Understanding The Types Of Kidney Stones And Their Treatment

2009-07-15 | |
Last updated: 2015-02-16

One of the most painful disorders and most common of the urinary system, kidney stones, have plagued humankind since ancient times and were mentioned in the writings of ancient Persia, China, India and Greece to name but a few civilizations. The common existence of kidney stones even resulted in some of the earliest surgical procedures and a mention in the ancient Hippocratic oath from 400 BC that is now a part of the tradition of modern doctors when swearing to perform their duties ethically. While we have advanced in many areas of medicine, our understanding of this condition is not nearly as refined as it might be, though effective treatment options do exist.

How Often Do People Experience Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones will affect about 1 in 8 adults over the age of 20 with 3 out of 4 being male. The stones form in the kidneys and will vary in size dramatically ranging from something no bigger than the head of a pin to some rather extreme examples the size of a golf ball or even approaching the size of a large grapefruit.

Their formation is like high school chemistry experiments in which salt or sugar crystals were grown in a concentrated solution. The crystals grow because the chemistry in the kidney is, for some reason, abnormal and the chemicals can no longer stay dissolved along with the body’s other waste products in the water contained within the kidney.

Of these stones or crystals, many of the very small ones can be passed without us even knowing they were there or at most causing discomfort and a bit of burning sensation on their passage. However, in the less minor cases, the presence of stones may require the sufferer to use very strong pain medication in order to tolerate the passage of the stone or may even require some form of surgery to remove the stone. Surgery will be used when the stone is too large to pass on its own or when stone has become lodged within the tubing that leads from the kidneys to the bladder and out of the body.

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Category: Disease Information, Disease Prevention, Health Risks, Medical Treatment

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