The stones become larger and larger and eventually when they become heavy, they break off from the kidneys and come into the urinary tract.
By Dr. Raman Tanwar
Kidney stone prevention: If you ever had kidney stones, you must be knowing how painful it can get. Many people compare kidney stone pain to labour pain or worse. Any former kidney stone patient would vouch that prevention is the best means when it comes to kidney stones. To understand prevention one needs to understand why and how kidney stones form, so let’s begin with that.
What exactly are kidney stones and how do they form in the human body?
Kidney stones are essentially salt deposits that get collected in the filter of the kidneys called nephrons. These salts get deposited in the kidneys because they skip the digestion process due to certain genetic deficiencies or dietary excess. Once the crystals start depositing the process of stone formation continues. The stones become larger and larger and eventually when they become heavy, they break off from the kidneys and come into the urinary tract. Here they cause blockage in the passage of urine and pain.
How to prevent kidney stone formation?
Here is what we can do to prevent the formation of these crystals:
- Drink plenty of fluids so that the crystals get diluted and flushed with urine. 10-12 glasses of water is recommended to prevent stone formation.
- Reduce salts in diet. More the salt in your diet more are the chances of crystals forming and growing.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Studies show that a higher Body mass index is associated with higher chances of stone formation
- Get your stone analysed or get a metabolic profiling to understand what crystals are forming in excess in your body and modify your diet based on that.
Importance of Lithotripsy
With advancing technology we now have more focussed sound waves that help break stones without surgery with a special procedure called Lithotripsy. Using this technology the stone can be broken into small fragments without the need of any cut, anaesthesia or surgery. All it takes is 2 to 3 sessions of half an hour each to completely crush the stone so that it passes out mixed in urine. With modified protocols for Lithotripsy and world class technology it is possible to clear stones completely in more than 90% of patients without any surgery.
(The columnist is MBBS, MS, FMAS, MCh (Urology) at Department of Urology and Andrology at Urocentre, Jyoti Hospital, Gurugram. Views expressed are the author’s own.)