CHENNAI: With the kathiri sun really bearing down on us, urinary stone disease is the commonest problem which people face during the summer. Over the recent past, possibly due to global warming, occurences of urinary stones are on the rise and are seen right through the year but still summer represents a pinnacle in this incidence.
Though plenty of facts and myths are written about the dietary influence in formation of stones, exposure to heat and dehydration by far are the commonest reasons for stone formation. The basic reason remains the inability of the kidney to dissolve all the metabolic salt provided to it in the consumed water.
How do you beat it? Simple. Add more water to it. Salt gets dissolved. This is the fundamental principle in advising patients to drink more water.
Having said that it has to be understood that some individuals are more prone to stone formation than others due to reasons other than diet and dehydration. Hence we at this point in time probably don’t have a complete understanding of the reasons for stone formation. We certainly know less than we don’t.
Common Symptoms that need urological attention:
- Pain in the tummy or while passing urine.
- Pain and vomiting.
- Passing blood in the urine.
Initial evaluation always remains an Ultrasonography. It is simple, non invasive, easily available and relatively inexpensive. For complex scenarios CT scan is used based on ultrasound findings.
Most stones in the urinary tract are managed by conservative means. Larger stones that continue to cause symptoms and stones that threaten the function of the kidneys are to be dealt by treatment methods ranging from Shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) to Endoscopic stone surgery. The advances in technology have meant that open surgeries for stones are of historical interest only.
- Avoid heat exposure if possible.
- Restrict intake of meat, Chocolates, nuts and carbonated beverages.
- Avoid dehydration. Take 2 glasses( 250 ml per glass) of water with each meal and 2 in between each meal which makes it 10 glasses (2.5 litres)
- The urine that is passed has to be nearly clear and un hurting to the passage. This implies adequate hydration.
- If you have tendency for stone formation an annual ultrasound during summer is advisable.
(The writer is a Consultant Urologist at Fortis Malar Hospital)