Not sure what a ureter stone is? You’ve probably become aware of kidney stones, or you might understand someone who’s had a kidney stone. You might even have experienced one yourself. A ureter stone, likewise known as a ureteral stone, is basically a kidney stone. It’s a kidney stone that has moved from the kidney into another part of the urinary tract. The ureter is the tube that links the kidney to the bladder. It’s about the same width as a small vein. It’s the most typical location for a kidney stone to become trapped and to trigger discomfort. Depending upon the size and area, it can hurt a lot, and it may need medical intervention if it doesn’t pass, triggers intractable discomfort or vomiting, or if it’s associated with fever or infection.
Urinary tract stones are fairly typical. According to the American Urological Association, they impact nearly 9 percent of the U.S. population.
This short article will take a more detailed look at ureter stones, including the signs, causes, and treatment options. If you want to know how to prevent these stones, we’ve covered that, too.
What is a Ureter Stone?
Kidney stones are clusters of crystals that typically form in the kidneys. However these masses can develop and move anywhere along your urinary tract, which includes the ureters, urethra, and bladder.
A ureter stone is a kidney stone inside among the ureters, which are televisions that connect the kidneys to the bladder.
The stone will have formed in the kidney and entered the ureter with the urine from one of the kidneys.
Sometimes, these stones are extremely small. When that’s the case, the stones may travel through your ureter and into your bladder, and ultimately lose consciousness of your body when you urinate.
Often, however, a stone can be too big to pass and can get lodged in the ureter. It might obstruct the flow of urine and can be exceptionally agonizing.
What are the Symptoms?
The most common symptom of a kidney or ureter stone is pain.
You may feel discomfort in your lower abdomen or your flank, which is the area of your back simply under your ribs. The discomfort can be mild and dull, or it can be excruciating. The discomfort might likewise reoccur and radiate to other locations.
Other possible signs consist of:
- pain or a burning sensation when you pee
- blood in your urine
- frequent urge to urinate
- nausea and vomiting
If you experience any of these signs, call your healthcare provider.
What Causes These Stones?
Ureter stones are made up of crystals in your urine that clump together. They typically form in the kidneys before passing into the ureter.
Not all ureter stones are comprised of the exact same crystals. These stones can form from various kinds of crystals such as:
- Calcium. Stones comprised of calcium oxalate crystals are the most common. Being dehydrated and consuming a diet that includes a lot of high-oxalate foods may increase your threat of establishing stones.
- Uric acid. This kind of stone establishes when urine is too acidic. It’s more common in guys and in people who have gout.
- Struvite. These types of stones are frequently associated with persistent kidney infections and are discovered primarily in ladies who have regular urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Cystine. The least common kind of stone, cystine stones happen in individuals who have the genetic disorder cystinuria. They are caused when cystine, a type of amino acid, leakages into urine from the kidneys.
Certain elements can raise your risk of establishing stones. This includes:
- Family history. If one of your moms and dads or a brother or sister has had kidney or ureter stones, you may be more likely to develop them, too.
- Dehydration. If you do not consume adequate water, you tend to produce a smaller sized amount of extremely focused urine. You require to produce a larger amount of urine so salts will stay liquified, rather than solidifying into crystals.
- Diet. Eating a diet plan high in sodium (salt), animal protein, and high-oxalate food may raise your risk of developing stones. Foods high in oxalate consist of spinach, tea, chocolate, and nuts. Taking in excessive vitamin C might also increase your threat.
- Particular medications. A variety of various type of medications, consisting of some decongestants, diuretics, steroids, and anticonvulsants, can increase your chance of developing a stone.
- Certain medical conditions. You might be more likely to establish stones if you have:
- a clog of the urinary tract
- inflammatory bowel illness
- weight problems
- frequent UTIs
How Are They Diagnosed?
If you’re having discomfort in your lower abdominal areas, or you’ve seen blood in your urine, your healthcare provider may recommend a diagnostic imaging test to try to find stones.
Two of the most typical imaging tests for stones include:
- A computed tomography (CT) scan. A CT scan is usually the best alternative for detecting stones in the urinary tract. It utilizes turning X-ray devices to produce cross-sectional pictures of the within your abdominal area and pelvis.
- An ultrasound. Unlike a CT scan, an ultrasound doesn’t utilize any radiation. This procedure utilizes high-frequency acoustic waves to produce images of the inside of your body.
These tests can assist your healthcare provider figure out the size and area of your stone. Understanding where the stone is located and how huge it is will help them develop the right kind of treatment strategy.
How are Ureter Stones Treated?
Research suggests that lots of urinary stones resolve without treatment.
You may experience some discomfort while they pass, but as long as you do not have a fever or infection, you might not have to do anything else aside from drink high volumes of water to permit the stone to pass.
Little stones tend to pass more easily.
However, as one 2017 study notes, size matters.
Some stones, specifically wider ones, do get stuck in the ureter since it’s the narrowest point in your urinary tract. This can cause serious pain and raise your risk of establishing an infection.
If you have a bigger or broader stone that’s not likely to be passed on its own, your healthcare provider will likely want to discuss treatment options with you.
They might suggest one of these procedures to eliminate a ureter stone that’s too big to hand down its own.
- Ureteral stent placement. A small, soft, plastic tube is passed into the ureter around the stone, enabling urine to bypass the stone. This momentary service is a surgery that’s carried out under anesthesia. It’s low threat however will need to be followed up by a treatment to eliminate or separate the stone.
- Nephrostomy tube placement. An interventional radiologist can temporarily alleviate pain by positioning this tube directly into the kidney through the back utilizing only sedation and a mix of ultrasound and X-ray. This is frequently used if a fever or infection occurs with urinary obstruction from a stone.
- Shock wave lithotripsy. This treatment utilizes concentrated shock waves to separate the stones into smaller pieces, which can then travel through the rest of your urinary tract and out of your body without any extra help.
- Ureteroscopy. Your urologist will thread a thin tube with a scope into your urethra and up into your ureter. As soon as your doctor can see the stone, the stone can be removed directly or broken up with a laser into smaller sized pieces that can hand down their own. This procedure may be preceded by positioning of a ureteral stent to allow the ureter to passively dilate over a couple of weeks prior to ureteroscopy.
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy. This procedure is usually utilized if you have large or an unusual-shaped stone in the kidney. Your doctor will make a small incision in your back and remove the stone through the cut with a nephroscope. Although it’s a minimally intrusive treatment, you’ll require basic anesthesia.
- Medical expulsive treatment. This kind of treatment involves using alpha-blocker drugs to assist the stone to pass. However, according to a 2018 review of studies, there’s a risk-benefit ratio to consider. Alpha- blockers help lower blood pressure, which can be effective for clearing smaller sized stones, but it also carries a risk of unfavorable occasions.
What Can You Do to Prevent Ureter Stones?
You can’t alter your family history, however there are some steps you can take to minimize your chance of developing stones.
- Consume lots of fluids. If you tend to develop stones, try to take in about 3 liters of fluid (roughly 100 ounces) every day. This will assist improve your urine output, which keeps your urine from getting too concentrated. It’s best to drink water instead of juices or sodas.
- Watch your salt and protein consumption. If you tend to eat a lot of animal protein and salt, you may want to cut down. Both animal protein and salt can raise the acid levels in your urine.
- Limitation high-oxalate foods. Eating foods that are high in oxalate can cause urinary tract stones. Attempt to limit these foods in your diet.
- Stabilize your calcium consumption. You don’t want to take in excessive calcium, however you do not want to lower your calcium intake excessive since you’ll put your bones at risk. Plus, foods that are high in calcium can cancel high levels of oxalate in other foods.
- Review your current medications. Talk to your healthcare provider about any medications you’re taking. This includes supplements like vitamin C that have been revealed to increase the danger of stones.
The Bottom Line
A ureter stone is essentially a kidney stone that has moved from your kidney into your ureter. Your ureter is a thin tube that allows urine to flow from your kidney into your bladder.
You have 2 ureters — one for each kidney. Stones can establish in your kidney and after that move into your ureter. They can likewise form in the ureter.
If you understand you’re at danger of developing kidney stones, attempt to drink a lot of fluids and watch your intake of animal protein, calcium, salt, and high- oxalate foods.
If you begin to experience pain in your lower abdomen or back, or notice blood in your urine, call your healthcare provider. Ureter stones can be really uncomfortable, however there are several reliable treatment alternatives.