The prevalence of kidney stones has doubled in the last 40 years, from just 3.8 percent to 8.8 percent. Now, 19 percent of men and 9 percent of women will have a kidney stone in their lifetimes. As the numbers of diagnoses increase, so do non-invasive treatments. Let’s take a look.
1. Drinking lots of water
Have you already confirmed that you have a small kidney stone? Smaller stones will often pass through your urinary tract on their own with the help of lots of water and some pain medicine.
Even a small stone causes pain and often, bleeding, as it passes. It is, after all, the consistency of a tiny pebble. The pain medication reduces the discomfort, so a smaller stone passes safely.
Dr. Lesani recommends that you drink 3 liters of water per day until the stone passes, but you need to confirm the size of the stone before attempting this method. That’s why it’ s essential that you see your doctor first.
2. Getting a formal diagnosis
It started with some symptoms, a pain in your lower back that felt much deeper, and more intense, than any muscle pain. That pain may have moved to your lower belly. In the final stages, your body uses all the water it has to try to flush the stone out, causing:
- Excessive urination
- Pain when urinating
- Pink- or brown-hued urine
You might also experience dehydration, especially out in this desert heat, and if your body is really struggling to rid itself of the stone, you’ll have:
These symptoms could have various causes, and you have no way of knowing how large that stone is, although you might be able to guess based on the pain level.
Always fall on the side of caution by getting a formal diagnosis. In most cases, Dr. Lesani will be able to see a kidney stone on an ultrasound machine and determine the best and safest solution for you.
3. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy
If the stone is larger, then passing in naturally may either be too painful or even dangerous. The lithotripsy has been a trusted non-invasive kidney stone treatment for many years. From outside your body (extracorporeal), your doctor uses a lithotripsy machine. This machine sends shock waves through your body, specifically targeting the stone.
A shock wave isn’t a shock of electricity. The term “shock” expresses how powerful these waves are. Think of how a strong the wind is sometimes out here in Las Vegas. It can knock you off your feet. These waves break the stone into much smaller stones, which you can then pass naturally by drinking lots of water.
A ureteroscope is another non-invasive kidney stone solution. Once the kidney stones have moved into the ureter, they can be reached by a slender tube with a scope (like a microscope) on the end of the tube.
When your doctor reaches the stone, he grabs it and pulls it out with special pincers. If the stone is large, he can use the same device to break the stone up into smaller pieces, which can then be removed.
In some cases, your doctor may need to do both procedures. He breaks up the stone with the lithotripsy. Then he removes it with the ureteroscope. Both procedures are done under general anesthetic so you sleep through the procedures.
5. Parathyroid gland removal
You may already have realized this isn’t a non-invasive procedure, but it’s important to note if you have recurring kidney stones. All minerals that your body needs are rocks in their natural forms outside the body. Your kidneys and bladder are the organs responsible for removing excess minerals, but sometimes they build up instead.
The parathyroid gland helps regulate how much of calcium is in your blood. It does this by releasing hormones that tell your body that you need more of this mineral in the blood. If calcium levels are abnormally high, then gland removal may be a solution.
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