Kidney stones can be very painful, as to how it could be when you are pregnant. It’s true that pregnancy does not necessarily increase the chances of getting kidney stones, however, getting it can be complicated. It can be difficult for urologists in Dubai to diagnose and administer treatments as it may harm the fetus.
Kidney stones may cause severe pain, which then medical treatment will be recommended. Additionally, having kidney stones during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester may also induce labor, hence it is best to seek medical help from in case you notice these signs of kidney stones:
- Intense pain.
It is one of the most common signs of kidney stones. If the stone is located in your kidney, you experience pain in the back, below the rib cage area. When the stone moves to the ureters, you will also experience pain on the side of your body, or near your genitals or even in the thigh. Apart from this, you may also have pain in your lower abdomen.
- Pain during urination.
If the stone further moves down at the lower end of the ureter, you may experience intense pain while urinating.
- Blood in the urine.
When the kidney stones move around impulsively, the tissues and the cells in the kidney can get damaged which may lead to bleeding during urination.
Apart from these symptoms, other signs are vomiting, nausea, fever with chills (indicates infection), or swelling in the abdomen.
How Is Kidney Stone Diagnosed During Pregnancy?
The urologist will perform blood and urine analysis to diagnose kidney stones during pregnancy. The urine tests are performed to identify blood, calcium crystals or uric acid present in the urine. This can also recognize infection-causing bacteria and determine what antibodies they are sensitive to.
In addition to this, the urologist may also perform a renal ultrasound to prevent causing any pain or exposing the fetus to radiation. However, as it can be challenging for a urologist to diagnose kidney stones in pregnant women because using a renal ultrasound cannot identify certain types of kidney stones and the cause of an enlarged kidney (whether it is due to pregnancy or by a kidney stone).
Only renal ultrasound is recommended as x-rays and CT scans may risk damage to the fetus. MRI is deemed safe as it does not use radiation, however, it is still not advisable to use especially when the pregnant woman is in her first trimester.
How To Treat Kidney Stones While Pregnant?
If you recognise any symptoms of a kidney stone, please do consult a urologist for treatment options. The treatment will be based on the condition of the kidney stones and the pregnancy trimester you are in. Here are some of the treatments used to get rid of kidney stone during pregnancy:
- Medical Treatment
The doctor may prescribe Acetaminophen like Tylenol to relieve pain, however, if the medication does not reduce the pain or if there is any indication of preterm labour, it is best to go for a surgical treatment.
- Surgical Treatment
Ureteroscopy – A small tube (ureteroscope) is inserted into the kidney passing through the ureter, the urethra, and the urinary bladder. In this process, the surgery uses a laser to damage the stones. Ureteroscopy is only recommended for stones smaller than 1 cm.
Tube or stent placement – It involves a hollow tube which will be passed through the ureters to drain the urine and the stones. The procedure is minimally invasive and does not utilise anaesthesia.
Other surgical options such as shockwave therapy and open surgery are not used due to risks to the fetus.
How to Prevent Kidney Stones During Pregnancy?
Some of the ways to prevent kidney stones are the ff;
- Drink a minimum of two litres or eight glasses of water per day.
- Lower your salt intake, avoid especially junk food as they contain a lot of monosodium chloride.
- Keep your calcium intake from 1000 to 1200 mg per day.
- Reduce the consumption of green leafy vegetables, chicken, fish, nuts, beetroot, chocolate, peanuts, beef, red meat, tea, and coffee.
Kidney stones are rather common during pregnancy. In case the pain is severe, it’s best to see a urologist in Dubai for medical or surgical treatments. Always remember to consult with a doctor immediately after you recognise the symptoms so that you can get the appropriate treatment method and avoid complications during your pregnancy.