Calculi (Urinary Tract Stones)- Urology

Synonym: Urolithiasis

Definition of Calculi

Calculi are small solid masses that can form in the kidneys or any part of the urinary tract, such as ureter, bladder, or urethra. The crystals of the stone mainly comprise calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, uric acid, cysteine, and struvite.

They cause severe pain in the side and back and painful urination. If an infection has developed due to the calculi, you may have fever and chills.

You may not need any specific treatment if the stones are small. In such cases, taking pain medications and drinking plenty of fluids can help. Nonetheless, large stones may need to be removed through surgery or other methods.

Diagnosis of Calculi

Your doctor may order several diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.

Blood tests

These tests measure the amount of calcium, uric acid, and phosphorus in your blood. Persons with kidney stones usually have too much of these substances in their blood. Besides, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine tests help determine the health of your kidneys.

Urine analysis

This test examines your urine to determine if it contains the stone-causing crystals.

Checking the type of stone by analyzing passed stones.

Imaging tests

These may include an X-ray scan of the stomach region, ultrasound of the kidneys, and CT scan of the kidneys and bladder.

Simple X-ray scans may not show small stones while CT scan is very sensitive and shows even tiny stones. To get more details about the stones, your doctor may order a special X-ray scan called intravenous pyelogram (IVP).

Treatment of Calculi

You may be able to get rid of small stones by drinking plenty of fluids. Pain medications help relieve mild pain. Moreover, your doctor may also ask you to take a medication that relaxes the muscles of the ureter.

However, persons with large stones need specific treatments. These include:

Breaking up stones by shock waves.

Surgical removal of stones.



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About the Author:
Shailesh Sharma is a registered pharmacist and medical content writer from Nepal. He enjoys digging into latest findings of research and strongly believes in evidence-based health information. He graduated from Pokhara University School of Health and Allied Sciences and was engaged in clinical pharmacy and academia in various regions of Nepal for almost 9 years. Shailesh also serves as Project Manager of Graduate Pharmacists’ Association, Nepal (GPAN).
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