The final blow to kidney stones

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Kidney stones causes

The causes of kidney stones are often unknown. Certain diets can cause stones to form in susceptible people, however, it is not scientifically believed that consumption of specific foods by susceptible people causes kidney stones to form.

A person who has family members with kidney stones is more likely to be more exposed to their appearance. Certain metabolic disorders such as hyperparathyroidism, urinary infections, kidney disorders and their cystic diseases are also associated with stone formation. Also, more than 70 percent of people with a rare inherited disease called renal tubular acidosis are more exposed to kidney stone formation.

Other causes of kidney stones can be: excessive consumption of vitamin D; urinary infections as well as blockage of the urinary tract. Some calcium-based diuretics and antacids can increase the risk of kidney stones by increasing the amount of calcium in the urine.

Kidney stones can also form in people who have a chronic intestinal infection or who have had intestinal bypass surgery. Also, even when the urine contains excessive amounts of certain substances. These substances can form small crystals that turn into stones. Kidney stones may not show symptoms until they start moving down the tubes that carry urine to the bladder. When this happens, stones can block the flow of urine from the kidney. This causes swelling of the kidneys, causing severe pain.

Kidney stones appear more often in men. Their existence increases more when men enter their 40s and continues until their 70s.

In women, the appearance of kidney stones is more common when they enter their 50s. When a person develops a kidney stone, the possibility of developing other stones increases.

Fluids, the most important element for patients with kidney stones

In order to produce a urine volume of at least 2 liters per day, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids. During periods of continuous sweating or physical exercise, a daily amount of 3 or more liters of fluid (over 12 glasses) is recommended. It is important that the amount of fluids is distributed as evenly as possible over the course of 24 hours. Almost all liquids are recommended to drink, but bicarbonates and mineral water rich in calcium are especially recommended. On the other hand, the formation of kidney stones is encouraged by large amounts of black tea or other teas as well as carbonated soft drinks.

What is the fastest way to dissolve a kidney stone?

A significant proportion of stones, especially those smaller than 0.5 cm in diameter, fall spontaneously. The treatment plan varies depending on the location of the stones (kidney, urinary tract, bladder), their number and diameter. While the application of surgical interventions with large incisions has been very widespread until recently, thanks to technological development, in addition to the application of the stone breaking method, closed operations with minimal, almost invisible incisions began to be applied: nephrolithotomy percutaneous. This type of very favorable intervention for the patient, applied in Albania, not only saves the patient from painful stone pain, but it does so under very comfortable conditions, minimizing the time of hospitalization and return to daily activities.

Percutaneous Stone Surgery

Before the introduction of modern methods of urological surgery, the only way to eliminate kidney stones was long traumatic operations with incisions over 10 cm. Not only the size of the wound, but also the long time of hospitalization and recovery caused these patients to avoid intervention, often to the point of total kidney failure. Thanks to percutaneous nephrolithotomy; minimally invasive surgery, only 1 percent of kidney stones are operated with the old method. In most cases, stones that cannot be removed by the breaking method or that are of a size that does not allow exit through the ureter are removed from the kidney with the most advanced method of endoscopic surgery: percutaneous nephrolithotomy.

Percutaneous operation of kidney stones

In nephrolithotomy or percutaneous nephrolithotripsy, the surgeon makes a small incision in the back through which a catheter is inserted into the kidney, where the stone is located. Further, through a probe that enters the same catheter, the surgeon is able to see with the naked eye the size and placement of the stone and pull it out of the kidney, right along this single catheter. If the stone is larger than the catheter, then it is first broken up inside the kidney and then aspirated by the probe. According to the choice of the patient and the anesthesiologist, the procedure is performed under general, local or spinal anesthesia.

To which patients is this procedure applied?

This procedure can be used to treat kidney stones that have the following characteristics:

• They are larger than 2 cm in diameter.

• They are large and caused by an infection (staghorn calculi).

• They block the exit of urine outside the kidney.

• Cannot be broken by external pressure wave lithotripsy (ESWL).

• Stones that form in the lower part of the junction of the kidney with the urinary canal (calyx), due to the anatomical location and gravity, can be treated through percutaneous surgery even when they are smaller than 2 cm.

Foods that are recommended for patients with kidney stones

Vegetables and fruits increase the urinary excretion of stones. Consumption of foods with high oxalate content (spinach, beets, nuts) should be minimal or combined with other foods that have large amounts of calcium (eg, spinach with cheese), which prevents the absorption of large amounts of oxalate by the intestines, which would lead to increased urinary secretion.

An excessive amount of protein consumption from meat and fish increases the risk of kidney stones, so the consumption of these foods should be reduced. Also, it is recommended to consume a reduced amount of salt, since the sodium found in common salt can increase the risk of kidney stone formation. On the other hand, a total reduction in salt leads to a decrease in urinary volume. Thus, consuming a controlled amount of salt is recommended.

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