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Kidney Stones during pregnancy: Various treatment options and prevention

  • Posted on- Nov 12, 2015
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Kidney stones is an uncommon illness during pregnancy. The majority of stones consist of calcium-containing crystals. As one of the most common causes of abdominal pain in pregnant patients in the second and third trimesters, kidney stones usually pass without the need for treatment. However, since they have been associated with a higher risk of premature labour and in general are more difficult to manage during pregnancy, it is important to be aware of possible treatment options.

Doctors however, recommend that pregnant women deal with kidney stones while they are still manageable (at early stages). The safest and the most effective way to do this is to use natural remedies for kidney stones. However, if you are pregnant, you should consult your doctor first before using any natural remedy or technique to take care of kidney stones.

Natural ways to get rid of kidney stones during pregnancy

One of the most common ways to deal with kidney stones while pregnant is to drink more water. In fact, this is one of the most widely recommended natural remedy that will not just dilute the urine from minerals and organic salts but also help move small stones from the kidney to the ureter and towards the bladder and out of the body. It is recommended for men, women and pregnant women to drink more than 8 glasses of water and aside from water, you may also eat fruits with high water content like watermelons, peaches, melons and blueberries. Refrain from drinking commercially prepared fruit juices since these are just made of organic salts and minerals that may only cause stones to enlarge.


Another natural remedy for kidney stones while a woman is pregnant is lemon juice. Lemons have natural properties that can help break down moderate-sized kidney stones. Drinking lemon juice can help reduce pain that is associated with when stones are dislodged in the ureter and in the intricate areas of the kidney. Lemon juice is safe and effective and is often combined with olive oil to break down mineral stones faster. Patients are also recommended to eat asparagus along with lemon juice for kidney stones since this vegetable can help open the urethra to allow passing of kidney stones easily through the urine.


Pregnant women who are in the last trimester of their pregnancy will tend to urinate more frequently since their large belly places pressure on the urinary bladder. This however becomes painful for women who have kidney stones since the pressure also causes the small bits of stones to dislodge into the bladder as well as the urethra. It’s important that women who are diagnosed with kidney stones seek help immediately. The best alternative treatment of kidney stones for pregnant women is natural and home remedies, since these do not cause side effects compared to other remedies. Immediate treatment is necessary to prevent kidney and bladder infection which could affect the health of the developing baby.


Infection may lead to terrible complications and may even be a threat to the unborn child’s life if not treated immediately. In such cases following treatment methods may be used:


Ureteroscopy


Traditionally, urologists have supported ureteroscopy (breaking up the stone), or the placement of a stent or tube to rapidly drain the affected area around the stone or obstruction. A ureteroscopy involves the passage of a thin tube called a ureteroscope up the urinary tract to the stone, which allows a doctor to look at the stone and make a more certain diagnosis. Instruments are then used to remove the stone or break it up. It is becoming widely accepted as a first-line approach, and has been found to be safe and effective during all stages of pregnancy. However, large stones (greater than 1 cm) cannot be treated with this method.


Stent or Tube Placement


A ureteral stent (like a hollow tube) or a nephrostomy tube may need to be placed in the ureter (tubes that carry urine) in order to drain urine and possibly stone particles. Minimal or no anaesthesia may be used, and this procedure is usually successful. Replacement of the tubes and urinary discomfort can cause problems. Definitive treatment of the stones can usually be delayed until after delivery.


Other forms of treatment


Open surgery with general anaesthesia to remove the stone, and shockwave therapy which to break up the stone, can usually be used in patients who are not pregnant. However, they are not considered to be safe during pregnancy because of risks to the foetus.


Prevention of kidney stones during pregnancy

Concerns about possible health risks of surgery to remove a stone, when a woman is pregnant, can restrict the surgical options available. Pregnant women should consult with their gynaecologist about the safest treatments for kidney stones. One of the easiest and significant steps a woman can take to help prevent the development of a kidney stone, during pregnancy, is to maintain high water intake. This will help dilute the urine and minimize the chances of the formation of a stone.

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