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Kidney Stones – Preventive Measures and Treatment Options

Kidney stones are deposits of minerals and salts that form in one or both kidneys. Small stones can pass through urine by traveling from the kidneys to the bladder, while larger ones may need appropriate kidney stone treatment. 

Based on studies published in the National Library of Medicine, about 8 cases per 1000 are seen in adults and about 50 per 100,000 in teenagers. However, kidney stones treatment and prevention are possible in both cases. 

Kidney Stones Treatment

  • An ultrasound is done to get the initial reports for evaluating the cases with suspected kidney stones. Diagnostic tests– Urinalysis, urine culture is conducted to know the composition of the kidney stones.
  • Pain control and expulsive medical therapy are some suggested conservative approaches.
  • Asymptomatic kidney stones may need surgical removal in cases of growth, urinary obstruction, symptoms, and recurring infections. The timing of the surgery depends on many factors like age, medical history, recurrence pattern, etc.
  • Medications like thiazide diuretics and citrates are prescribed to prevent the reformation of stones.
  • Those with a high risk of stone recurrence may get a metabolic assessment, and based on the results, tailored treatment, and the preventive program can be designed.
  • Modifications of lifestyle like increased fluid intake and weight reduction are recommended to all patients with kidney stones.
  • Patients with kidney stones must be screened regularly for the risk of stone recurrence.  Based on these results, the best course of treatment can be drawn out. 

Kidney Stones Prevention:

Diet modification is the best form of prevention of kidney stones. Diet including more than one gram of calcium intake could reduce the risk of kidney stone formation. Low sodium and protein diet is recommended to avoid the prevention of kidney stones.

  • Moderate salt intake through diet can help in controlling calcium excretion called Calciuria and prevent primary and secondary nephrolithiasis.
  • Lower than normal protein intake decreases Calciuria and thus would be helpful in stone prevention and in preserving bone mass.
  • Though some say that bran and Omega-3 fatty acids of different origins decrease Calciuria, their impact on the urinary stone risk profile has not been proven. Increased intake of fruit and vegetables (apart from the ones with high oxalate content) causes an increase in citrate excretion and protects you from the risk of stone formation. Citrus like lemons, grapefruit, oranges, and lime; non-citrus fruits like melon contain natural dietary citrate. Numerous studies support the potential of these fruits or their juices for raising urine citrate levels.
  • A restricted protein intake approach may reduce the chances of oxalate excretion, but a vegetarian diet may lead to increased urinary oxalate. 
  • Whatever the cause of the stone disease, a forced increase in fluid intake approach is the best way to achieve a daily urine output of 2 litres.

The selection of kidney stones treatment and suggestive preventive behaviours to avoid kidney stones depends on the composition of the stones found in the body and the diet to be adopted. There is no one treatment– depending on the nature of kidney stone formation and its recurrence, physicians can suggest the best course of action for kidney stones treatment.  

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