Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure are two frightening health prospects. They can drain you of energy, make you feel sluggish, and force you into highly-restrictive lifestyles. If you or a loved one is going through this, you want solutions.
Naturally, you’ll consider a kidney transplant. However, assessing the benefits and risks of different kidney treatments can be overwhelming. But with the right information, it doesn’t need to be.
In this blog, we’ll break things down and give an overview of some of the pros and cons of kidney transplant. With this in mind, you may have more context to confidently make informed treatment decisions for yourself or a loved one.
Kidney Transplants 101
Before we get to the benefits and risks of kidney transplants, let’s take a look at some of the basic things that must happen before a transplant.
The process of a kidney transplant begins with eligibility. Patients seeking a kidney transplant must either currently be on dialysis or immediately facing the prospect of it, and also be free of cancer or other diseases that could lead to negative health outcomes following the transplant.
Second, eligible patients must be fully prepared to undergo the transplant procedure. This means you not only have to be healthy enough to be operated on, but you also must be financially prepared to cover the operation, and have a support network in place that can assist you during recovery.
Finally, when you’re fully cleared and ready for a transplant, you are registered and placed on a waiting list. How soon you receive a transplant depends on factors such as blood type and body size, as these are essential to the success of the transplant. If a family member is a match and willing to donate a kidney, this is typically the fastest route to transplant, and also tends to produce the best result.
Benefits of Kidney Transplant
The benefits of a kidney transplant are huge, and can literally change your life:
Risks and Disadvantages of Kidney Transplant
Kidney transplants are a remarkable health solution. They offer many people a new lease on life and the opportunity to get back to the things they love. However, there are risks involved with the transplant process.
Talk to a Nephrologist Today to Learn if a Kidney Transplant is Right for You
Kidney transplants are nothing short of incredible, unbelievable medical operations. They give people who are afraid, tired, and often isolated a chance to get back to the life they had before kidney disease or failure.
If you or a loved one is suffering from kidney failure or end-stage renal disease, a kidney transplant may be a treatment option. To learn more about kidney transplants, contact the experts in kidney health at Milwaukee Nephrologists today. They can assess your health, determine the best treatment solutions, and answer your questions at every stage of the transplant journey.
Should You Use a Muscle Relaxer for Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are a common problem with an estimated one in ten people having a kidney stone at some point in their lives. This is often a painful experience and over half a million people go to the emergency room for kidney stone problems every year. We understand how stressful, alarming, and painful passing a kidney stone can be. Proper treatment of kidney stones begins with a better understanding of the problem, so let’s examine the common causes of kidney stones, the ways they can be passed, and the treatment options available.
Common Causes of Kidney Stones
One of the most common causes of kidney stones is dehydration. Water is vital for healthy kidney function and helps deliver essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients throughout the body. If you’re dehydrated, those minerals accumulate in your kidneys and can harden and develop into kidney stones.
Other dietary habits can also increase the risk of kidney stones. High salt and sodium intake increases the amount of calcium in the urine which will increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Likewise, high levels of sugar consumption can also promote the development of stones. Following a kidney-friendly diet can help reduce your risk of kidney stones.
Being overweight or obese can also increase the risk of kidney stones. Studies have shown a link between weight gain and developing kidney stones and other urinary risks. Certain weight loss treatments, such as gastric bypass surgery, have also been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones, so it’s important to keep that risk in mind when exploring weight loss options.
How are Kidney Stones Passed?
Smaller kidney stones can usually be passed naturally without any special treatments or procedures. Stones vary in size and are usually between the size of a grain of salt and the size of a kernel of corn. You may not even notice you have a smaller stone until it starts moving from the kidney to the bladder. These smaller stones can be passed at home by drinking plenty of water to break down the minerals and using ibuprofen or naproxen to manage any pain.
Additional treatments and procedures are necessary in the case of larger stones that can’t be passed at home or stones that are blocking the ureter. In these cases, some type of surgery will be performed. There are several surgical options for treating kidney stones, but which one your doctor recommends largely depends on the size and location of the stone.
One of the most common types of surgery options is Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL). This non-invasive procedure is most often used for smaller or medium-sized stones. The surgery uses high-energy sound waves to break stones up into smaller pieces to make them easier to pass. The procedure has a short recovery time and patients can leave the hospital shortly after surgery is completed.
Do Muscle Relaxers Help Pass Kidney Stones?
In some cases, muscle relaxers can help pass kidney stones. Your doctor may prescribe alpha-blockers or other muscle relaxers to help relax the ureteral muscles, reduce pain, and promote stone passage. Muscle relaxers can widen the ureter, which makes passing small stones easier. Contractions in the ureter, which are a common cause of pain, can sometimes be reduced through muscle relaxers or other medications.
There are limitations to muscle relaxers’ effectiveness for kidney stones, however. Muscle relaxers will not be helpful for stones that are too large to pass anyway. Only your doctor can determine if muscle relaxers are a viable treatment option for your kidney stone diagnosis, so always consult with your doctor before beginning any kind of treatment.
Do You Think You Have a Kidney Stone?
If you think you have a kidney stone, don’t wait to see a nephrologist. Early detection and treatment can reduce the chances that you experience more severe levels of pain from the kidney stone. Without seeing a nephrologist, it will be hard for you to determine whether you have a kidney stone, much less whether it can be passed with a muscle relaxer. Always consult with a medical professional before beginning any treatment.
Milwaukee Nephrologists Are Here to Help
At Milwaukee Nephrologists, our specialists can help diagnose kidney stones and formulate the best treatment plan for your situation. Our staff will work to: