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Urinary Stones

Urinary Stones are actually minerals built up in the bladder that have coalesced into small "stones."

What are Urinary Stones?

Urinary Stones are actually minerals built up in the bladder that have coalesced into small "stones." Urinary stones are more common among older men, but reports of women contracting this condition is increasing nowadays. Having urinary stones can be a painful and uncomfortable ordeal. Thankfully, there are several treatment options that are readily available.

Here at the International Urology, Fertility and Gynaecology Centre, we specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary stones; on top of a wide range of treatment services for disorders and diseases concerning the urological system.

How do I know if I have Urinary Stones?

The symptoms of urinary stones may not be felt right away, especially if they are very small. However, once they start acting up, you will be able to tell that something’s wrong.

Common symptoms of urinary stones that you may encounter include:

  • Discomfort and pain while urinating
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Urinating more frequently than usual
  • Dark-coloured or abnormally cloudy urine
  • Blood mixed with urine

What causes Urinary Stones?

If you are experiencing most of the symptoms listed above, then you most likely have urinary stones. However, what could have caused it?

Urinary stones usually form when normal chemicals in urine that typically prevent this condition, have stopped working. Moreover, your diet plays a large part in the situation – what you eat and drink may actually cause the formation of stones in your bladder and kidneys.

Some food that can cause urinary stones include:

  • Food high in oxalate such as beets, okra, chocolate, sweet potatoes, peanuts, soybean crackers, rhubarb, and spinach
  • High intake of calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products

Nevertheless, urinary stones are more often caused by other underlying health problems, such as an enlarged prostate. Here are some health problems that are known to cause urinary stones:

  • Metabolic disorders such as hyperparathyroidism, hyperuricosuria, Cystinuria and hyperoxaluria
  • Kidney disorders such as cystic kidney diseases
  • Hereditary disease such as renal tubular acidosis – this is a condition wherein the kidneys fail to acidify the urine.
  • Inflammation of the bladder or Urinary tract infection – this can increase the chances of stones forming within the urinary tract
  • Prostate gland enlargement – If a man’s prostate is enlarged, it can disrupt the normal flow of urine within the urinary tract
  • Damaged Neurogenic bladder – this may hinder the normal flow and release of urine from the bladder

How do you treat Urinary Stones?

If your urinary stones are detected early while they are still small, you can simply drink more water, more regularly. This is usually enough to get rid of them naturally.

However, if the stones are already too large to pass naturally, treatment for urinary stones will then involve breaking them down into smaller pieces or removing them surgically. Here are several treatments employed to remove urinary stones:

  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy - Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is a procedure that uses shock waves in the treatment of urinary stones in the bladder. These shock waves break down stones into small pieces.
  • Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery - Retrograde Internal Surgery (RIRS) is a procedure done through a fibre-optic endoscope. The fibre-optic endoscope can pinpoint the location of urinary stones and kidney stones.
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy - Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is a procedure known as stone extraction. PCNL is a treatment technique for larger stones.
  • Laparoscopy - Laparoscopy is a non-invasive surgical procedure that uses small incisions in the treatment of urinary stones.
  • Laser Lithotripsy - Laser Lithotripsy is a procedure done mostly in the lower ureteral stones using a ureteroscope. The ureteroscope breaks the urinary stones into tiny pieces. These will eventually exit the body.

The treatment of Urinary Stones is one of the services offered by the International Urology, Fertility & Gynaecology Centre. We also offer other specialised urology services and treatments including ESWL, retrograde intrarenal surgery, and laparoscopy.

If you suspect that urinary stones are affecting your day-to-day activities, give us a call or set an appointment with Singapore Kidney Specialist, Dr Michael Wong at +65 6838 1212 today.

Stone Issue

Kidney stones are crystals of dissolved minerals in urine which are found inside the urinary system. They vary in sizes from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. They are formed from the dissolved minerals in urine. As the kidney produces urine and flushes the urinary system, there is a tendency for the stones to move and to pass out through the urinary tract.

Sometimes, when the crystals or stones become too large (about 2–3mm), they will obstruct the urine stream and cause acute pain during urination. As the stone rubs against the inner lining of the urinary tract, it can damage the tract and cause blood to flow into the urine. The injured site can become a nidus (or catalyst) for recurrent urinary infection. At times, the stones can cause kidney damage and failure due to recurrent infection and obstruction.

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Dr Michael Wong

Medical Director & Senior Consultant Urologist
FAMS (Urology), FICS (USA), FRCS (Edinburgh),
M Med (Surgery), MBBS (S’pore)

Dr Michael Wong is a Senior Consultant Urologist who is internationally recognized for his surgical expertise and academic contribution to the field of Urology, in particular the subspecialized field of minimally invasive Endourology.

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