Kidney Stones are solid pieces of material that form in the kidney out of substances in the urine. They may stay in the kidney, or break loose and travel down the urinary tract. Small stones may pass out of the body without causing much pain. However, larger stones may get stuck in the urinary tube (or ureter), the bladder, or the urethra (a tube from the bladder to discharge urine from the body). When that happens, the urine flow is blocked, causing great pain.
Key forms of treatment today for problem stones are:
- Medical Treatment – drinking a lot of water plus a lot of physical activity. Sometimes, medications are also prescribed.
- Surgery – removal of one or more stones by surgery.
- Shock Waves – shock waves created outside the body travel through the skin and tissues until they hit the denser (thicker) stones. The stones break down into sand-like particles and are passed through the urinary tract in the urine.
- Tunnel Surgery – a narrow tunnel is cut in the back for the stone to pass through).
- Ureteroscope – a wire is inserted in the urethra, using a camera, to catch the stone.
To help preventing more stones:
- Drink a lot of water. In fact, if possible, drink 12 glasses a day.
- Although ginger ale, lemon-lime sodas and fruit juices are alright, water is best.
- Follow medical advice if change in food choices is recommended.
- Take prescribed medications to prevent or decrease stone formation.