Struvite Kidney Stones Treatment for both men & women
Of all kidney stone types, struvite (also known as Staghorn stones ) stones variety is less common and generally occurs among the adult female population. This type of kidney stone also goes by the name of triple phosphate stone because of its composition namely magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate. Children, women, and the elderly are more prone to developing urinary tract infections and struvite stone is produced from the bacterial waste products formed during the state of infection. It is perceived that urinary tract infection along with the occurrence of struvite stone in the kidney is a harmful health condition, serious enough to warrant immediate treatment.
Causes of Staghorn Kidney Stones
An enzyme called urease is produced by the infection causing bacteria that causes chemical decomposition of urea into ammonium and hydroxyl ions. In a situation where there is an increase in the above mentioned compounds and the urine is of a high alkaline quality, it provides the right environment for the formation of struvite stone. This kidney stone type can grow rapidly and become quite large but with little or no symptoms.
Symptoms of Struvite Kidney Stones
Since these stones are formed when an infection occurs, the individual should be alarmed when he or she experiences lower abdominal or back pain along with symptoms like fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. The pain may not be sharp, stabbing in nature; but a dull achiness that need not necessarily rise and ebb in waves. Because of the infection, the urine will appear cloudy with a foul odor emitting from it during urination. Blood in urine may also occur when the inner lining of the urinary tract becomes damaged from the sharp edges of the stones during its movement.
Diagnose – Tests for Struvite Kidney Stones
A non-contrast CT scan will help determine the presence of kidney stones if the individual shows all or few symptoms. Urine samples collected should be tested for pH levels. Struvite stones are encouraged to be formed while urease is produced and this enzyme increases the alkaline levels in urine. A pH level of 7.2 or more in urine suggests the presence of struvite stones.
It is of utmost importance to remove all existing struvite stones from the urinary tract for even if a small bit remains, it can start growing with bacteria trapped within. Shock wave lithotripsy may be performed to break the stones into tiny bits, enough to be flushed out of the system on its own without any intervention. If this does not produce successful results, percutaneous nephrolithotomy procedure may be done to remove the stones.
Urine should be kept free of bacteria in individuals who are prone to forming struvite kidney stones. Along with antibiotic medication, the individual may consume cranberry juice. Cranberry makes the urine acidic which is unfavorable for bacteria to thrive. Also, the tannins present in them naturally discourage the bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract, enabling to prevent urinary traction infections. Consume one tall glass of pure cranberry juice at bedtime every day to keep UTI at bay.
Likewise, blueberries have substances that prevent the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. Consume whole blueberries or blueberry extract to eliminate bacteria from the system through voiding of urine.
Take necessary steps to keep repetitive UTIs under check to prevent struvite kidney stone formation if you are prone to developing them.