Kidney stones refer to a condition wherein there are deposits of minerals in your kidneys, that often lead to the formation of a stone that cannot easily be passed out.
This accumulation of minerals leads to severe pain, and in intense cases requires medical intervention. Once diagnosed with kidney stones, the course of your treatment will depend on the size of the stone.
How Can You Treat Kidney Stones?
If it is small, then the level of medical intervention might not be very high, but in case the stone is bigger, then complex procedures might need to be involved. Here are a few available treatments for kidney stones that you can consider in order to remove them from your body.
- Drinking plenty of water
If the size of your kidney stone is not too big, then your doctor may recommend that you pass it through your urine by drinking plenty of water. Keeping yourself well-hydrated can prevent the accumulation of any more minerals, and by drinking an adequate amount of water, you may be able to soften and break down the kidney stone, thereby passing it out of your kidney through micturition.
- Medical therapy
This is another form of treatment that is commonly prescribed to people with a small kidney stone that can be passed out of the body. In this procedure, the doctor will administer a type of medication through the muscle of the ureter relaxes, thereby making it easier to pass the kidney stone through urine. These medications are also known as alpha-blockers, and they help in making the process of passing out a kidney stone a lot less painful.
- Sound waves
If the size of your kidney stone is too large to be passed through urine or is located in a complicated position, then you may be recommended to undergo the procedure known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.
In this process, sound waves are commonly used to fragment kidney stones, so that they may be easily passed out through your urine. This procedure leads to moderately intense pain, so the patients undergoing it are most often sedated. It can also lead to bleeding and discomfort in your excretory system as and when the kidney stones are passed out of your system.
A treatment procedure known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy is prescribed to patients who have an extremely large kidney stone, and whose kidney stones failed to pass out through the use of sound waves.
In this treatment process, a small telescope and certain other instruments are inserted through the back and the kidney stone is then surgically removed from the body. Patients are almost always given anesthesia in this case, and recovering from this process can take at least two to three days.
If the size of your kidney stone is not too big, but still not small enough to be passed out without any procedure, then your doctor may make use of a ureteroscope, which is essentially a thin tube that is equipped with a camera on one end.
This tube will then be passed into your ureter through the bladder and the urethra. After the stone has been traced with the help of this device, it will be broken into smaller pieces so that it can be passed out of your urine.
Since this procedure may lead to some swelling in your ureter, a stent may be placed then in order to quicken the process of recovery. This process also most often requires some form of anesthesia.
- Laser lithotripsy
Much like the sound wave procedure, this type of treatment is also aimed at breaking down the kidney stone into smaller pieces so that it can be passed out during urination.
In this process, a laser beam is used, so that the heat emitting from it can cause the kidney stone to crumble and in turn break it into smaller fragments to be passed out from the body.
With more research going into the medical field, newer treatments for kidney stones have emerged, which effectively remove the stone with the help of less-invasive procedures.
These treatments have to be signed off on by your doctor first, so use the above-mentioned methods just to lay out your options, and go through them only after careful consultation with your doctor.
You may also take pre-emptive measures to prevent kidney stones in the first place by drinking lots of fluids and avoiding foods rich in oxalate.