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Nephroliths (Kidney Stones): Overview, Symptoms, and Treatment

Posted by singaporekidneydoctor on February 17th, 2020

Nephroliths or Kidney Stones: Overview

Nephroliths, also known as Renal Calculi or Kidney Stones, are hard masses of minerals and salts that is formed in the kidneys or can also be developed in parts of the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra).

man with nephroliths or kidney stones

Symptoms of Having Nephroliths or Kidney Stones

Nephroliths or Kidney Stones does not show any symptoms, not until it begins to travel around the kidney or ureters (tube that connects the bladder and kidney). This will then trigger the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the lower part of abdomen
  • Severe pain in the side and back and as well in the lower ribs
  • Pain on urination, sometimes shows blood in the urine
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Frequently urinating more than the usual
  • Releasing small amounts of urine
  • Chills and fever (if infection is developed)

What Causes the Formation of Nephroliths?

There actually no definite cause but there are several factors that increases your chance of getting kidney stones. Here are some of those factors:

  • Metabolic disorders (hyperoxaluria, hyperparathyroidism, cystinuria, hyperuricosuria)
  • Eating high-oxalate foods (chocolate, okra, beets, spinach, soybean crackers, peanuts, potatoes, etc)
  • Cystic kidney disease
  • Large intake of foods high in calcium and dairy products
  • Enlargement of the prostate gland affecting the flow of urine in the urinary tract
  • Urinary Tract Infection

Types of Nephroliths

  • Calcium Stones – the most common kidney stones made from calcium oxalate (may also be formed from calcium phosphate). Eating foods high in oxalate will increase the risk of getting this type of stone.
  • Cystine Stones – the rarest type of stone and is formed by people with disorder that makes the kidneys to release large amount of amino acids.
  • Uric Acid Stones – are stones formed mostly by men or by people with gout or undergoing chemotherapy. Uric Acid stones develop when a person is low in fluid intake or if his or her urine is too acidic.
  • Struvite Stones – in contrast to uric acid stones, Struvite stones can be found mostly in women suffering from urinary tract infection. A type of stone that shows few symptoms but can enlarge quickly.

Treatment of Nephroliths

If the nephroliths or kidney stones found inside the kidney are still small, then you may still be able to treat it by drinking more water on a regular basis. However, stones that are too large will need to be broken down into small pieces first or by removing them through a surgical procedure. Here are some of the treatments performed by doctors in removing kidney stones.

  • Laparoscopy
  • Lithotripsy
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (Tunnel Surgery)
  • Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery
  • Ureteroscopy
  • Parathyroid Gland Surgery
Also See: Kidney Stones, Urinary Tract, Uric Acid, Acid Stones, Stones, Nephroliths, Kidney

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