How Are Kidney Stones Treated?

Daily Health Solutions
on February 13, 2012

Kidney stones are generally very painful and are often recurring crystalline formations in the urinary tract. In the not-so-distant past, the only real treatments available for kidney stones were to watch and wait, or to undergo surgery to get rid of the stones. Luckily, modern medicine and a better understanding of kidney stones offer a few more options, allowing most stones to be passed out of the body without invasive treatment.

Home remedies. The most important part of passing a kidney stone naturally is to drink a lot of water. Most doctors recommend that you drink no less than 12 glasses of water every day while trying to pass a kidney stone, and limit or avoid caffeine. Not only can caffeine cause you to lose more fluid than you should, it can also irritate the urinary tract and make the burning and pain worse. In order to learn more remedies specifically for your condition, you will have to undergo testing to determine what type of kidney stones you have.

Medical intervention. If the pain becomes too intense, drinking water is not enough to pass the stone or if urine is obstructed by the stone, then you will need intervention to break up the stones to the point where they can pass naturally. In most cases, the stones can be broken up with sound waves or removed through a tiny scope that allows pieces of the stone to be manually chipped away. Rare severe cases still require surgery, though that number is declining with more sophisticated, less invasive techniques that are just as effective for most kidney stones. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.

Prevention. The type of kidney stones you have can be determined with a urine collection or analysis of the stone. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases explains, “The collection is used to measure urine volume and levels of acidity, calcium, sodium, uric acid, oxalate, citrate, and creatinine — a product of muscle metabolism. The doctor will use this information to determine the cause of the stone.” Once the cause is known, specific dietary and lifestyle recommendations will probably be made that may help prevent you from forming more stones in the future.