If you or someone around you have ever experienced kidney stones or got the surgery done to remove them, they might be well aware of the amount of pain one has to experience. The pain is said to be equivalent to getting your bone fractured. But what are kidney stones?
Urinary stones are a collection of salts and minerals dissolved in urine. When the concentration of these minerals reaches a particular point, they crystallize and form stones. The stones from anywhere in the urinary tract are most commonly seen in the kidney or the ureter. The formation of these kidney stones is standard and can be quite bothersome. The stones usually take weeks or months to form.
There are several kinds of kidney stones. One can usually pass them without pain and causing permanent damage. Often, kidney stones come back, so you and your health care provider will need to work on finding the cause of your stone.
Several things can increase the risk of kidney stones, including:
- Dietary factors
- Metabolic problems; Kidney stones also hereditary.
After passing a stone out of your body, the pain tends to fade away. But, few people might experience ongoing pain. The few causes of this pain and soreness can be:
1. Residual pain
General distress, pain, and soreness could be due to irritation or mild inflammation caused by the stone as it passes.
2. Another kidney stone
A CT scan can sometimes miss a second, smaller stone.
Also, once you have a kidney stone, developing another is not uncommon. People within five years of their first stone have about a 50% chance of forming another one.
It could be due to prescribed narcotics by your healthcare provider. One of the side effects of these anti-pain drugs is abdominal bloating.
This could be related to inflammation caused by the kidney stone as it passes through or another stone blocking the ureter. Either way, as urine backs up, it can cause damage to the kidneys. Other signs of obstruction are:
- Radiating pain in the lower abdomen and groin
- Burning sensation while urinating. Urinary infections such as cystitis likewise experience resembling pain.
- urine that’s pink, red, brown, cloudy, or has a foul smell
- Fever, chills, or vomiting.
- Swelling in the legs
Things to keep in mind pre and post-surgery
1. When you are at the Hospital
Often, for small stones found unexpectedly, removing the stone surgically is not recommended. Smaller stones pass on their own. The doctor may encourage adequate hydration until your urine is clear. Besides, medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help manage pain. For larger and considerably painful stones that won’t pass– surgery may be needed.
The four main types of procedures to treat kidney stones are:
- Shockwave Lithotripsy
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy
- Open Surgery (or Robotic-assisted)
Discuss with your health care provider the kind of stone you have and the possible ways to treat it.
2. What to expect after the surgery
- Usually, after the procedure, it is common to have a small amount of blood in the urine for a few days (could be weeks).
- After passing the stone, a little pain and feeling nauseous are common. This can happen right after treatment and might last for weeks.
- If treated by sound waves, back or side bruises could be found. Some pain over the treatment area is expected.
Only you can take care of your body after a procedure. Following these simple tips could help.
- Mostly, people go back to their regular daily activities, 1 or 2 days after the procedure. Have someone drive you for a while and rest for a few days.
- Drink much water in the weeks after treatment because it will help pass any remaining stone pieces.
- Post-surgery, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medicines are recommended for a few days. Your health care provider could prescribe an alpha-blocker to make passing the pieces of stone easier.
- Learn about health and lifestyle tips on how to prevent your kidney stones from coming back.
- You need to visit your provider for a follow-up in the weeks after your procedure.
4. When to Call the Doctor
The pain generally dissipates after passing the stone. Some residual soreness and pain might prevail, but it should be temporary. Severe pain after passing a kidney stone could sign that you have another stone or infection. It could also be an unrelated issue. Consult your health care provider in case of:
- Continuous severe pain in your back or side.
- Blood clots or bleeding in the urine (a small amount of blood is normal)
- Fast heartbeat
- Fever, Chills or Vomiting
- Foul-smell/burning sensation when urinating
- A minimal urine production
Kidney stones are indeed very troublesome to deal with, but you can get rid of them with proper care and supervision. Delaying post-surgery symptoms can lead to severe complications, so you need to see your healthcare provider right away if you think you face any difficulties. Being proactive towards your health will keep you away from any emergency condition regarding your health.
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