Kidney stones, also known as nephrolithiasis or kidney stones, are small clumps made up of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract. These stones can cause significant discomfort and affect kidney function. They usually form when there is an imbalance in the substances that make up urine. The main reasons include:
- Lack of hydration: A lack of water can lead to the concentration of substances in the urine, making it easier for stones to form.
- Diet rich in salts and proteins: Excessive consumption of sodium, calcium, and protein, especially red meat, can contribute to stone formation.
- DNA: Some people have a genetic predisposition to developing kidney stones.
- Recurrent urinary tract infections: Infection can promote stone formation.
- Other medical conditions: Diseases such as gout or other metabolic disorders can increase the risk of developing stones.
Symptoms of kidney stones can vary, but often include:
- Sharp pain: Severe pain in the lower back or side, which may extend to the abdomen or thigh.
- Bloody urine: The presence of blood in the urine.
- Vomiting and nausea: It is often accompanied by severe pain.
- Painful urination: Feeling pain or discomfort when urinating.
For existing kidney stones, treatment can vary from observation to medical or surgical procedures, depending on the size and location of the stone. Some options include:
- Shock wave therapy: Shock waves divide calculations into smaller parts.
- Ureteroscopy: A thin tube is inserted into the urethra to remove or break up the stones.
- surgery: In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the stones.
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