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Kidney Stones Diagnosis

MEDICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA 
Kidney Stones Diagnosis
Kidney Stones
Causes and Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Treatment

Many kidney stones go unnoticed until they cause acute symptoms such as pain when a stone passes through the ureter. Painful as they are, kidney stones usually cause no permanent damage. Nonetheless, it's important to identify what type of kidney stone is present and why it developed.

Medical exams
If your doctor suspects kidney stones, s/he may ask for a urine sample or take blood to find out what caused your stone. A blood analysis can identify excess calcium or uric acid. Furthermore, a 24-hour collection of urine checks whether you're excreting too many stone-forming minerals or too few inhibiting substances. Your doctor may request one or more of the following diagnostic tests in order to diagnose kidney stones:

Abdominal X-ray - An abdominal X-ray can visualize most kidney stones and can monitor changes in the size of a stone over time.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan - CT scans help evaluate acute kidney stones quickly to identify stones, regardless of composition.

Kidney stone analysis - The best way for a doctor to find out what kind of stone you have is to test the stone itself. If you are passing a stone, your doctor may ask you to urinate through a strainer so that the stone can be recovered and analyzed.

Intravenous pyelography (excretory urogram) - This study helps determine the location of a kidney stone in the urinary system and can define the degree of blockage caused by a stone. During the procedure, a contrast dye is injected into a vein followed by a series of X-rays as the dye moves through the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

Ultrasound - This diagnostic technique combines high-frequency radio waves and computer processing to view internal organs. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. Ultrasound imaging, however, may overlook small stones, especially if they're located in a ureter or the bladder.

Uric acid test - The uric acid test is used to learn whether the body is breaking down cells too quickly or not getting rid of uric acid quickly enough. This test has no single number that identifies an abnormal result. A lab report includes a range of numbers (reference range) that identifies what is expected for you based on your age, sex, and the method used in that laboratory.

Sometimes kidney stones are discovered in the course of looking for the cause of chronic urinary tract infections or blood in the urine. Regardless of how a kidney stone is identified, tests will help your doctor find ways for you to avoid stones in the future. Some underlying causes of kidney stones can be treated to prevent new stones from forming. In fact, the therapy your doctor gives you depends on the type of stone you have. To learn more about treatment for kidney stones, continue reading here.

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Tags: kidney stones, kidney, stones, urine sample, infections, ultrasound, treatment, procedure, analysis, symptoms, chronic, bladder, kidneys, urine, cells, acid, sex, kidney stones treatment, kidney stones causes, avoid kidney stones
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