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Nephrolithiasis is the medical terminology for the process of formation of kidney stones. It is also connoted as renal lithiasis. The condition is common, wherein the stones of varying shapes and sizes get deposited inside your kidneys or in your ureter or bladder.


Symptoms of nephrolithiasis

If the stone is lying in your kidneys, then you may not experience any symptoms. Problem occurs when it tries to move in the ureter.

The symptoms include: 

  • Pain in side of your abdomen i.e. where the kidneys are located
  • Renal colic characterized by severe pain in lower abdomen, groin along with sweating, nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in urine or pink and brown coloured urine having foul odour
  • Frequent urge to urinate and pain while urinating


Causes of Nephrolithiasis

Kidney stones are crystalline deposits of different kind of mineral and compounds like calcium oxalate, uric acid and amino acids like cystine. Nephrolithiasis occur when the stones crystallize in the urine containing supersaturated form of these salts and chemicals due to the following reasons: 

  • Reduced intake of water on daily basis
  • Eating a diet too high in protein and high-sodium diet
  • Consuming excess of oxalate rich foods
  • Overdose of vitamin D and calcium supplements


Who are at risk of nephrolithiasis
  • More common in men above 40
  • Family history of kidney stones
  • Obesity
  • Medical condition like uric acid, gout, UTI, hyperparathyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhoea, etc.
  • Inherited condition of cystinuria


When to see a doctor?

Visit your doctor on experiencing any of those aforementioned symptoms.


Diagnosis of nephrolithiasis

Your doctor will check the pain by manually touching in and around your abdomen and evaluate the symptoms. You will be asked several questions related to your medical history, intake of medicines and supplements, diet and lifestyle.

Following this, X rays, ultrasonography and CT scan would be performed to detect the nephrolithiasis. Additionally, you might also need to undergo blood tests and urine tests to determine the mineral load and to check the condition of your kidneys.


Treatment of kidney stones

The treatment suggested by your doctor depends on the type and size of stone. Small stones can be managed easily. For this, you will be prescribed some medicines like muscle relaxants that will ease its passage outside your body while urinating. Along with it, you need to drink lots of water to enhance the flushing process. Pain relief medicines would be given to reduce abdominal pain.

The next non invasive treatment is shock wave lithotripsy, wherein sound or pressure waves are passed on your body to break the stones which then naturally get eliminated from your body with urine.

Invasive techniques like kidney stone surgery might be done for very large and complicated stones.


Home remedies and prevention of nephrolithiasis  

  • Your doctor will customize a diet depending upon the nature of stone and your medical condition which you must follow
  • Drink lots of water to protect yourself naturally against nephrolithiasis

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: june 19, 2014

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