Urolithiasis is the most common reason for visiting a urologist. In this case, calculi are formed in the urinary tract, and simply speaking, stones. Even if they do not disturb their owners, the consequences are very serious. And if the stones “go”, it will not seem enough.
Our expert – urologist, oncologist, doctor of the highest qualification category, senior researcher of the National Medical Research Center for Surgery. A. V. Vishnevsky of the Ministry of Health of Russia, Candidate of Medical Sciences Alexander Pranovich.
In USA, over the past ten years, the prevalence of urolithiasis (UCD) has not only increased (by about a quarter), but continues to grow. Today it affects from 1 to 3% peoples. It used to be that urolithiasis selects predominantly older men. But as recent studies have shown, the age of patients is gradually decreasing (today among patients people are 20–50 years old), and gender differences are being erased.
Often the first symptom of a formidable disease manifests itself against the background of apparent well-being, because for the time being, the disease does not manifest itself in any way. Therefore, a sudden attack of acute pain in the lumbar region – renal colic – usually takes patients by surprise. The pain occurs due to the fact that a stone that has started moving sharply disrupts the outflow of urine from the kidney through the urinary tract and blocks the lumen of the ureter.
Even if the stone came out safely on its own, you should immediately go to the urologist as soon as possible. The same should be done if the stone turns out to be an accidental find. In the absence of clinical manifestations of urolithiasis, stones are most often found on ultrasound during preventive examinations or examinations for other diseases.
First of all, the doctor will make a diagnosis. To detect stones, determine their size and location, it is often enough to perform computed tomography. It is much more difficult to determine the causes of stone formation. This requires an in-depth study of metabolic processes in the body, anatomical and physiological features of the urinary system, etc.
Abuse of products that increase the acidity of urine (acute, sour, salty), an abundance of protein in food (meat dishes), and sweet soda can provoke urolithiasis.
The stone is formed in the kidney gradually from microscopic particles and can reach a large size. But there is no connection between the size of the stone and the severity of the course of the disease. For example, even a tiny stone with a diameter of about 3 mm can get stuck in the ureter, and a large one (2–2.5 cm) sometimes lies motionless in the kidney itself, does not cause pain, does not threaten the development of acute pyelonephritis and other complications. But even if the stone lay quietly for years, without causing any inconvenience, this will not save the patient from problems. The late symptoms of urolithiasis include such terrible conditions as chronic pyelonephritis with wrinkling of the kidneys, chronic renal failure and complete loss of organ function, when life can be saved only thanks to hemodialysis – an artificial kidney.
Various purulent processes (abscess, carbuncle, pyonephrosis) are also late manifestations of ICD. It is known that with large stones, patients are more likely to suffer from arterial hypertension than with small ones.
With different sizes of stones, there can be different complications. Therefore, it is necessary to be treated on time, without waiting for a “rockfall”. And, of course, do not forget about prevention.
Renal colic is not only painful, but also potentially dangerous. In certain situations, without medical help, the patient can get such a complication as obstructive pyelonephritis, and even lose a kidney. You should immediately consult a doctor if during colic the temperature rises above 37.7 ° C, and taking painkillers does not reduce pain. With such symptoms, the stone most likely will not slip through on its own.
Factors that increase the risk of urolithiasis
Heredity. Those who have had cases of KSD in the family make up 50% of the total number of cases. Such patients should undergo preventive examinations by a urologist. For screening, it is enough to do an ultrasound of the urinary tract once a year and take a general urine test.
Anatomical features (anomalies in the development of the kidney and urinary tract). They will be detected by a routine ultrasound. Such people should also be observed prophylactically by a urologist.
Endocrine diseases and chronic urinary tract infections. In this case, the best prevention is the timely treatment of acute diseases and the control of chronic diseases.
Frequent consumption of harmful drinks. This is not only about alcohol, which increases the acidity of urine and impairs metabolic processes in the body, but also about coffee, strong tea (they dehydrate), as well as sweet soda and other unhealthy or low-quality liquids. Scientists have proven that if you drink sweet soda less than 1 time per week, the risk of stone formation will be reduced by a factor of three.
Insufficient consumption of clean water. A day is supposed to drink 30 ml of fluid for every kilogram of body weight. In the heat and during physical activity, the amount of fluid should be increased. Whether a person drinks enough can be judged by urine. If it is dark in color and has a strong smell, it is bad. Urine in a healthy person should be light yellow, odorless. It is necessary to allocate it per day at least 2 liters.
Excess weight. By increasing physical activity and avoiding excessive food intake, you can significantly reduce the risk of illness.
Monotonous food. It has been observed that passionate lovers of products containing oxalic acid (spinach, lettuce, rhubarb, celery, parsley, tomato) have an increased risk of oxalate stones, meat eaters more often have urate stones, and milk fans have phosphate stones. However, an unbalanced diet in itself does not cause KSD, but only increases the risk of its development in the presence of metabolic disorders.
Dependence of urolithiasis on smoking or stress has not yet been identified. However, perhaps only for now.