A great summer can lead to many issues, including kidney stones. With the warmer weather, more people get outside, including children, so kidney stones are more likely to occur during the summer months. The same is true for people who work in hot climates, have had recent surgeries, or suffer from chronic partial or complete dehydration. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for patients suffering from these problems, including surgery. Learn more about the different treatment options for kidney stones.
A general preventive measure is to drink plenty of water. Drinking at least 3 liters of water a day is recommended by the American Urological Association. This amount does not have to be water, but should be sufficient for an average adult to avoid kidney stones. You should also make sure that you drink enough fluids to pass at least 85 ounces of urine every day. A medical examination should be done to rule out other conditions that may increase the likelihood of getting a kidney stone. A urine test may also be performed to determine the presence of the stone. Other signs of infection may include blood in the urine and an increased risk of kidney stones.
A temporary ureter stent may be inserted through the ureter. The stent holds the ureter open, allowing urine to pass. Unlike a catheter, the stent does not require a large incision and the patient can go home the same day. During the procedure, a doctor will likely insert a small synthetic tube called a ureteroscope. This device will hold the stone in place for about 24 hours before it can be removed.
The size, location, and cause of the stone will determine the best treatment. Your health care provider may recommend an ultrasound, a procedure used to view the inside of the urinary tract. If you have experienced abdominal pain or sudden blood in your urine, a CT scan may be the best way to diagnose your kidney stones. Depending on the size of the stone, the type of treatment and the severity of the symptoms, treatment options may vary. If the stone is small, it may be treatable at home.
Some patients can wait for the stone to pass on its own without seeking medical attention. If the stone is small, it is often harmless to wait four to six weeks for it to pass naturally. However, if the pain is unbearable and the stone is not blocking the urethra, surgery is an option. However, if the stone has become large and is preventing urine flow, this option may not be right for the patient.
While kidney stones can be treated at home, some doctors may choose to perform an invasive procedure called percutaneous nephrolithotomy to remove them. In this procedure, a small instrument called a nephroscope is passed through a small cut in the back of the patient. The doctor may use a laser to break up the stone into smaller pieces. While this procedure is effective, it can be risky and can take a few days.