Some simple ways to keep kidney stones at bay

Exclusive interview with Guwahati-based senior urologist Dr. Bikas Bawri on the problem of kidney stones

Kidney stone disease is a common problem that afflicts many people.  Drinking too little water, obesity, weight loss surgery, or eating food with too much salt or sugar are some of the causes of this disease.  Guwahati-based urologist Dr. Bikash Bawri in an interview with Fit Northeast has discussed some ways to prevent kidney stone disease.
Fit Northeast: In which area of the entire urinary system do stones form?
Dr Bawri: Stones are mostly formed in the kidneys and then they gradually move down to the urethra through the ureters and bladders.
Fit Northeast: Under some situations, we are forced to hold our urine for a long time. What is its impact on our body or what are its risk factors?
Dr Bawri: We see that most of the females face this problem. This might cause urinary tract infections. So if it continues on a regular basis, it might lead to acute urinary tract infection. Recurrent UTIs are the most common causes of urinary stones.
Fit Northeast: What are the causes of stone formations?
Dr Bawri: There might be multiple causes of stone formation. The hereditary factor is an important factor. If one had stone somewhere in his lifetime, there are chances that there might be stone formation again. The amount of water intake also plays an important role. If one is dehydrated or his water intake is very less, he might be more susceptible to kidney stones. There are some dietary factors too. If a person takes too much animal protein or more salt and sugar, then there are chances of increased stone formation. There are also many diseases that increase the chances of stone formation hyper uric acid, hyper para-thyroidism, gout etc.
Fit Northeast: How common are cases of kidney stones and what is their status in the Northeast?
Dr Bawri: Usually, we can say that it can range from 3 to 5 % of the population. In the Northeast, the number of patients having kidney stones is high. It might be due to dietary factors or any of the above-mentioned factors.
Fit Northeast: What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Dr Bawri: The patients generally come to us with pain, which is the most common symptom of stone diseases. But the patient may not have any symptoms with the stones inside, which is very dangerous. Other common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine, increased frequency and urgency to go to the washroom, inability to pass urine, fever.
We should be hydrated adequately. For adults, the water intake should be 3-4 litres per day.
Fit Northeast: How are the stones diagnosed?
Dr Bikas Bawri
Image: Dr Bikas Bawri
Dr Bawri: The first and foremost investigation is sonography. It is supplemented with an X-ray of the KUVB (kidney, ureter and bladder) region. Then the CT Scan of the KUB section is also performed if necessary. Renal function tests are very important and some blood tests are prescribed depending on the case.
Fit Northeast: What are the treatments for kidney stones?
Dr Bawri: The treatment modulations among the patients vary. If one comes to us with acute pain, nausea, vomiting and he cannot stay with the pain. Then we directly go for a CT Scan of the KUB region and we see where is the stone located and see how can it be treated.
If the stone is small and can be easily detected. If the size of the stone is less than 2 cm and not causing much pain or other symptoms, we go for some extra investigations. The treatment varies with the size and its location in the kidneys. According to the size and location, the treatment will vary. The treatment procedures include GSWL, lithotripsy, systo-lithotripsy, PCNL(key hole surgery) and RIRS (scarless surgery).
Fit Northeast: What is the importance of stone analysis after the surgery?
Dr Bawri: After the surgery, we see the content of the stone that whether it is calcium or oxalate or phosphate or uric acid. After looking at the content, we can ask the patient to follow a particular diet plan to restrict the re-current occurring of stone formation.
Fit Northeast: What are the long-term consequences of having a kidney stone?
De Bawri: If the stones are removed or treated incorrectly time, then the chance of recurrent stone occurring is very less. If the issue of kidney stones is ignored or left untreated for a longer time, there are chances that one might have to lose their kidneys.
Fit Northeast: What are the ways by which we can keep away stone formations in kidneys?
Dr Bawri: We should be hydrated adequately. For adults, the water intake should be 3-4 litres per day. Adequate hydration is very important, reduce the intake of animal protein, should have more fruits having citric acids, cut down amounts of extra salt and sugar as much as possible.

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