Having extra-intestinal conditions that are directly associated with having Crohn’s disease is fairly common. For those who live with these complications associated with Crohn’s, developing kidney stones is on the list.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that form within the kidneys. These stones are composed of crystallizing calcium, oxalate, and folic acid. Stones develop when not enough fluids dilute these deposits, which is known as dehydration. This enhances the stones’ ability to enlarge and stick together. These stones can affect any part of the urinary tract, from your kidneys to your bladder.
What causes the stones?
Several factors can make you prone to developing kidney stones. Some of these factors include dehydration, diets, obesity, history of having kidney stones, and some medical conditions.
Crohn’s disease is among the medical conditions that can cause kidney stones. Because diseases like Crohn’s change the digestive process, it can affect the absorption of water, which increases the levels of stone-forming substances in the urine. Having previous bowel surgeries, such as resections, increases the chance of developing kidney stones.
How can you tell if you have kidney stones?
Kidney stones can be quite painful. Typically, stones are passed fairly easily with no lasting problems. But sometimes the stones may grow too large to pass naturally. If the stones become large enough, they could become lodged anywhere within the urinary tract. When this happens, medical intervention may be required.
Some of the symptoms you may have include:
- Sharp pains between the sides of the torso, by the rib cage and the pelvis. Sometimes the pain may seem more like back pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Blood in urine.
- Increased or difficulty urinating.
These are the common symptoms associated with kidney stones, but symptoms vary on an individual basis. If you think you may be dealing with kidney stones, you should go see your doctor.
Diagnosing and treating kidney stones
Tests can be done to diagnose kidney stones. These tests include blood work, urine analysis, and scans such as X-rays or CT scans. Once it has been confirmed that you have stones, you can discuss with your doctor treatments that are recommended for you. If the stone (or stones) are small and your doctor believes your body can pass them easily, typically your doctor will provide some pain medications and will recommend drinking lots of fluids. Some medications can help the process of passing stones a bit faster or more easily. These are known as alpha-blockers.
If the stones are large or become lodged, your doctor may have to do other procedures to help pass them, including breaking up the stones with ultrasound waves, using scopes, or if it’s severe enough, removing them through surgery. Most of the time, kidney stones can be passed naturally.
Note: IBD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of IBD News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to IBD.