Kidney stones animation 

Kidney stones are stone-like lumps that can develop in one or both of the kidneys and may cause severe pain. This animation explains how kidneys function and how to prevent kidney stones. It also describes the procedures used to remove or break down larger kidney stones.

Find out what causes kidney stones

Transcript of Kidney stones animation

Kidney stones are hard, stone-like lumps that can form in your urine.

They are common and occur twice as often in men as women.

Let's look inside the body to see how the kidneys work.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs

located near the middle of your back.

They work as a filter,

removing waste products and excess fluid from the blood

and returning clean blood to the body.

The waste products and excess fluid become urine.

It travels through two narrow tubes called the ureters to the bladder,

and leaves the body through the urethra.

If there is an imbalance in the waste chemicals in the urine,

crystals can form, which may build up into stone-like lumps.

These are known as kidney stones.

This can happen for a number of reasons,

including not drinking enough water,

a diet high in protein,

or health conditions, such as kidney disease.

If kidney stones are small, they usually leave the body when you pass urine.

However, larger stones can get stuck in the kidneys

or pass down the ureter, causing irritation

and blocking the flow of urine.

This often results in an infection

and intense pain that is felt in your back.

Kidney stones can sometimes be treated with fluids and painkillers.

However, if infection develops or the urine flow is obstructed,

further treatment may be needed.

Your doctor will advise the treatment best suited to you.

In shockwave therapy

shockwaves of energy are used

from outside of the body

to break up the stones into small pieces

that can be passed out of your body in urine.

In percutaneous nephrolithotomy

a small cut is made in your back

and a thin telescopic tube is passed into your kidney.

The stone is then either removed

or broken into smaller pieces using a laser.

A ureteroscopy is used

if a kidney stone is stuck in your ureter.

A thin telescopic tube is passed through your urethra and bladder

and into the ureter.

The stone is then either removed

or broken into pieces with a laser.

If none of these methods are suitable,

the stone may need to be removed

using traditional surgery.

If you've had a kidney stone,

there is a risk of getting another one at a later stage.

Your doctor will be able to advise you on medicines

and changes to your diet that can help prevent further stones.

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