Do you feel pain along your belly or lower back? Has it been challenging to go to the bathroom? There may be a chance that you have kidney stones. They can result from several things and can vary in size. Fortunately, a doctor known as a nephrologist can recommend treatments based on the kind of kidney stone you have.
What Are The Different Types of Kidney Stones?
Calcium stones are the most prevalent type of kidney stones. They can form when you have hypercalciuria, a condition where you have too much calcium in the urine.
You can also get them when your kidneys absorb too much calcium from bones. Your kidneys may be unable to regulate the amount of calcium in your urine. Additionally, calcium in your kidneys can form stones with other substances. An example is oxalates, which are present in spinach and nuts.
Cystine stones come from a chemical known as cystine, which results from a condition called cystinuria. It can create stones larger than most other kidney stone types and can be hereditary. While rare, it is commonly present among adults under 40.
Struvite stones form from a combination of ammonium, calcium carbonate, phosphate, and magnesium. This mixture can result from bacteria that produce ammonia. The ammonia these bacteria produce increases urine pH level, leading to the formation of struvite. Struvite stones can quickly grow without warning.
Uric Acid Stones
Uric acid stones form when you have high levels of uric acid. It is a waste product created in your blood when your body breaks down chemicals called purines.
Uric acid dissolves in your blood and leaves your body through urine. However, not drinking enough water and eating foods high in salt and sugar may lead to uric acid stones. Chemotherapy, gout, type 2 diabetes, and obesity contribute to it, too.
How Are Kidney Stones Treated?
Different treatments can help you, depending on the type of kidney stone:
Your doctor may prescribe medication if you don’t need invasive treatment. You may need medication that lowers and dissolves uric acid if you have uric acid stones. Alternatively, you may need antibiotics if you have struvite stones.
Medicine that alkalizes your urine can treat cystine stones. Other medications can make the ureter relax, allowing stones to pass on their own easily.
Surgery becomes an option when a stone is too large, could cause infection or kidney damage, or prevent urination.
Lithotripsy is a non-invasive procedure where ultrasonic energy is directed at kidney stones to break them apart. Your doctor will begin by locating the stone using fluoroscopy or ultrasound.
Fluoroscopy is where a continuous X-ray beam passes through the body. It creates a “movie” and scans your body in real time. This treatment option can be used for all kidney stones but more commonly for uric acid and cystine stones.
Providers commonly recommend this treatment when kidney stones remain in the ureters, the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder.
The doctor will use a small instrument called a ureteroscope for this procedure. It is a long, slender tube with an eyepiece on one end and a lens and light on the other.
There are two ways to perform ureteroscopy. One is to use a ureteroscope with a small basket that can retrieve the kidney stone. Providers use it for rocks small enough to not need breaking but too large to pass on their own.
The second way is to use a ureteroscope that has a laser. Your doctor will use the laser to break the stone apart if it is too large to retrieve with the basket.
Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
PCNL involves surgically making a small cut in your back before removing the kidney stone. Your provider will insert a tube and a small telescope through the incision. They will use it to locate the kidney stone and then break it apart before retrieving it.
This surgery takes around three to four hours. Doctors often perform it when ureteroscopy or lithotripsy fails to address the condition.
Skilled Nephrologists In Dorchester, MA
Are you worried about kidney stones? Here at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates, we provide expert diagnosis and treatment. We also give ample support in preventing future reoccurrences of kidney stones.
Visit one of our offices in Norfolk, Natick, South Weymouth, and Framingham, Massachusetts. You can also call us at (617) 739-2100 to learn about our comprehensive services. Additionally, you book an appointment online through our secure appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!