About 10% of the western world population, will suffer, throughout their lives, from kidney stones, a problem which becomes increasingly common in the last few decades. The majority of the patients suffering from this condition are men, even though during the last years, the commonality of the problem increases in women as well, and approaching that which exists in men.
What are the factors for kidney stones?
There is a large number of risk factors for the creation of kidney stones, including: family history of kidney stones, decreased intake of fluid, metabolical syndrome (overweight, diabetes and hypertension), hormonal problems causing an increase in the blood and urine calcium levels and infectious colon diseases.
The classic complaints of patients suffering from kidney stones are waist pain, radiating to the crotch, frequency and urgency of urinating and sometimes also blood in the urine.
It is common to divide the stones, according to their composition, to a few groups - calcium stones, uric acid stones, infection stones and cystinuria. Calcium stones are the most common and they consist about 80% of all stones.
How to treat kidney stones?
There are a few options to treat kidney stones and the decision about the treatment derives from the clinical signs, the size of the stones and their location:
- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy - this method uses a device attached to the patient’s body, standing shock waves directed to the stone. These shock waves should break the stone in tiny pieces which spontaneously go out through the urinal tracts.
- Uretroscopy - This is an endoscopic approach for the removal of kidney stones, during which an optical device is inserted through the urethra and reaches the stone in the ureter or the kidney. The stone is broken using a laser beam and its crumbs are extracted. This method has great chances of success in the complete removal of the stones.
- PCNL - this is a minimally invasive surgery which enables the removal of large stones (over 2 cm) from the kidney through a 1 cm incision in your waist. During the surgery, we open a way from the waist to the kidney, which enables the insertion of advanced devices to break the stones and evacuate them from the kidney.
It should be mentioned that about half the patients suffering from kidney stones, are expected to suffer from such a condition again within 5-10 years. Therefore, we consider it of upmost importance to follow patients with kidney stones, and treat the risk factors for the situation’s recurrence. In the urology unit in the Kaplan Medical Center we carry out a metabolic questioning for patients with high risk of recurrence. This includes testing the composition of the removed stone, and also blood and urine collection for 24 Horus in order to locate the treatable risk factors.
The preventive care may include changes in diet or medication in accordance with the findings