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Kidney Stones FAQ

Following are common questions about Kidney stones:
  1. What are functions of kidney?
  2. What are kidney stones?
  3. What leads to formation of kidney stones?
  4. What are the types of kidney stones?
  5. How are kidney stones diagnosed?
  6. What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
  7. What is the ideal diet for people suffering from kidney stones?
  8. How are kidney stones treated?
  9. How long does it take for a person to recover from kidney stones?
  10. What is the age group that is affected by kidney stones?
  11. How can kidney stones be prevented?
  12. Are there any vegetables that can cause kidney stones and need to be avoided?
  13. Which body parts experience pain in event of a kidney stone?
  14. Can beer help one in getting rid of kidney stones?
  15. How to dissolve kidney stones naturally?
  16. What is the cost of kidney stone tests in India?
  1. What are functions of kidney?

    Kidneys are organs responsible for waste management and elimination of toxins from the body. Their prime functions are as follows:

    • Waste removal-The kidneys remove toxins, urea and excess salts from the body by way of excreta.
    • Healthy balance of acids-Kidneys maintain healthy balance of acids in the body.
    • Hydration-Kidneys also play a key role in maintaining water levels in the body even when water intake is less.
    • Produce hormones-Kidneys produce hormones which help in regulating blood pressure, bone health and increase red blood cell count.
  2. What are kidney stones?

    Nephrolithiasis or kidney stones are different sized crystal stones forming in kidney and urinary tract.

  3. What leads to formation of kidney stones?

    Different causes contribute to formation of kidney stones in people.

    • Urinary infection- Kidney stones are formed when water, minerals and salts present in urine go out of proportion.

    • Calcium levels- High levels of calcium in urine cause kidney stones. Moreover, discharge of calcium from kidney into urine is also responsible for causing kidney stones.

    • Inadequate water consumption- When people do not consume adequate water, stones are formed out of elements in urine like salt, water and minerals.

    • Hyperparathyroidism- When parathyroid glands in neck secrete excess parathyroid hormone, it causes serious calcium imbalance and kidney stones. If left untreated, hyperparathyroidism can give rise to osteoporosis, kidney failure, high blood pressure etc.

    • Hypercalciuria- This is a disorder wherein calcium from food is absorbed more than what is required. Further, it gets into the urine leading to formation of stones of calcium phosphate or calcium oxalate in kidney or urinary tract.

    • Genetics- A family history of kidney stones is likely to increase chances of newer generations also getting it

  4. What are the types of kidney stones?

    Kidney stones are classified according to different chemical combinations. Few types of kidney stones occurring in people are as follows:

    • Cystine stones- Cystine stones or Cystinuria is a genetic condition. It is an uncommon condition occurring when amino acidic stones form in ureter, bladder and kidney.These stones are made of cysteine and build up in urine in stone form instead of getting dissolved. This type is a very rare form of kidney stone.

    • Calcium stones- Calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate are 2 types of calcium stones. Calcium oxalate stones are formed because of high calcium levels, whereas calcium phosphate are a result of heightened acidic levels in urine.

    • Uric acid stones- High levels of acid in urine, which fails to dissolve, gets converted to stones. These type of stones occur when the person doesn't include sufficient amounts of fluids in his daily routine. People consuming high amounts of animal protein tend to have increased levels of uric acid in their urine. Also, this type is the most common kidney stone condition.

    • Struvite stones- Struvite stones form out of kidney and urinary tract infections. Women are likelier to suffer from struvite stones more than men. These are also termed as triple phosphate stones which disturb chemical balance of urine.

  5. How are kidney stones diagnosed?

    Kidney stones are diagnosed by the doctor through imaging, blood and urine tests. They become easier to diagnose if you have had a family history of stone disorder. The doctor may also be able to detect it through your diet and lifestyle habits.

    • Imaging Tests- Imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasound, CT Scans enable the doctor to examine the internal organs and detect abnormalities and kidney stones developed in urinary tract and kidney. The exact size and location of the stone are correctly detected through these imaging tests.

    • Kidney Stone Analysis- The patient is asked to pass a stone through urine and collect it using a kidney stone strainer. It then has to be provided to a laboratory for further chemical testing.

    • Urinalysis- A sample of 30-60 ml of urine is collected and tested for presence of bacteria and harmful micro-organisms. Not only kidney stones, but any irregularities or impairment can be detected through urinalysis.

    • Blood chemistry screen- It is also called blood fasting test. It is done to ascertain levels of calcium, electrolytes and other substances responsible for causing kidney stones.

    • Kidney Ultrasound- An ultrasound machine uses sound waves for creating images on the screen, which reveal stones, cysts or other irregularities in kidney.

  6. What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

    Kidney stones are usually asymptomatic. They may not indicate their existence until they cause movements in your ureter or kidney. However, here are few of the symptoms experienced by people suffering from kidney stones:

    • Nausea- A general nauseatic feeling or painful bouts of vomiting are characteristic of kidney stones.
    • Aches- Aching back and lower abdomen.
    • Frequent urinating- The person feels a constant need of urinating at frequent intervals.
    • Urinary infections- Difficulty in passing urine or seeing blood pass through urine is cause of worry and indicates kidney stone.
    • Fever- Fever with chills with any of the above signs also could indicate kidney stones.
  7. What is the ideal diet for people suffering from kidney stones?

    • Limit your sodium intake- This means reducing intake of sodium rich foods like chips, processed foods, restaurant foodstuffs and canned items. Your diet should be such that you should maintain 2000 mg sodium in your everyday diet.

    • Fluids and juices- Fruit juices prepared at home, lemonades, soups are beneficial because they prevent stones from enlarging. The processed juices may only increase chances of kidney stones from aggravating; all thanks to the sugar content.

    • Dietary Calcium- Do not reduce your intake of dietary calcium as that could mean worsening the kidney stones.

  8. How long does it take for a person to recover from kidney stones?

    Lithotripsy is the medical procedure for extracting kidney stones. Overall, the entire procedure lasts for about 45 minutes to an hour. There are chances that the patient may need more than one session to treat the kidney stones completely.

  9. How long does it take for a person to recover from kidney stones?

    Kidney stones when small in size are treatable at home. They can be passed out through urine. When they become too large and untreatable through medications, surgery is the only option left for treating patients of stones. Following surgeries are utilized by urologists for treatment of kidney stones.

    • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)- Stones that exceed 2cm and cannot be treated using ureteroscopy require this surgical procedure. It is also referred to as nephrolithotripsy. It is a minimally invasive surgery lasting for about 20-45 minutes. A nephroscope is used for accessing the kidney through incision. The stones are fragmented and then extracted from there.

    • Ureteroscopy- Ureteroscopy is also referred to as Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery (RIRS). It is done when stones are stuck in urethral lining. A ureteroscope is used to push the stones into the kidney and then extracted with the help of lithotriptic procedure.

    • Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy- High energy shock waves generated from a lithotripter are directed towards the stones for crushing them. A tube is inserted into the bladder for facilitating passage of stones through urine.

  10. What is the age group that is affected by kidney stones?

    Urologists feel that the stressful times today have led to kidney stones being common among young people in their 20s and 30s.

  11. How can kidney stones be prevented?

    Kidney stones can be prevented from recurring by following few dietary restrictions and changes. Few of them are as listed below:

    • Drinking adequate water- Patients suffering from kidney stones should consume 2.5-3 liters of fluids and equal amount of water to keep the stones from redeveloping.

    • Coconut water- Coconut water promotes eliminating kidney stones by way of urine and also keeps the body from dehydration. And so its consumption will facilitate flushing out stones in an early phase.

    • Juices- Juices of fruits like orange, cranberry, apple and even lime water should be consumed as these fluids prevent stone formation.

    • A low-oxalate diet- Avoid foods like cashews, soy products, spinach, tea, chocolate which contain oxalate in high amounts.

    • Dairy products- Dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, ghee etc. contain high amounts of calcium, which is dangerous for people suffering from or who have suffered from kidney stones.

    • Seafood- Seafoods high on purine such as herrings, sardines, tuna should be avoided. Uric stones are formed due to excess consumption of such seafood and protein rich foods.

    • Controlled protein intake- Foods which contain animal protein such as meat, poultry, eggs, fish etc. increase acid content in urine reducing possibility of stone formation.

  12. Are there any fruits and vegetables that can cause kidney stones and need to be avoided?

    Spinach is a green vegetable high on oxalate content. The oxalate in spinach combines with calcium in your urine and is capable to form calcium oxalate stone, which is a type of kidney stone. Tomatoes are another oxalate rich ingredients used in everyday cooked food or dal. Its use should be restricted. Guava, beetroot and sweet potatoes are few fruits high on oxalate and so need to be avoided.

  13. Can beer help one in getting rid of kidney stones?

    No. It is a myth that beer consumption can make you get rid of kidney stones. On the contrary, beer promotes formation of kidney stones by increasing your calcium levels in urine. Drinking beer over long periods of time can not only give you kidney stones, but also heartburn.

  14. Which body parts experience pain in event of a kidney stone?

    Urologists and medical experts emphasize that kidney stone is an extremely painful disease; only second to child birth. The person feels severe pain in parts like flank, testis, loins and of course kidney in frequent bouts.

  15. How to dissolve kidney stones naturally?

    Kidney is a key organ in the human body to keep it free from toxins. The kidneys dysfunction when kidney disorders like kidney stones strike. Here are few natural remedies for reducing discomfort with organic means:

    • Pomegranate Juice- Pomegranate seeds and juice contain astringent properties and so are extremely good for people suffering from kidney stones.

    • Basil Tea- Kidney stone effects can be alleviated by consuming basil juice and honey for six months. Basil tea is also a very good option for the same.

    • Lemon juice and olive oil concoction- A combination of olive oil and lemon juice in equal quantities consumed twice a day is said to eliminate stones easily in few days.

    • Watermelon- The high water content in watermelon is beneficial and helps in keeping people hydrated. It also facilitates passing urine and thus, proper excretion of toxins from the body happens smoothly.

    • Vitamin B6 rich foods- Vitamin B6 is a vitamin necessary for the body to maintain proper metabolism. Pistachio nuts, tuna fish, dry fruits, avocados and bananas are few sources of foods rich in vitamin B.

    • Grapes- Grapes are diuretics and have potassium salts and are extremely instrumental in eliminating kidney disorders and stones.

    • Magnesium supplements- Magnesium supplements are known to reduce recurrence of kidney stones. Ideally, 300mgs of magnesium taken daily can reduce occurrence of kidney stones.

  16. What is the cost of kidney stone treatment in India?

    Costs of treatments required for kidney stones in India will depend on the severity of your ailment. Additionally, the city of your residence, diagnostic centers, hospital and equipment's used by these health care entities will form the base for cost involved. You can get more information about kidney stone treatment cost in India.