If you’ve had a kidney stone, you’ve likely been told at some point to “drink more water.” And while many of us write this off, there is some truth to this recommendation. However, the “why” is often not fully explained, leading us to disregard the information.
Today’s blog aims to shed some light on the situation to help you better understand the vital role of proper hydration while passing a kidney stone.
Hydronephrosis strikes fear into most kidney stone formers because they’ve been led to believe that even mild grades will lead to kidney damage. This is just not the case! In this blog we will explore the underlying mechanisms of Hydronephrosis to uncover what specific instances are causing damage so that you can eliminate the fear of kidney damage.
Hydronephrosis is a term that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to kidney stones. However, it is not well understood from the patient perspective and leads to tremendous fear of kidney damage. Many people leave the ER or Urologist’s office with a grade of hydronephrosis. But, nothing is done to explain the implication of the “grade” that they are dealing with (i.e. what impact will this have on my kidney). The goal of today’s blog is to clear-up any confusion and provide a better understanding of what each grade of Hydronephrosis means for you, your body, and your kidney stone.
The American Urological Association's handbook is the tool used by Urologists around the world to determine the appropriate treatment options for kidney stones. The AUA guidelines are compiled based on observational studies from around the globe to provide Urologists and patients with the best care possible. Let's dive in and take a look underneath the hood of the process your Urologist goes through when making a recommendation for treatment of your kidney stones.
Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) was first described in 1976 as an operative technique for removing kidney stones through a percutaneous nephrostomy tract that involves an incision into the skin and kidney. Since its introduction, there have been many technological improvements (such as Miniperc and Microperc) over the last few decades that have led to Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) becoming one of the cornerstone treatments for large (> 2cm) or staghorn kidney stones.
Ureteroscopy has evolved to be one of the primary treatment options for kidney stones since its introduction in 1964. Ureteroscopy is popular with Urologist when Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL) fails or there is a complicated ureteral or renal stone and Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy is not an option.
Read more to learn more about this surgical procedure for kidney stones.
Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL) was first used to treat kidney stones in 1980. This treatment modality uses sound waves to break apart kidney stones so that smaller fragments may pass through the urine. In the 40+ years since its introduction, SWL has become widely popular and is currently one of the first-line options for the non-invasive treatment of kidney stones less than 20mm in diameter without the requirement for general anesthesia. However, due to its incredibly complicated nature and unreliable performance, alternative treatment methods with higher success rates are becoming more prevalent.
Expulsive therapy is a relatively new practice in the conservative management of kidney stones that has evolved along with our understanding of the urinary system. Based on this evolution, two paths of expulsive therapy have evolved to help people pass their kidney stones without the need for surgical intervention. The natural expulsive therapy path harnesses centuries-old herbal medicine with other whole foods while the medical expulsive therapy utilizes pharmaceutical-derived alpha blockers or calcium channel blockers.
Understanding the composition and density of kidney stones plays a key role in determining the most appropriate treatment. CT scans are currently the gold standard of care when it comes to kidney stone imagining because in addition to providing the size and location of the kidney stone, CT scans can also assess the density of kidney stones in Hounsfield Units (HU). The Hounsfield Unit is a radiodensity scale that can identify density of various body parts and kidney stones.
The imaging you receive for your kidney stone can either set you up for success or leave you hanging without critical information. This blog aims to equip you with the knowledge you need to have an educated conversation with your Doctor/Urologist to ensure you receive the appropriate imaging technique for your specific situation.
Whether you’re new to passing kidney stones or have passed them for years, kidney stones can be tricky. And, when it comes to knowing if you have truly, finally passed that agonizing kidney stone, sometimes you just don’t know. Well today, it’s out goal to try and clear up as much of the uncertainty as we can by introducing you to the three ways that a kidney stone can pass.
Kidney stones can be incredibly stubborn and have a knack for getting stuck while passing. Sometimes kidney stones get stuck due to their characteristics such as shape, size, or jagged nature. Other times, kidney stones get stuck due to natural narrowing in our urinary tract. The focus of today’s discussion will be identifying the three location that kidney stones have the highest likelihood of getting stuck and what we can do to minimize the chances of this or address the blockage if it occurs (jump and stomp method).