Kidney stones are extremely common with 5% of the population developing these at some stage in their life.
What are Kidney stones?
Kidney stones are formed from waste products carried in the blood which collect in the kidneys, over time these waste products can build up and form a hard lump (kidney stone). Many small stones can be passed naturally in the urine undetected, however in certain cases due to the size or position of the stone this may not be possible.
Many kidney stones are too small to cause symptoms and will pass naturally, larger stones can get stuck in the ureter (tube that connects the kidney to the bladder)
This can cause symptoms such as:
- severe pain or aching on one or both sides of your lower back or groin
- spasms of excruciating pain – these usually start in your back below your ribs and move down and around to the front of your abdomen
- blood in your urine (haematuria)
- feeling Nauseous/ vomiting
- needing to pass urine more often or very urgently; it may also sting as you pass urine
Your GP may carry out a urine test and a blood test to check your kidney function, you may also be referred to a urologist for further investigations such as a CT scan, x-ray or ultrasound to see if you do have kidney stones, if this is the case the imaging will show the size and position of the stone to determine the best treatment option for you.
The kidney stone treatment is called ‘Lithotripsy’ (Shockwave) which comes from the Greek words ‘Lithos’ which means ‘stone’ and ‘Tripsis’ which means ‘to break’. This non-invasive treatment using a specialised X-ray and Ultrasound machine sends sound waves into the body to break up the stone which is then passed out of the body naturally. Lithotripsy is up to 99% *effective in breaking stones up to 20mm in size (*NHS Choices). This 45 minute treatment allows the patient to be treated without the need of any general anaesthetic or overnight stays in hospital. A course of up to 3 treatments may be needed to break up the stone. This treatment may not be suitable for all patients, your consultant will discuss your treatment options with you based on several factors.
If you are not suitable for shockwave treatment, other treatment options are available and this will be discussed with you at your consultation.
To find out more about shockwave treatment visit www.impactmedical.co.uk or call Impact Medical on 0151 5222520.