Blasting Kidney Stones

The kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and eliminating wastes from the body by directing them to the urinary bladder, which in turn excretes the waste through urine. When some certain waste products such as calcium oxalates, uric acid, cystine, and xanthine reach excessively high levels in the blood, the kidneys are able to filter them but are no longer able to pass them to the urinary bladder. This results to the accumulation of these substances in the kidneys, and while their amount increases, they gradually solidify, and after some time, turn into solid materials similar to stones.

These stones may continuously develop and solidify for many years, but an individual may not even know that he has them. The first developments in the formation of these stones are virtually symptom-free. However, an individual may sometimes observe the passage of tiny crystals in his urine, and these are most probably small stones that are not big enough to cause any pain in the urinary system. The appearance of the symptoms happens when a relatively large stone passes through the ureter, which in turn causes blockage of the urinary tract along with pain, blood in the urine, and infections.

The pain travels from the lower back to the lower abdomen all the way to the groin. This is a very uncomfortable feeling, and some women even say that passing large stones through the ureter can be even more painful than giving birth. Along with the pain, the bleeding and pus in the urine can be very disturbing, and fevers and chills are also present which may cause the total disability of the individual to work and live normally.

There are many ways to eliminate kidney stones, but there are some who still continuously develop them from time to time. There are some ways to completely eliminate stones to at least keep them away for a long period of time. One of these is blasting.

Blasting kidney stones makes use of the process called extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy or ESWL. This is not a surgical procedure, but it is quite serious and requires local anesthesia or sedatives. The process makes use of a shockwave that shatters the kidney stones so that they may be easily passed into the urinary tract and completely eliminated through urine.

When undergoing the procedure, you lie on a water-filled cushion and the doctor uses an x-ray to find the exact location of the stone. Once found, the doctor will send high-energy sound waves through the body. The operation itself is not painful, and once the stones have been shattered, they will naturally and easily pass through the urine.

The procedure is outpatient and takes only an hour, but what’s really hard to endure is the next few days to weeks of recovery. There may be apparent bruising on the body, and the passage of stones through urine may bring about pain and discomfort. Bleeding is also apparent in the urine. To easily pass the stones, a stent may be used to keep the ureter open.

There have been issues regarding the procedure and its side effects. While the side effects stated earlier may be short-term and easy to endure, some patients that have undergone the procedure have reported having diabetes or hypertension after they had ESWL. This is truly possible, as the shock waves sent to the body have a damaging effect to the insulin-producing cells which results to diabetes.

It is not clear how shock waves cause hypertension, but it is related to the damage of the kidneys themselves during ESWL. Because hypertension can cause many other health problems like stroke, heart attacks, and kidney damage, the procedure is not very advisable, especially for people who already have the said health problems.

Clinical procedures should always be left as last resort to any medical problem, and other treatments, preferably natural ones, should be used instead. As always, altering the lifestyle and living healthy are very effective methods in curing any disease.