Urologist Ignas Lukošius, a doctor at the Department of Urology of the Republic of Vilnius University Hospital (RVUL), told the news portal tv3.lt about the symptoms of kidney stones and what to pay attention to in order to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Symptoms of kidney stones
Kidney stones are metabolic disorders in which, with a high concentration of acids and minerals in the urine, deposits of these elements form crystals that can become stones in the kidneys, urinary tract, or bladder.
“When consuming products with a lot of mineral salts, or when urine is retained, the salt begins to accumulate and crystallize, gradually turning into stones. The formation of stones in the urine depends on the acidity of the urine medium, in other words, the pH value of the urine, which is 5.5-7, 8 in healthy people.
Calcium oxalate stones, which make up the majority of all stones, tend to form in a neutral urine medium, uric acid or uric acid stones in an acidic medium, and phosphates are formed in an alkaline urine medium,” commented I. Lukošius.
According to urologists, the main symptom of kidney stones is a sudden pain in the side, in the back area of the hip, which can extend to the groin and spread to the genitals.
“Stone disease can also be indicated by the desire to urinate more often or blood in the urine from the lining of the urinary tract when it is scratched by a stone moving through the ureter,” added the specialist.
He points out that small stones in the kidney may not cause any unpleasant sensations, so people often do not suspect that they have them. However, the formation of larger stones is manifested by the severe pain characteristic of this condition.
Kidney stones with a diameter of up to 4-6 millimeters can pass on their own with urine. However, if a larger stone begins to descend in the urinary tract, which can become blocked, the pain is very severe,” said the interviewer.
Factors that determine the formation of kidney stones
According to I. Lukošius, sstatistical data show that kidney stones are the most common in the developed countries of the world, for example, more than 10 percent of people with kidney stones in the United States have kidney stones, while in Lithuania this number is about 5 percent. According to specialists, kidney stones are more often diagnosed in men, but more cases of this disease are observed among women.
“Stone disease is more common in the age of 30-50 years. people belonging to any age group, but the disease can develop in women and even children. Over the past decade, there has been a trend towards an increase in the number of kidney stones, especially in women.
For example, extra calcium intake during pregnancy can cause stones to form quickly, even though they usually take years to grow.“, he said.
According to urologists, kidney stones are caused by metabolic disorders caused by obesity, diabetes, and chronic diseases of the digestive tract. mekidney stones also may be formed due to congenital diseases, for example, narrowing of the ureter, which prevents urine from flowing normally and leaving the body.
However, according to experts, fluid intake and insufficient nutritional characteristics have the greatest influence on the formation and growth of stones.
Diagnosis of the disease
Kidney stones, even those that cause no symptoms, can be seen by ultrasound or X-ray examination. According to urologists, the chemical composition of the stone can be determined by special laboratory tests and the cause of stone formation can be found.
“For this, you must have your own stones – removed during surgical intervention or if you manage to “catch” while urinating. Therefore, stones formed in the kidney usually have to be treated indirectly, after a complex evaluation of the results of all tests, obtained by testing blood, urine daily and the concentration of substances inside, evaluating X-ray images or computer tomography.“, said the specialist.
I. Lukošius showed that after tasting the first one symptoms of kidney stones – swimming on the side or in the waist, pain during urination – you should consult your family doctor.
“He will evaluate the seriousness of the situation and, if necessary, contact a specialist for consultation. However, if blood appears in the urine, the person has nausea, vomiting, fever, they should seek medical help immediately.“, said the specialist.
Serious complications are at risk
Urologists warn that the signs of this insidious disease should not be ignored, because in time Untreated kidney stones can lead to various complications.
“Aif the trunk blocks the ureter, kidney function can be impaired, infection can develop, and there is even a risk of sepsis. Sometimes kidney stones grow so large that the kidney atrophies – in this case, when removing the stone, the damaged organ must also be removed.“, I. Lukošius revealed.
According to urologists, after visiting the doctor and doing the necessary tests, it becomes clear small kidney stones, the patient is given medicine, plenty of fluids, warm bath. However, when larger cases are detected and there is a small probability will disappear on its own and require surgery.
“MThanks to medical advances, this is now done minimally invasively, rather than through open surgery, as was done twenty years ago. Usually, ureterorenoscopy is performed, where the stone is extracted through the natural urinary tract, if necessary, after breaking it with a laser, or nephrolithotripsy, when a special instrument called a nephroscope is inserted into the kidney after piercing the skin, the broken stone rises up with ultrasound or laser and fragments that taken.
The postoperative period after minimally invasive surgery, when the patient returns to a normal rhythm of life, depends on the chosen treatment method and the size of the kidney stones. If a small stone is removed, the patient can live a full life after about a week.
Removing large stones is sometimes divided into several stages and can take a month or longer. In any case, using modern treatment methods, the postoperative period is easier, the possibility of complications is significantly reduced, and the time spent in the hospital is shortened.“, the interviewer pointed out.
How to reduce the risk of kidney stones?
I. Lukošius stated that the risk of kidney stone formation is possible reduce it by adjusting the diet – eat less protein and don’t forget fluids.
“You should drink at least 1.5-2 liters of fluid per day: can be carbonated or still water, tea, soup, etc. For people who are overweight, exercise or sweat a lot, it is recommended to drink more fluids.
However, sugary drinks should be avoided as excess sugar causes uric acid to build up, thus leading to stone formation. The body must get enough water every day, because if there is a lack of fluid, the urine becomes more concentrated, and the ideal environment for the formation of stones is created,” he said.
According to urologists, nThe type of kidney stone that has been diagnosed also depends on the consumption of certain foods or restrictions that: “Mrgenerally, after the diagnosis of gout, it is recommended to consume less salt, animal protein.
If you are at risk of calcium oxalate stones, you should avoid fresh fruits, nuts, wheat bran, tea, coffee, and especially rhubarb, spinach, beet leaves, broccoli, green beans, soy, chocolate, dried fruits and can. Attacks of stone disease can also be triggered by high doses of vitamin C, because ascorbic acid is also converted into oxalate.“
Regarding the prevention of kidney stones, I. Lukošius said that he first wanted to encourage it timely treatment of inflammatory diseases of the bladder and kidneys, urinary tract infections, reducing excess weight, controlling diabetes and other chronic diseases that cause metabolic disorders. According to urologists, physical activity is also beneficial.
“However, these activities do not cause a lot of sweating, and after intense exercise, it is necessary to restore the fluid lost by sweating,” said the urologist.
According to I. Lukošiaus, it is important to know that everyone else with stone disease can relapse, so he calls for a responsible health assessment: “Even if the stone is removed, you must follow the preventive recommendations. and continue to avoid risk factors.”