Ureteric stones, also known as ureteral stones or simply kidney stones when they move into the ureter, are solid formations that develop in the kidneys and then travel down the ureters – the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. These stones can vary in size and composition and may cause significant pain and other symptoms as they pass through the urinary tract. Here are key points about ureteric stones:

1. Formation and Composition:

  • Ureteric stones are formed in the kidneys when substances in the urine, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, become concentrated and crystallize.
  • The stones can vary in composition, including calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, struvite, and uric acid.

2. Symptoms:

  • Flank Pain: Severe pain in the side or back, often radiating to the lower abdomen and groin as the stone moves down the ureter.
  • Hematuria: Blood in the urine, giving it a pink or red color.
  • Frequent Urination: Urgency to urinate and increased frequency.
  • Painful Urination: Discomfort or pain during urination.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some individuals may experience nausea and vomiting.

3. Diagnosis:

  • Diagnosis is typically based on symptoms, medical history, and imaging tests.
  • Imaging tests such as CT scans, X-rays, or ultrasounds are used to visualize the stones and their location.

4. Size and Passage:

  • Ureteric stones can vary in size, from small particles to larger stones.
  • Smaller stones may pass through the urinary tract without causing significant symptoms.
  • Larger stones may get stuck in the ureter, causing blockage and more severe symptoms.

5. Treatment:

  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications to alleviate pain.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids to help flush out the stones.
  • Medical Expulsion Therapy (MET): Medications to relax the muscles of the urinary tract and facilitate the passage of stones.
  • Lithotripsy: Shock wave therapy to break up stones into smaller fragments.
  • Ureteroscopy: A thin tube is passed through the urethra and bladder to reach the stones for removal or fragmentation.
  • Surgery: Invasive procedures may be considered for larger or more complex stones.

6. Prevention:

  • Similar to preventing kidney stones, maintaining proper hydration, following a balanced diet, and avoiding excessive intake of certain foods can help prevent the formation of ureteric stones.
  • Medications to prevent stone recurrence may be prescribed in some cases.

7. Complications:

  • Untreated or recurrent ureteric stones can lead to complications such as urinary tract infections, hydronephrosis (swelling of the kidney), and kidney damage.