Ureterolithiasis is the formation of kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, in the ureters, which are muscular tubes that move urine to the bladder from the kidneys. When ureterolithiasis develops, the stones can block one or both of the ureters, causing a painful condition known as a renal colic attack. The pain from such an attack usually starts in the loin and travels through the urinary tract to the genitals as the stones are passed from the body.
There are several possible reasons for the formation of the kidney stones that cause ureterolithiasis, though it is not always possible for a doctor to find a cause. Diet can play a role in the growth of stones, though it is not commonly believed to cause their formation. A family or personal history with kidney stones, metabolic disorders, and cystic kidney disease are all believed to play a role in the development of kidney stones. A high percentage of patients who have the rare disease renal tubular acidosis also tend to grow kidney stones. Calcium-based antacids and some kinds of diuretics can also increase the chances of getting kidney stones.
The symptoms of ureterolithiasis tend to appear after the early stages of kidney stone development. If symptoms of kidney stones present themselves, they will usually appear when the stones move into the urinary tract. This condition happens later during the progression of the stones through the body, when they move into one or both of the ureters.
Stones in the ureter can cause extreme pain as the body attempts to push them through the tubes and into the bladder. A patient may experience pain in the groin, nausea, and vomiting. Urine can appear pink, due to the presence of blood. Patients may also experience burning during urination and the urge to urinate more frequently. In some cases, an infection may develop, causing chills and fever in addition to these other symptoms.
Ureterolithiasis is usually treated by simply making the patient more comfortable while the kidney stones finish their journey to the bladder. Heavy consumption of water can help the kidney stones to move through the system. A doctor may also prescribe medication for the management of pain. Often a doctor will request that a patient catch and keep the kidney stones when they have passed. This is so the stones can be analyzed in the hopes that the reason for their formation can be determined and measures can be taken to prevent future kidney stone growth.