidney stones, regardless of whether it is their first time or not.
Different Forms of Treatment
Natural kidney stones treatments
Most kidney stones, especially the smaller ones, eventually pass through urine within 48 hours after they are formed. If there is sufficient water intake, the passage of the stones will be faster. However, if the body goes on without much water or without treatment for the condition that caused the kidney stones for longer, the stones will grow bigger.
If the stone has got big enough, it will not be able to make its way through the urinary tract and might even partially or fully block urine flow.
Medical and medicinal help for kidney stones
If the kidney stones don’t pass through urine easily, medications to make this possible can be used. These include calcium channel blockers and alpha blockers. Also, if a person seeks hospital treatment, fluid is usually supplied intravenously for faster absorption.
Kidney Stones Treatment
In some cases, the removal of kidney stones through urination may not be physically possible. Generally, a stone 4mm in size has an 80% chance to exit through urine, but a stone 5mm in size has only a 20% chance to do so. Unfortunately, stones larger than 5mm rarely pass through the urine mainly because it is physically impossible for them to do so.
In such cases, a shockwave procedure called lithotripsy is conducted in order to break the kidney stones into several smaller pieces so they can easily pass and exit the body. This procedure is conducted by a urologist. However, some studies show that this therapy, when used to get rid of kidney stones, can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes. Thus, it is important to consider potential risks and side effects carefully before agreeing to any form of treatment.
Surgical removal of kidney stones
Sometimes, kidney stones are either too large or develop in regions where lithotripsy is not a safe option. In such cases, patients may opt to undergo a surgical procedure to have the kidney stones removed.
There are two types of surgical procedures used for this purpose. The first is percutaneous nephrolithotomy, which refers to the removal of the stone by making a small incision at the patient’s back. This is most often used for larger stones that are inside or near the kidney.
The second is called ureteroscopic stone removal, which removes the stone by inserting a thin tube through the urethra. This is used for stones that grow in the lower urinary tract. In other cases where other surgical procedures are not possible, standard open surgery called nephrolithotomy is the last resort.
Surgical procedures are also the safest form of kidney stones treatment if the kidney stone is already blocking the flow of urine. In such cases, it is important to remove the kidney stones in the soonest possible time; otherwise, there is a risk that an infection may develop or kidney damage may occur.
Management of symptoms
While waiting for kidney stones to pass or to deal with the aftermath of the kidney stones, some medications may be used to help manage the kidney stones symptoms that the patient may be experiencing.
Passing a stone can be excruciatingly painful, and a lot of other forms of discomfort may come into play. Thus, patients can be given over-the-counter pain medications, narcotic pain medications, or anti-inflammatory medications, as needed. An anti-emetic medication may also be administered in case the patient also experiences nausea and vomiting.
Treatment after the removal
After the kidney stones are removed, they are usually saved so they can be tested. This is necessary in determining the specific type of kidney stone it is, which can pinpoint some health conditions that the patient may be suffering.
Further kidney stones treatment may be necessary to treat for such underlying conditions as part of the prevention of the growth of more kidney stones in the future.