A kidney stone is a solid mass composed of tiny crystals. These are formed when there is an excessive quantity of a certain mineral in the body while at the same time there is a lack of liquid to dissolve these minerals. These pebble-like objects are not actually stones but the pain caused is very intense and one might feel as if they are actually stones. These substances are yellow or brown in colour and are often smooth though they could be rough too. The most common types of kidney stones are calcium stones or uric acid stones.
Kidney stones can be the size of sand, gravel or the size of a pearl or even larger and is often very painful since it blocks the flow of urine. In many cases, the stone may travel through the urinary tract and come out but in many cases, small non-invasive surgeries may be required. While kidney stones are fairly common and can occur in both genders and people of all ages, it is vital to understand the causes of it, the symptoms to detect a stone, treatment and most important precautions to take after the kidney stone operation since, the stones have a tendency to reoccur if proper precautions are not taken.
Kidney stones are caused when there is a high level of certain minerals in the urine. These minerals generally include calcium, oxalate, and urine acid. When the concentration of these minerals in the body increases and there is a lack of fluids to dissolve the minerals, these turn and form into stones causing extreme pain and a lot of urine problems. Apart from this, some factors such as diet, extreme diarrhoea, obesity, family history or certain medications – can also cause stone formation. In many cases, people do not even realize the presence of stone in the body if they are really small – almost the size of a salt grain. Most people might not experience any symptoms of a kidney stone until the stone starts to stir and move around in the kidney or into the ureter.
That said, some of the common kidney stone symptoms include:
- Intense pain on the side or below the ribs
- Extreme pain in the groin and lower abdomen
- Pain while peeing and increased frequency of pee
- Pink, brown, red or cloudy pee
- Nausea with stomach pain
The only effective way to avoid kidney stones is to evade the build-up of minerals by consuming a lot of water and fluids every day, as well as following a healthy and regulated diet with restricted sodium, exclusion of certain vegetables such as spinach. One should drink at least 8 glasses of water each day to meet the daily water requirements of the body. In many cases, kidney stones pass automatically and do not cause any problems. However, it depends on what the size and the symptoms of the problem are. That said, this is not a guaranteed method to get rid of kidney stones, the doctor might suggest certain medications and in extreme cases, might even suggest surgery. In cases, where a kidney stone operation is undertaken, it could either be:
Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL): Where high-energy sound waves are aimed to break down small or medium size stones into tiny pieces that can be released while urinating.
Ureteroscopy: In this method, a thin, flexible tube is inserted through the urethra, bladder, and ureter to reach the stone and extract it. In cases of a larger stone, a laser is passed to break it.
Open surgery: When the non-invasive methods fail and the stone is large in size, the doctor might person an open surgery to remove the stone by cutting through the side to take the stone out while you are sedated.
No matter the form of procedure, there is a need to take extreme precautions post the kidney operation to ensure you are healthy, recovering well and there is no recurrence of the stones. Some of the procedures one must take include:
- Do not drive back after the operation. Instead, ask someone to pick you up and take home from the hospital
- Take enough rest and avoid any physical activity at least for 2-3 days. Even after this duration, if you do not feel energetic enough to take on normal routine activities, take some more rest
- Drink a lot of water after the procedure an in the weeks to follow after the operation. Overall, maintain the quantity of 8 glasses of water each day
- Take all medications as suggested by the doctor even if you tend to feel fine. Completing the full course is essential
- Occasionally strain your urine to check for any stones. In case, there are any stones, get it checked via your doctor
- East less salt
- Reduce foods that are high in calcium
- Drink fluids such as lemonades (without sugar), eat lemons and oranges
- Do not consume a lot of protein, eat lean meats instead
- Opt for a low-fat diet
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid calcium supplements for some time and seek advice on when to restart the doses
- Avoid high doses of Vitamin C supplements
- Visit the doctor on all appointments as suggested
Further, one must consult the doctor about any precautions to follow post the kidney stone operation. Precautions might also vary condition on condition and proper consultation is very critical. However, in the general scenarios, one must carefully follow these rules to recover well after a kidney stone operation.