Causes Of Struvite Kidney Stone Formation: Symptoms And Treatment

Kidney stones are formed when many tiny crystals come together and form solid mass and get deposited in the kidney or urinary tract. The stones are made of minerals and acid salts. Stones are formed when urine becomes concentrated and allows minerals to crystallize and stick together.

There are many types of kidney stones. Common types include calcium stones, struvite stones, uric acid stones and cystine stones.

Struvite is magnesium ammonium phosphate. It is a phosphate mineral. It is sparingly soluble in neutral and alkaline solution but it is soluble in acidic solution.

Struvite stones are mostly found in women who have recurrent urinary tract infection. These stones can become very large and can cause obstruction in kidney, ureter or bladder.

Struvite stones are formed when one gets urinary tract infection with bacteria such as proteus, pseudomonas, klebsiella, staphylococcus and mycoplasma. These are urea-splitting organisms. They hydrolyze urea to ammonium and raise the pH of urine to neutral or alkaline value. Presence of ammonia in urine, alkaline urine and increased excretion of magnesium leads to formation of struvite stones.

Symptoms Of Struvite Kidney Stones

Patient may complain of abdominal pain which may be dull, aching and less localized. Sometimes pain can be spasmodic. Since struvite stones are associated with urinary tract infection one may have fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and burning pain while passing urine.

Tenderness may be present at renal angle. Urine will appear cloudy and may have unusual odor due to infection. Patient may have haematuria (blood in urine) due to damage to the lining of urinary tract due to infection and struvite stones.

Complications Of Struvite Kidney Stones

Struvite stones may become large and form staghorn stone which may lead to obstruction. Staghorn stone involves renal pelvis and extends to at least two calyces.

This is very serious condition which may require surgical removal of stone.

If not treated in time it may cause permanent damage to  kidney. Scarring may result. This may occur due to recurrent infection or obstruction.

Struvite Kidney Stones Diagnosis

  • Urine analysis is done to look for infection, presence of crystal and red blood cells.
  • Urine culture and sensitivity test is done to find out type of bacteria causing infection and its sensitivity to various antibiotics.
  • Intravenous pyelography, abdominal CT scan, abdominal ultrasound can be done to see the location of stone and to see if it is causing any obstruction.

Treatment For Struvite Kidney Stones

As soon as you notice any symptoms of urinary tract infection consult your doctor immediately.

  • Drink at least two to three liters of water to flush out bacteria, toxins and crystals.
  • Antibiotics are prescribed by doctor to treat the infection.
  • Painkiller may help to reduce abdominal pain.
  • Diuretics may be prescribed to increase urine output.
  • Surgery may be necessary if stone is very large or if it is causing obstruction or if there is severe persistent pain.
  • Try to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection by drinking ten to twelve glasses of water per day.
  • To prevent ascending urinary tract infection wash genial area with tepid water after passing urine or stools. Keep the area dry.

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