Stuck Between a Rock And a Hard Place

One of the most common problems amongst older adults in Singapore are urological stone diseases. Most people encounter urinary stones when they are around 35 to 60 years old.

These urological stones are firm masses made up of mineral and salt crystals which can develop anywhere along the urinary tract. Some can be as a small as a grain of sand which you could unknowingly pass during urination, while some can be big enough to almost completely block of your urine passage. The latter requires the immediate attention of a medical expert.

These urological masses are more prevalent among those who are male, Chinese or Indian, do laborious work and working under hot climate conditions. Conversely, it may also affect someone with a sedentary job if their lifestyle and dietary habits are unhealthy.

There are some risk factors worth noting: Dehydration, family history, BMI, high table-salt intake, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and more. The list goes on.

Dehydration remains an issue to Singaporeans due to the warm climate, causing us to involuntarily sweat. The convenience of hawker stalls serving meals with high-sodium content without a drink to go with may also contribute to dehydration.

The symptoms of urological stones: Radiating pain from groin to testes in men, lateral abdomen pain, blood in the urine, discoloured and/or foul-smelling urine, and obstruction along the urinary tract.

A plate of Kway Chap may contain up to 2000mg of sodium!

The symptoms of urological stones are not definitive by itself, however, having multiple of the symptoms listed above may be indicative.

Although prevention is crucial, urological stones may be ultimately inevitable for some, hence treatment is required. Having a urological stone is often not a medical emergency if they are small – your treatment then would simply to take care of it using the preventative measures listed below and going for a check-up at least once every two years.

If treatment is needed, your doctor may suggest lithotripsy, where a shockwave is produced to break up large stones into smaller pieces to pass through the ureters and into the bladder.

 

Alternatively, a more invasive process would be tunnel surgery where a small incision would be made through your loin, where the stone would be fragmented in your kidney and removed.

(updated : December, 2019)

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