What are kidney stones? Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

kidney stones

Kidney stones, how they arise, their symptoms, methods of diagnosis in Turkey, methods of treatment in Turkey, how to prevent them.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones Common - Unless you've had kidney stones, you probably know someone who does.

Kidney stones affect 1 in 11 people in the United States. Overall, about 19 percent of men and 9 percent of women in the United States will develop kidney stones by the time they reach the age of 70.

Kidney stones (also called nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis) consist of deposits of hard, rock-like crystals that form in the kidneys. The kidneys are two organs that filter waste and extra fluid from the human body.

Kidney stones usually form when there is too much waste and not enough fluid in the kidneys.

The process of removing stones from the kidneys into and through the ureter (the tube that carries urine to the bladder) can be painful. Some women say the pain is worse than the pain of childbirth, ranging in size from a grain of sand to the size of a pea, or even the size of a golf ball.

Stones inside the kidney
Stones inside the kidney

Types of kidney stones

Kidney stones have four main types.
Calcium stones make up about 70 to 80 percent of all kidney stones and are thus the most common. Calcium can bind with other substances in the urine, such as oxalate and phosphate, to form the stones.

Stones that do not contain calcium include:

  • Uric acid stones form when urine contains too much acid
  • gallstone Cysteine is formed when the concentration of cysteine acids in the urine increases
  • Struvite stones (septic) when a person has an infection, bacteria divert urine to the center of the hearts, which hinders the dissolution of some minerals such as magnesium ammonium phosphate and contributes to the formation of stones

Kidney stones can form in one or both kidneys, while in the kidneys the stone may not cause any symptoms.

Similarly, stones as small as a grain of sand may pass out of the body unnoticed, but if larger stones move down the ureter they can create a blockage that causes pain and a variety of other symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of kidney stones

Pain is a classic symptom of kidney stones. The pain is usually sharp and stabbing at the bottom of the rib cage and is felt on both sides of the flank. It may spread around the abdomen and in the groin area and can also travel to the genital area.

Pain from kidney stones often comes in the form of cramps, and you may feel better for a few hours before the pain returns.

In addition to pain, blood in the urine and a burning sensation during urination are other common symptoms of kidney stones, and some may feel vomiting and nauseated.

When these symptoms are accompanied by a fever, this is a danger sign and you must go to the hospital immediately for fear of a kidney infection or bleeding.

Other symptoms of kidney stones: frequent urination, a strong need to urinate, cloudy and foul-smelling urine.

Causes and risk factors for developing kidney stones

Some people are more likely to get kidney stones than others, for example men are more likely to get kidney stones than women, as well as people with a family history of kidney stones, those with a history of urinary tract infection, and those who have had kidney stones once From before.

You also have an increased risk of developing kidney stones if you take certain medications, including: diuretics, calcium-based antacids (medicines that reduce stomach acid), topiramate (an antispasmodic medicine) and indinavir (a treatment for HIV) Calcium and vitamin supplements may increase It also increases the risk of developing kidney stones.

Although medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can increase the risk of developing kidney stones, healthy people can also develop them.

There are many factors (causes) that may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Eating a diet rich in salt or sugar, low in calcium, and a lot of animal protein
  • Eating large amounts of foods rich in oxalate (such as nuts, spinach, chocolate, and certain types of tea)
  • Excessive consumption of soft drinks that contain phosphates and contain a high percentage of sugar
  • A deficiency of citrate, a substance that helps prevent stones from forming
  • Family history and genetic causes

How are kidney stones diagnosed in Turkey?

If your doctor suspects you may have kidney stones, he or she will likely ask about your personal and family medical history to determine if you are genetically susceptible to developing kidney stones or if you have any medical conditions that can increase your risk, such as diseases such as diabetes.

Your doctor may also ask about your eating habits, especially those that may increase your risk of developing stones.

Next, you may undergo a physical exam, set of images, and a urine and blood test to look for the underlying diagnosis and causative factors for the stones.

The most common imaging tests used to diagnose kidney stones are computed tomography (which produces 3-D images of the body) or ultrasound.

Finally, if the stone passes during urination, you must bring it to your doctor for analysis. It varies in size and shape, and may be as small as a grain of sand, or as large as a pea.

In general, kidney stones such as yellow or brown stones look solid and may have smooth or jagged edges.

Depending on the results, doctors may be able to determine the type of stone and then prescribe certain medications or recommend certain lifestyle changes that help prevent further recurrence.

Diagnosis of kidney stones on a simple abdominal x-ray
Abdominal X-ray showing shadow of kidney stones

How long do kidney stones stay in the body?

This varies depending on the size of the kidney stone, it can sometimes take up to six weeks to pass Small stones can take from a few days to a week to pass.

Treatment options and medications for kidney stones in Turkey

Kidney stones may not always need treatment. A small stone can pass through the urinary tract without intervention, but larger stones can block the ureter and cause pain and other symptoms.

Kidney stone pain can be severe at first and may require pain medication.

Drinking plenty of water (enough to produce at least two liters of urine each day) can help pass the stones. In addition, doctors may prescribe tamsulosin, a medication that relaxes the muscles of the ureters and helps the stones pass.

Sometimes surgery is the best option to get rid of kidney stones, depending on several factors.

Most urologists recommend surgical removal of the stones within six weeks (if they don't pass on their own) because of the risk of ureteral obstruction that can lead to complications, such as kidney failure, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bleeding.

Notably, patients who have a urinary tract infection at the same time as a kidney stone can develop sepsis, a life-threatening condition. If this happens, doctors usually place a tube in the ureter or kidney to drain the affected urine. Additionally, antibiotics are given to treat the infection.

An image showing the presence of some stones in various places in the urine system
This picture of the pelvis shows a number of stones in various places in the urinary system

Shock wave crushing

It is considered Shock wave crushing The best and least intrusive procedures.

In this procedure, the doctor uses a device that generates a high-energy shock wave directed at the kidney stones under imaging guidance, without incisions.

It is performed under general anesthesia and the operation takes about two hours. This technique is often used with small stones in the kidneys, so that once they are broken down, they are likely to pass.

Doctors may recommend this procedure when the stone is less than 2 cm in size. The patient may notice blood in the urine for a few days after the procedure, but usually they can return to work or their normal routine the next day.

It is considered one of the preferred procedures to break up kidney stones, but it is not always effective.

Shockwave lithotripsy device
Ultrasound stone crushing device


  • It is considered ureteroscopy Another minimally invasive procedure for patients is where the doctor places a small tube with a camera — called a ureteroscope — into the urethra, the passage that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
  • They then pass the endoscope into the bladder, and then into the ureter. Next, they pass a small laser device through the endoscope to break up the stones.
    This laser can crush 1 to 1.5 cm pebbles into sand-like particles. No incisions are needed, and this procedure is done under general anaesthesia. A stent, or rubber tube, may be placed in the ureter to allow particles to pass through the urinary system and out of the body. Patients who undergo ureteroscopy recover quickly. But they may have some blood in their urine for a few days after the procedure. Those who have a catheter visit their doctor about a week after the operation to have it removed.


Ureteroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure where a small camera is inserted into the ureter and then techniques to break up stones such as lasers and others can be used
Picture showing endoscopy of the ureter that restricts the removal of stones

Percutaneous disintegration of kidney stones

  • For stones larger than 2 cm, your doctor may recommend percutaneous or percutaneous removal Renal lithotripsy (PCNL). Both procedures require a small cut in the back to create a path to the kidney through which the nephroscope and other surgical tools are inserted. The doctor may use a laser or ultrasound machine that vibrates at a high frequency to break up the stones. The doctor inserts a stent into the ureter to help pass the fragments. Lithotripsy patients are advised to stay in the hospital for one night. We usually recommend that people avoid physical exertion for 10 days to 2 weeks, until the urinary tract has healed, they should see a doctor to have the stent removed later.
Percutaneous lithotripsy (PCNL)
This picture shows the method of breaking up stones through the skin

Robot-assisted laparoscopic nephrolithotomy in Turkey

Robotic-assisted laparoscopic nephrolithotomy could be another option for patients with large stones.

In this procedure, surgeons make small incisions in the abdomen through which they insert a laparoscope, a lighted tube with a camera at the end, and small surgical tools to access and open the kidneys to remove the stones.

These surgical instruments are controlled by the surgeon using a computer unit in the operating room. The small incisions used in robotic surgery help patients recover faster and experience less bleeding compared to the open procedure.
Additionally, with robotic surgery, patients can generally go home after a day or two in the hospital and back to work within a week.

Kidney stones require medical care and alternative medicine is not recommended.

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Prevention of kidney stones

Here are some lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones:

  • Drink plenty of fluids and drink plenty of water. It is one of the best ways to prevent kidney stones. You should drink the equivalent of 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Reduce salt and sugar
  • Getting adequate amounts of calcium salts
  • Cut down on animal proteins, such as beef and chicken
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Eat plenty of nutrient-rich foods to ensure you get enough potassium, magnesium, and citrate, all nutrients that may help prevent kidney stones.
  • Cut back on cola and soft drinks
  • reduce your intake of foods rich in oxalate, which include beans, berries, nuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes, wheat bran, and dark green vegetables such as spinach
  • The doctor may prescribe some medications that help with this

Complications of kidney stones

Kidney stones cause some serious complications. If left untreated, kidney stones can block the ureter, increasing the risk of developing pyelonephritis (a type of urinary tract infection) that requires immediate medical attention because it can cause permanent kidney damage or sepsis. .

Conditions related to kidney stones

If you think you may have a kidney stone, it's important to see your doctor. Your doctor can do imaging tests to look for other problems that may cause abdominal pain, such as appendicitis, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis, pelvic inflammatory disease and stomach ulcers.

Kidney stones are also often associated with a urinary tract infection, which develops when bacteria make their way to the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra and cause infection. People with a blockage in the urinary tract (including kidney stones) have a higher risk of developing a urinary tract infection. It is a result and a cause.

Kidney stones and urinary tract infections share some symptoms, such as abdominal pain, cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine; A constant need to urinate.

If a UTI spreads to your kidneys, you may also experience other symptoms associated with a kidney stone, such as lower back pain, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting.

Frequently Asked Questions

The location of kidney stone pain tends to change as the stone travels from the kidney and ureter to the bladder. People may feel pain in the sides, back, abdomen, groin, or front of either thigh. Men sometimes experience pain at the tip of the penis. The pain can appear as severe cramps and disappear within 10 to 30 minutes in the form of attacks.

Passing a kidney stone can be very painful, but it does not usually lead to serious problems or complications. Untreated kidney stones can block the urinary tract and increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection or increasing pressure on the kidneys. If you have a fever, chills, side or lower back pain, nausea or vomiting, see your doctor.

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