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Renal Calculi: An Introduction

Last updated date: 18th Mar 2023
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Waste removal from an organism's body is carried out by its excretory system. The body's nitrogenous waste is eliminated through organs such as the liver, kidney, skin, and sweat glands. Any abnormality in the excretory system causes the buildup of nitrogenous wastes in the body, which causes several disorders. Renal calculi are a common cause of hematuria (blood in the urine) and abdominal, flank, or pelvic pain. They afflict one in every eleven persons at some point in their lives, with men having a two-to-one advantage over women.


What is Renal Calculi?

Renal calculi, often known as kidney stones, are solid masses of crystals that obstruct the urinary tract. When calcium and oxalate combine, these crystals are created. These stones form in the kidneys and pass through the urinary tract.


Causes of Renal Calculi

Drinking insufficient water, exercising too much or too little, obesity, weight loss surgery, or eating foods high in salt or sugar are all possible reasons. Diseases and family history may influence the health of some people. A high-fructose diet has been linked to an increased incidence of kidney stones. Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup both include fructose. The pathophysiology of Renal Calculi shows that the stone formation begins with the creation of crystals in supersaturated urine adhering to the urothelium, forming the nidus for further stone development. The biological processes that bind crystals to the urothelium are still a mystery. These degrade the urothelium, generating a calcium oxalate deposition nucleus.


Types of Renal Calculi

Kidney stones or renal calculi are divided into four categories:

  • Calcium oxalate: The most frequent type of kidney stone, formed when calcium in the urine reacts with oxalate. Decreased calcium and fluid intake, among other things, could contribute to their development.

  • Uric acid is another common form of kidney stone. Purines are a naturally occurring chemical component that can be found in high concentrations in meals such as organ meats and shellfish. When you consume a lot of purine, your body produces more monosodium urate, which, in the right circumstances, can lead to kidney stones. These stones have a proclivity for running in families.

  • Struvite: Infections in the upper urinary tract create these less prevalent stones.

  • Cystine: This is an uncommon stone that runs in families.


Renal Calculi Symptoms

Certain kidney stones are about the size of a grain of sand. Others are smaller than pebbles. In general, the larger the stone, the more noticeable the symptoms are. One or more of the following symptoms may be present:

  • both sides of the lower back are in excruciating discomfort

  • more generalized pain or a stomach ache that won't go away

  • Urine with blood in it,

  • nausea or vomiting

  • fever and chills

  • urine with a foul odour or a hazy appearance


When a kidney stone irritates or blocks the kidney, it causes pain. This quickly escalates into excruciating pain. Kidney stones pass in the majority of cases without inflicting damage, but not without causing a great deal of discomfort. Pain relievers may be the only option for little stones. Other therapies may be necessary, especially if the stones are creating long-term issues or other renal calculi complications. Surgery, on the other hand, may be required in extreme situations.


Prevention of Renal Calculi

Small changes to your existing food and nutrition plan can help prevent kidney stones.

  • Drinking more water is the most effective way to avoid kidney stones. If an individual does not drink enough, urine output will be limited. When urine production is poor, it becomes more concentrated and less able to dissolve urinary salts, which can lead to stones.

  • Eat extra calcium-rich foods to boost your calcium intake. The most common type of kidney stone is calcium oxalate, which leads many people to believe they should avoid calcium. The opposite is also true. Low-calcium diets can increase the chances of developing kidney stones and developing osteoporosis.

  • Calcium kidney stones are more likely to occur if one eats a high-salt diet. Too much salt in the urine prevents calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine into the circulation. A high calcium level in the urine is the result, which might lead to kidney stones.

  • Certain kidney stones are made of oxalate, a naturally occurring material that adheres to calcium in the urine to form kidney stones. Keeping oxalate-rich foods to a bare minimum may help prevent the formation of stones.

  • Animal protein-rich diets are acidic, which might cause urine acidity to rise. High urine acid can produce both uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones.

  • Stay away from vitamin C pills.


Treatment of Renal Calculi

Kidney stones in kids and adults are treated in the same way. A person may be required to consume a large amount of water. Doctors try to pass the stone without having to operate.


One of the most effective medications for preventing kidney stone recurrence is allopurinol. Hyperuricemia or gout, calcium stones, and hyperuricosuria can all be treated with this medication. The synthesis of uric acid in the liver is inhibited by this medication. This medication has been tweaked to reduce uric acid excretion in the urine.


Shock-wave lithotripsy is a painless operation that uses high-energy sound waves to shatter stones into smaller fragments that can be carried out more easily in the urine. An endoscope is introduced through the ureter to retrieve or destroy the stone during ureteroscopy.


Conclusion

This article discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment of kidney stones. Calcium, struvite, uric acid, and cystine are the four main components of kidney stones. The calcium variety is the most prevalent, accounting for about 80% of stones. Ironically, although kidney stones frequently contain calcium, a high-calcium diet does not cause them to form. Unless you take much, much more calcium than is advised for a healthy adult, calcium usually has little influence on the development of stones. According to estimates, 50% of kidney stones are caused by not drinking enough water.

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FAQs on Renal Calculi

1. How are kidney stones diagnosed?

A medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies are used to diagnose kidney stones. The size and shape of the kidney stones will be important to the doctors. This can be done with a high-resolution CT scan from the kidneys to the bladder, or a "KUB x-ray" (kidney-ureter-bladder x-ray), which shows the size and location of the stone. The KUB test can be used to monitor your stone before and after therapy, but for diagnosis, a CT scan is usually preferred.

2. What are kidney stones formed of?

Calcium and oxalate make up the bulk of kidney stones in most cases. Many individuals who develop calcium-containing stones are affected by hypercalciuria, a condition in which they have an excessive amount of calcium in their urine. The presence of hypercalciuria can be attributed to several different factors. There are certain individuals whose intestinal tracts take in an excessive amount of calcium.

3. What is Ureteroscopy?

It is a process in which a small scope (similar to a flexible telescope) is inserted into the bladder and the ureter, and it is used to diagnose and treat a range of diseases in the urinary tract. This treatment is called ureteroscopy. It enables the urologist to look into the ureter, locate the stone, and remove it in the case of ureteral stones, which are stones that are found in the ureter. The stone is grasped by the surgeon with the assistance of a small wire basket that is inserted into the lower ureter through the bladder. The stone is then extracted from the body. This is an outpatient operation that may or may not involve the insertion of a stent (a tube that is placed in the ureter to hold it open).


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