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At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our experienced nephrologists offer a wide range of diagnostic methods and treatment options for patients suffering from kidney stones. Our specialists work with patients to choose a personalized treatment plan that best suits the patient’s condition.
Kidney stone disease, also known as nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis, is a condition that consists of the formation of calculi, made of mineral and acid deposits, commonly referred to as stones, inside the kidneys. Although these stones form inside the kidneys, they eventually leave the body through the urinary tract. If a kidney stone is smaller than 5 millimeters, it can be easily eliminated without causing any symptoms. However, if the stone is bigger than 5 millimeters, its elimination can cause severe pain and even hematuria or vomiting.
Genetics, calcium levels, diet, underlying diseases, dehydration and other environmental factors can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones are by far the most common cause of urinary tract obstruction and affect approximately 1 in every 1000 adults in the United States, accounting for over 2 billion dollars in medical costs per year.
The majority of kidney stone cases resolve on their own without causing any pain. However, a large percentage of people suffering from larger kidney stones will require medication to help eliminate kidney stones and reduce pain.
Some of the most common treatments and drugs for kidney stones are:
There are four main types of kidney stones:
As a general rule, kidney stones do not cause any noticeable symptoms before they start to migrate out of the kidneys and towards the ureter. Once they have reached the ureter, patients experience symptoms such as:
The symptoms of kidney stones fluctuate in intensity and the pain can change location as the kidney stones move through the urinary tract.
In order to verify the presence of kidney stones, there are several tests and procedures that can be done, such as:
There are certain factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing kidney stones, for example:
While there is not a universal cause of kidney stones, there are several factors that have been linked to their formation, such as:
Considering the fact that kidney stones affect around ten percent of the world’s population, it is natural for people to try to find various ways to treat the symptoms of kidney stones and to try to prevent their formation. However, it is important to mention that these alternative treatments and homemade remedies have not been scientifically confirmed, so it is recommended to consult a doctor before trying any of them.
One of the most important preventive measures for kidney stones is drinking enough water. Hydration is very important for maintaining the health of the kidneys and protecting them from a wide range of conditions.
Another preventive measure, which applies mostly to people who have already suffered from kidney problems, or have a hereditary inclination towards developing kidney stones, is taking medications as prescribed by a doctor.
Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping weight under control are also helpful when trying to prevent kidney stones. Having a healthy diet implies increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and decreasing the consumption of red meat, salt, and sugar. Another important step in preventing kidney stones is eating foods that are rich in calcium in order to avoid having to take calcium supplements, which are a known cause of kidney stones.
Do you suspect you might have kidney stones? You can always learn more about renal problems and how to treat and cure them by getting in touch with our highly-skilled specialists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.
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Richard Sires, M.D.See Profile »