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What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones or commonly known as renal calculi, are hard masses of salts and minerals that get accumulated in the kidneys, bladder, and pelvic ureteric junction. Kidney stones are mostly made up of calcium, oxalate, phosphate, cystine (rare), and xanthine (rare). While kidney stones are more common in middle-aged men, they can occur to anyone at any age.

Kidney stones vary in shape and size. The size of kidney stones can be as small as a grain of sand to as big as a golf ball. While most kidney stones usually pass on their own naturally within a few days to a few weeks, some stones can be stubborn and cause extreme pain. In extreme cases, you may require surgical intervention for kidney stone removal.

Prolonging kidney stone treatment can impact surrounding tissues and even obstruct the ureteral passage causing immense pain around the abdomen. Get a free appointment with our urologists near you for your kidney stone treatment.

How are Kidney Stones formed?

Kidney stones form as a result of low fluid concentration in the urine, which increases the amount of toxic waste. Our kidneys filter the toxic waste from the body and flush it out through urine. However, when the concentration of toxic waste in the urine increases, it lumps with each other to form kidney stones.

Kidney stones may also form due to excessive amounts of certain salts and minerals. Calcium stones are one of the most common types of stones that contribute to about 80% of all kidney stone cases. A diet rich in calcium or oxalate is absorbed by the kidneys, which increases the amount of calcium oxalate in the urine. Apart from that, kidney stones are also caused by frequent urinary tract infections (UTI), increased amounts of uric acid in the body due to high animal protein intake, and certain lifestyle habits.

Types of Kidney Stones

Calcium stones

Struvite stones

Cystine stones

Uric acid stones

Causes of Kidney Stones

  • Low fluid intake (Dehydration)
  • Consuming high calcium supplements
  • High animal protein diet
  • Excess salt consumption
  • Family history
  • Chronic diarrhea

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

  • Severe back pain in the flank area
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain while urinating
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Fevers and chills
  • Blood in urine

Diagnosis of Kidney Stones

  • Imaging tests – These tests include abdominal ultrasound, x-rays, or MRI to obtain 3D images of the stones in the abdomen. This helps in locating the area where the stones may be present. The cost of abdominal ultrasound usually starts from Rs. 1200 and can go up to Rs. 1500 depending on the city and type of hospital. CT scan usually starts from Rs. 4300 depending on the location and the type of healthcare center.
  • Blood tests – Blood tests help examine the contents in your blood that may result in kidney stones. It is important to determine the presence of calcium, phosphorus, uric acid, and electrolytes that may result in the progression of kidney stones. Blood tests usually cost between Rs. 200 to Rs. 500.
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine test – This test helps identify any abnormal functioning in kidneys by determining the amount of nitrogen in the blood that comes from the waste product, urea. 
  • Urinalysis – This test is done to assess the contents of urine to identify any crystals, bacteria, or any other agents that can cause kidney stones or urinary tract infections.

Severity of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones cause excruciating pain that becomes unbearable for most patients. Kidney stones usually block the ureteral passage causing urinary retention, a complication that may cause hydronephrosis (swelling up of one or both the kidneys due to build-up of urine) and even result in kidney failure.

Kidney stones can be silent which means they can go unnoticed for a long time. Therefore, prolonging kidney stone removal surgery can increase the severity of the disease and increase the risk of complications.

Kidney stone removal surgery is one of the safe and effective procedures that to get immediate relief from pain and discomfort. However, in rare cases, due to existing medical condition or co-morbidities in patients, there is a slight risk of complications. Apart from pain, vomiting, blood in the urine,  etc. kidney stone removal surgery  can lead to the following complications –

  • Severe infections including Septicaemia (blood poisoning) which is life-threatening and may require a blood transfusion.
  • Sometimes, kidney stone surgery can also cause scarring and damage to the kidneys which can result in permanent renal failure.
  • Some patients with co-morbidities and existing medical conditions result in the loss of kidney functioning and often require removal of kidneys (nephrectomy).
  • When large kidney stones manage to pass into the bladder but get stuck in the urethra, it leads to bladder blockage. This may result in a painful urinary retention.

  • How can you prevent kidney stones?

    Prevention against kidney stones mostly involves dietary restrictions, lifestyle changes, and staying hydrated. However, certain preventive measures act differently for patients and so, it is important to consult your specialist doctor on how to prevent kidney stones.

    Kidney stone prevention mostly aims to reduce certain risk factors that can increase the risk of kidney stones such as obesity, dehydration, etc. The urologist may also recommend certain preventive measures based on the composition of the stone to avoid recurrence in the future. This can help the urologist suggest specific preventive measures to avoid the recurrence of stones. Some of the measures that help in preventing kidney stones include the following –

    • Staying hydrated
    • Consuming less sodium
    • Avoid calcium-rich supplements
    • Consume less animal protein
  • Myths and Facts

    Myth- Soda causes kidney stones

    Fact- Soda is a diuretic in nature, which can also contribute to the salt content in the urine. So consuming sodas, colas, etc., does not cause stones if you drink enough water to decrease the concentration.

    Myth- Beer will help in flushing out kidney stones

    Fact- Beer can help flush out the small stones by inducing urination. However, consuming excess beer to flush out large stones may be ineffective and you may end up with more pain. Beer has oxalate-rich contents, which can increase the risk of kidney stone formation. In addition, beer is also high in calories and high consumption can increase the risk of obesity, another risk factor for kidney stones.

    Myth- Kidney stones can be treated with shock waves

    Fact- ESWL or extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy can treat kidney stones. It is a modern procedure that does not involve any cuts, stitches or scars and is usually considered an effective alternative to traditional kidney stone removal surgery for small stones. However, ESWL may take multiple sessions to completely break the stones into smaller fragments. ESWL is not an ideal procedure for large-sized stones.

When to visit a Kidney Stone Doctor?

Consult a urologist if your pain is unbearable and you cannot find a comfortable position to rest. Sometimes pain can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. You must also seek immediate medical assistance if you see blood in your urine or experience extreme difficulty while passing the urine.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Would you recommend any informative websites or study material that I can take with me?
Will I need medication to treat my condition?
What is the chance of recurrence of kidney stones?
I am currently suffering from a (health condition). How can I best manage them together?
How often do I need a follow-up visit?

Treatment Options for Kidney Stones Removal and their Cost

Most kidney stones usually pass on their own naturally without the need for surgery. Depending on the size of the stone, it can take a day or even months to flush out the stone from the body. Kidney stone doctors may prescribe medications or recommend home remedies, alternative therapies, lifestyle changes, etc. Medicines like alpha-blockers, pain-relievers, etc. reduce pain and discomfort and help flush out stones from the body naturally. While these treatment methods are effective in managing symptoms of kidney stones, they are not the permanent cure. Surgical procedures for kidney stones ensure a high stone-free rate and negligible chances of recurrence. Here are some non-surgical methods to get rid of kidney stones – 

  • Medications – Kidney stone doctors usually recommend medicines to reduce the pain and discomfort due to the movement of stones. Medications like alpha-blockers are muscle relaxers that expand the muscles of the ureter to allow the stones to smoothly flush out of the body. Examples of alpha-blockers include tamsulosin and the drug combination dutasteride and tamsulosin. Doctors also recommend pain relievers to get rid of pain due to kidney stones. Painkillers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium help relieve mild pain and discomfort due to kidney stones.
  • Home remedies – Home remedies are a combination of dietary restrictions and lifestyle changes. Kidney stones are broadly divided into 4 types – Oxalate stones, Struvite stones, Cystine stones, and Uric acid stones. Most of these minerals are present in the food we consume on a daily basis. However, increased consumption of one mineral can be a risk factor for the formation of stones. For example, oxalate stones are one of the most common types of kidney stones which are formed due to excess consumption of food containing oxalates, phosphates, and calcium. A diet high in animal protein increases the concentration of uric acid in the body. A high amount of uric acid decreases the citrate levels. A high citrate level prevents the formation of stones and also gets rid of them. Dietary restrictions that can help get rid of kidney stones include – 
    • Limiting oxalate-rich foods
    • Increasing dietary calcium
    • Avoiding food with too much salt
    • Decrease high doses of vitamin C supplements
    • Minimizing consumption of animal protein

Therefore, restricting certain foods and beverages can help you get rid of kidney stones and prevent the formation of new stones. If you have a prior history of kidney stones, consult with your physician regarding what diet you should take. 

Lifestyle modification can help get rid of stones and also decrease the chances of formation of new stones. Lifestyle changes include staying hydrated and encouraging minimal exercise. Doctors generally recommend drinking 2-3L of water every day to increase the fluid volume in the body. This increases the urine output which can flush out stone fragments. Moreover, encouraging citrus fruits, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, etc. can help get rid of kidney stones.

  • Acupuncture – The primary aim of acupuncture for kidney stone treatment involves promoting flow along the affected acupuncture meridians. This instigates urination (could be in small amounts) which relieves the congestion allowing the small stones to pass. Moreover, some therapists add electrical stimulation to the acupuncture needles to create vibrations that allow stones to work their way down the ureter. However, only certain types and sizes of stones respond to electrical stimulations. Consult your kidney stone doctor before considering acupuncture as a treatment option. 

Insurance Cover for Kidney Stones Surgery

Kidney stone removal procedures are usually considered a medical necessity for stones stuck in the ureter, kidneys, etc. Prolonged kidney stones can also lead to serious health issues in children as well as adults. Most health insurance companies cover the cost of kidney stone surgeries in India.

However, there is a possibility that the insurance coverage may differ from one policy to another depending on the terms and conditions set by the insurance provider. Insurance coverage usually reduces the cost of kidney stone treatment and decreases the financial burden on the individual. A few of the insurance providers that may cover kidney stones treatment in India are as follows:

  • Star Health Insurance
  • New India Health Insurance
  • Bajaj Allianz
  • Religare
  • ICICI Lombard

Recovery after Kidney Stones Surgery

The recovery after the kidney stone surgery can vary depending on the health of the patients. If the patients have undergone ESWL or URSL, they will likely be able to resume normal activities within a week. For PCNL surgery, the recovery time is around one to two weeks due to its minimally invasive nature. However, if you have a temporary stent in place after your surgery, there may be some restrictions related to physical activities that may be limited due to the discomfort.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Kidney Stones

Do kidney stones always require surgery?

No, kidney stones always  require surgery. Stones less than 4mm in size may be flushed out by drinking excess water or prescribing medication from the doctor. In any case, consult your doctor if you feel any pain or discomfort. 

I was recently diagnosed with a 15mm stone. What surgery do I need?

Urologists suggest PCNL for a stone size similar to or greater than 15mm. Since the size of the stone is significant enough, it becomes very difficult to pass through the ureter. Hence, minimally invasive treatment or PCNL is done for large stone sizes. 

What size of stone needs a minimally invasive treatment?

Minimally invasive treatment or PCNL is done for a stone size greater than 15mm. Since the size of the stone is very large, it becomes difficult to pass through the ureter and hence, needs minimally invasive surgery where the stone is broken into fragments and removed through incisions. 

Is minimally invasive surgery painful?

NO, minimally invasive surgery is not painful since it is done under general anesthesia. The patient will be asleep throughout the surgery and won’t feel any pain. However, the patient may feel mild numbness around the incision site after the effects of anesthesia wear off. 

What is the duration of kidney stones surgery?

The surgery time for kidney stones treatment can vary from patient to patient depending on the patient profile and the surgical expertise of the doctor. The standard duration for different kidney stones surgeries are as follows – 

  • RIRS – 1 hour
  • ESWL – 45 minutes
  • PCNL – 1.5 hours
  • URSL – 45 minutes 
What is the fastest way to get rid of kidney stones pain?

Surgery is the fastest and the most efficient way to get rid of kidney stones pain. Medications can flush out stones smaller than 4mm, but for stones larger than 4mm to 5 mm, surgery is the best option.

What is the use of stents in kidney stone surgery?

The doctors use stents for RIRS and PCNL surgery to expand the ureter for smooth movement of stones. When the size of stones is large, stents are inserted through the urethra to ensure stones are flushed out without causing immense pain.

How long are stents kept in the body?

The surgeon may put stents to ease the movement of stones in the ureter without causing intense pain. Once the stones are fully expelled from the body, there is no use for stents and hence are removed. It may take a week or two. Sometimes, doctors remove stents on the same day of the surgery.

Does Pristyn Care cover insurance for kidney stones surgery?

Pristyn Care has a dedicated team that will assist you with the insurance claims for kidney stones surgery. The insurance claims will depend on your health insurance company and the terms and conditions set by them. Be rest assured that our team will do their best to help you claim your insurance for kidney stones surgery. 

How To Prevent Kidney Stones

How To Prevent Kidney Stones?

Stay hydrated – Drinking excess water is important to prevent kidney stones. An individual must drink at least 3 liters of water each day or consume enough fluid to prevent dehydration. This increases the fluid concentration in the urine which can also flush out the small stones from the body. Not drinking excess water can decrease the concentration of fluid in the urine resulting in the accumulation of toxic wastes. Citrus juice like lemonade, orange juice, etc. can also help prevent kidney stones.

Consume less sodium – A high salt diet can increase the risk of calcium stones. The urology care foundation reveals that too much salt in the urine can prevent calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine to the blood, which increases the risk of kidney stones. Urologists recommend limiting sodium consumption to 2,000 mg (almost half a tablespoon) in a day. If you have had calcium stones in the past, the sodium intake must be reduced to 1,500 mg daily. In addition, a low-sodium diet is also good for a healthy heart and blood pressure. Here are some food items that can contain excessive sodium – 

  • Canned soups
  • Canned vegetables
  • Processed foods such as chips
  • Foods that contain monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrate, or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

Avoid calcium-rich supplements – Since calcium stones are among the most common stones, people often believe that they should avoid calcium. However, natural sources of calcium such as low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are all good for your body. Consuming excess calcium supplements can increase the risk of stones. 

Consume less animal protein – Kidney stones are also associated with excess consumption of animal protein that increases the uric acid content in the body. An increased amount of uric acid may lead to the formation of uric acid stones and some oxalate stones. In addition, an excess amount of animal protein decreases citrate levels which restrict the production of stones. Low citrate levels increase the risk of developing stones. However, urologists recommend daily consumption of not more than 85 grams of meat in each meal, if you still wish to consume meat. Therefore, avoiding eating beef, poultry, fish, pork, etc. in excess amounts can prevent kidney stones.

Why choose Pristyn Care for Kidney Stone Surgery?

Pristyn Care is a full-stack healthcare service provider associated with some of the best hospitals and clinics across the country. The aim is to ease the process of accessing advanced treatment and surgeries for every patient at minimal costs. Pristyn Care has some of the best urologists and kidney stone specialists with years of experience in PCNL, RIRS, URSL, and ESWL to ensure a very high success rate. Most kidney stone surgeries are daycare which does not involve any incision (except for PCNL, which involves minimal incision) and offer faster recovery. Some of the benefits of choosing Pristyn Care for kidney stones treatment are –

Highly experienced urologists– Our team of kidney stone surgeons are fully trained and certified to perform painless surgeries with a high success rate. Our urologists will discuss all the necessary information about kidney stones before the surgery. This allows our surgeons to offer comprehensive treatment and make our patients aware of the certain risks involved during the treatment.

Accept all Insurances- A dedicated team at Pristyn Care assists with the insurance approvals for kidney stone surgeries. However, the insurance approval depends on the type of your insurance company and the terms and conditions set by them. Our team of experts will do their best to help you claims any benefits from the medical insurance.

Flexible payment options- Pristyn Care offers various modes of payment for kidney stone surgeries with no cost EMI. In addition, we accept credit cards and cash payments for the procedure.

Free pick-up and drop facility- Pristyn Care provides free cab services for pick-up and drop-off to each patient within the city on the day of kidney stone surgery.

Free follow-up consultation- A smooth and faster recovery is essential after the treatment. Pristyn Care provides free follow-up consultation and proper diet charts to all patients who have undergone kidney stone surgery for a quick recovery process.

COVID-19 safe environment – During the COVID crisis, Pristyn Care ensures proper sanitization of all the OTs and clinics before each surgery to curb the spread of COVID. It is our top priority to maintain excellent hygiene and social distancing while providing a seamless patient experience.

Booking An Appointment With The Best Urologist For Kidney Stone Surgery.

Pristyn Care has some of the best urologists with adequate training and years of experience in kidney stone surgeries. Our doctors and surgeons are upskilled in performing advanced treatment for the best results. You can book an appointment with the kidney stones doctors at Pristyn Care to get rid of excruciating kidney stones pain in the following ways:

  • You can fill out the patient form on our website pristyncare.com. A team of medical coordinators will reach out to you at the earliest to gather details from your end once the appointment form is submitted. The appointment will be subsequently fixed with the concerned urologist according to your schedule.
  • You can directly connect with our medical coordinators via the contact number on our website. A team of dedicated medical coordinators will gather inputs from your end and connect you with the kidney stones doctor near your area and book your appointment consecutively.
  • You can also book an appointment through our Pristyn Care app. Our medical coordinators will arrange an offline or online consultation with our kidney stone experts near your area at the earliest via video call. A nominal consultation fee will be charged.
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