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Medical Conditions A-Z

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Health And Wellness > Medical Conditions A-Z > Renal Lithiasis

What is Renal Lithiasis?
Renal Lithiasis (kidney stones) are small, hard deposits that form inside your kidneys. Kidney stones are made of mineral and acid salts. Kidney stones have many causes. In one common scenario, kidney stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.

Signs
A kidney stone may or may not cause signs and symptoms until it has moved into the ureter — the tube connecting the kidney and bladder. At that point, these signs and symptoms may occur: severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs, pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin, pain on urination, pink, red or brown urine, nausea and vomiting, persistent urge to urinate, fever and chills if an infection is present.

When to See a Doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience: pain so severe that you can't sit still or find a comfortable position, pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting, pain accompanied by fever and chills.

Tests
If your doctor suspects you have a kidney stone, you may undergo tests and procedures to diagnose your condition, such as: blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests, analysis of passed stones, urinalysis to see crystals and red blood cells in urine.

Management
The goal of management is to relieve symptoms and prevent further symptoms. Treatment varies depending on the type of stone and how severe the symptoms are. People with severe symptoms might need to be hospitalized. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day to produce a large amount of urine. Some people might need to get fluids through a vein (intravenous). Pain relievers can help control the pain of passing the stones (renal colic). For severe pain, you may need to take narcotic pain killers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen.

Preventatives and Precautions
If you have a history of stones, drink plenty of fluids (six to eight glasses of water per day) to produce enough urine. Depending on the type of stone, you might need to take medications or other measures to prevent the stones from returning. You may need to change your diet to prevent some types of stones from coming back.

Chances of Getting
Kidney stones often have no definite, single cause. A number of factors, often in combination, create the conditions in which susceptible people develop kidney stones. Knowing your type of kidney stone helps to understand what might have caused the stone to form and may give clues as to what you can do to reduce your risk of getting additional kidney stones.

Day-to-Day Approach
Kidney stones are painful but usually can be removed from the body without causing permanent damage. They tend to return, especially if the cause is not found and treated. The stress of having an illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.

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