Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Kidney Diseases

How do you treat kidney stones?

08/18/2008

Question:

I have a kidney stone and this information helped. How do you treat kidney stones?

Answer:

From the article Kidney Stones:

Kidney stones often pass without any kind of medical assistance, but when they get stuck in the ureter, they cause pain and may disrupt normal kidney function. Common treatments for kidney stones include:

Increase Fluids - The most common treatment prescribed for a kidney stone sufferer is large amounts of water and other fluids (but not iced tea, which contains oxalate, a common component of stones!). Because a person with a kidney stone is often nauseated due to the severe pain, it is sometimes necessary to give the fluids by IV rather than by mouth. In either case, the fluids cause a large increase in urine formation and flow, and the rush of urine through the ureter often expands the ureter and pushes the stone through into the bladder.

Pain medications - pain meds (even narcotics such as morphine) are often given to relieve pain while the patient is waiting to pass the stone. In addition there are other medications that may be given to relax the ureter, relieving spasm of the muscles of the ureter and allowing the stone to pass more easily.

If simple treatments do not work, it may be necessary for one of the following procedures to be used to either surgically remove the stone or to break it up into small fragments that can be passed in the urine.

Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy - Shock waves generated in water (like very tiny tidal waves) can be very precisely directed into the abdomen to break up the stone into smaller particles that can be easily passed in the urine. Depending on the form of shock wave machine used, the patient either sits in a tub of water or lies flat on a table. Because this procedure is painful (with up to hundreds of shock waves being focused on the kidney in a single session) it is performed under general anesthesia. Following the procedure, there is often pain as the patient passes the many tiny stone fragments into which the large stone has been shattered.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy - Also known as tunnel surgery, this method makes use of a tunnel-like surgical device that is inserted into a small hole in the patient's back and positioned on the kidney. An instrument is manipulated through the tunnel, with which the doctor can find the stone and remove it.

Ureteroscopy - When the stone is located in the ureter, this device, which looks like a wire, is inserted into the patient's urethra and threaded through the bladder and up the ureter to where the stone is lodged. The scope has a camera attached to it, so that the physician can see the stone. The kidney stone is either caught in a cage device and extracted from the ureter, or broken up by ultrasound waves into tiny fragments that can then travel down to the bladder and be passed.

For more information:

Go to the Kidney Diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

NetWellness Staff
NetWellness.org