Kidney stones are among the top 20 most painful medical conditions, and may be avoided through a healthy diet and lifestyle and can be effectively treated by a urologist if acted on early.
Stones develop when chemicals in the urine such as calcium or uric acid form crystals. When these crystals enter the ureter they are known as ureteral stones while the hard deposits that form in parts of the renal pelvis are called kidney stones, according to Dr Craig Mamitele from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria.
Some stones are as small as a grain of sand and pass through urine without detection; others may be as big as a golf ball and although seldom fatal, the agony experienced when they get stuck in the urinary system has sometimes been compared to the pain of childbirth.
Mamitele says causes of kidney stones include genetics, a diet too rich in animal protein, oxalate, sodium and sugar, not enough liquid intake (particularly water), health conditions such as gout, diabetes or obesity, and certain medication such as calcium supplements.
“Kidney stones may lead to kidney damage and urinary infections. Symptoms include excruciating pain in the lower back or side of the abdomen, pain when urinating or blood in the urine. If you experience any of these, consult a urologist immediately,” added Mamitele.
He explained that there were various forms of treatment, including shockwave therapy to break down the stone or surgery to remove bigger stones – all offered by The Urology Hospital which comprises over 20 urologists and the latest technology to treat all major urological conditions.
Contact the Urology Hospital on 021 423-4000.
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About the Urology Hospital, Pretoria
The Urology Hospital is the only urology centre of excellence in Africa. With more than 20 urologists under one roof, using the latest in highly specialised technology as well as specialised urology trained nursing staff, it offers unparalleled expertise in its field. In addition, the hospital maintains its association with the academic world to ensure ongoing research, medical education and training and development in the field of urology.
The hospital prides itself on being at the forefront of technology. It was the first hospital in South Africa to perform robotic surgery, implement a robotic pharmacy picking system and now has one of only a handful of 3D laparoscopic surgical units in South Africa.
The hospital has undergone major renovations and now offers 125 beds and seven theatres.
The Urology Hospital not only cares about patients and staff, but also for the community, undertaking numerous Corporate Social Investment initiatives throughout the year. The hospital and staff work together to assist selected charities, including donations to The Clothing Bank, uniforms for Sunnyside Primary School and stationery for Balebogeng Primary School.