In today’s lifestyle, developing kidney stones is quite common, and without treatment or preventive measures, recurrence is highly likely within 5 to 10 years. You are prone to certain types of kidney stones based on your diet and family history, and every type has a distinct cause and remedy. The first treatment for any type of kidney stone is to get them to pass through the urinary tract with the help of medications. Larger stones cause more pain and irritation, thus need some procedures before they are removed.
Diagnostic Tests for Kidney Stones
- Physical Test — Initially, a physical test is carried on to get the presence of stones
- Tests — Blood tests, urine tests and imaging exams are done in order to determine the presence, type and location of kidney stones.
- Blood Tests — Initial blood tests include assessment of the blood sample for kidney function, signs of any infection of urine (or UTI), test factors that would have contributed for the formation of kidney stones (high calcium levels, parathyroid hormone, and uric acid).
- Urine Tests — A sample of urine is tested for the presence of crystals that could lead to the formation of kidney stones. A sample of urine could also be sent for culture to over-rule the presence of a urinary tract infection. The next option being, collection of 24 hour or more of urine that can help the doctor to determine additional information about the presence of other metabolic factors that could cause kidney stones in the urinary tract.
- Ultrasound — An ultrasound scan could be advised to evaluate kidneys, bladder and ureters, which are tubes that carry urine from kidneys to the bladder. This scan also helps your doctor to check for any stones that may not have passed, or monitor stone growth, or screen for recurrence. This has a handheld device called a transducer, that is placed on the abdomen, the sound waves produced create images of the pelvic organs.
- Kidney-Ureter-Bladder X-ray — This X-ray of the abdomen and pelvis helps your doctor determine whether a kidney stone has passed, grown or returned.
- CT Scan — Your doctor may be able to determine the size, location of kidney stone and also evaluate the anatomy of the urinary tract. A regular CT scan can provide images of the abdomen and pelvis(minimizing exposure to radiation), while a dual-energy CT scan can help determine the kidney stone type.
- MRI Scans — MRI scans use magnetic waves to create computerized two or three-dimensional images. This is used for pregnant women to safely diagnose kidney stones without the risk of any exposure to radiation.