Diagnosis of Kidney Stones in Men
The incidence of kidney stones in men has seen a rise in the recent times. The process of identifying a disease from the signs and symptoms, conducting investigative analysis, and a conclusive statement from such an analysis plays a vital role in applying correct techniques for effective treatment.
Diagnosing a disease condition first begins with obtaining a complete history of the patient, which will include past sicknesses, a detailed family history, history of any allergies or complications had previously, and the like. Then, a physical examination will be done to rule out any other urological or gastrointestinal problems. In men, testicular problems, prostatitis, tumor and such things similar need to be ruled out, since these problems present with similar symptoms to that of kidney stones.
For an analysis of urine, urine samples will be collected from the patient. This is vital to identify crystals, red or white blood cells that indicate infection, presence of bacteria, as well as the color and volume of urine produced by the person. If the urine alkalinity levels are high and microorganisms are present, it indicates a urinary tract infection. In case the urine pH is too low, and excess in certain mineral crystals, these minerals are considered to be used for the formation of stones. Other disease conditions that can result in low or high urine pH need to be first ruled out or treated well before venturing into treating kidney stone disease to perceive successful results.
Plain x-ray is the preliminary method used to diagnose kidney stones. Also referred to as kidneys, ureters, and bladder, KUB x-ray is a frontal imaging of the abdomen with the patient in supine position. But using this technique to assess the structures of the urinary tract is considered to be difficult, even if a standing view of the abdomen is taken. With bowel gas present, it is difficult to detect the presence of stones, which are usually depicted as radiopaque shadows on the x-ray films.
For a better assessment, an intravenous/retrograde pyelogram will follow this. This involves introduction of a contrast material that will enhance the structures within more clearly on x-ray images. The dye introduction is either done intravenously or through a catheter inserted into the system via the urethra. The images will require to be taken at periodic intervals, for if any obstruction is present, the flow of dye will be delayed. This diagnostic technique cannot be carried out in those individuals who are allergic to contrast dye.
The technique of choice today by most physicians, and which is replacing intravenous/retrograde pyelogram is CT urography. The computed tomography procedure will provide cross-sectional images of the urinary tract, enabling to find even small stones embedded within the system. An unenhanced spiral computed tomography will require the patient to lie supine on the examining table above which is an x-ray device placed. Once properly positioned, the CT scanning device will revolve around the person, with several clicking and whirring sounds as the images are processed. This radiography technique constructs three-dimensional images of the urinary tract, giving proper visualization of the entire system to detect stones. Any abnormalities in the abdomen and pelvic structures can be noted as well.
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