Calculi, the plural form of the word calculus is a stone-like formation that develops inside the body, in organs or areas like ducts and tracts. Some of the places a stone can develop are the kidneys, urinary tract or bladder, gall bladder, bile duct, gastrointestinal tracts, salivary ducts or even in the nasal passages.
A stone or calculus is usually a result of years of mineral deposit in an area of the body which can afford the kind of space required for its formation. A stone is thus formed of minerals and other chemicals that coagulate over time. It may take several years for a stone to grow to a noticeable size. The possible causes are due to the deposit of minerals like calcium, inadequate fluid flow in organs like the kidneys and the liver, undigested matter in the stomach or the intestinal tract like hair, plastic and other substances.
The symptoms associated with calculi in the body are irritation, inflammation, swelling and even pain at the area where the calculus has formed. If the stone has formed at the duct of an important organ then it can cause problems with the normal functioning of that organ. A kidney stone may be associated with conditions such as kidney infection, swollen kidneys and may even lead to urolithiasis if the functioning of the kidneys is disrupted. A gallstone can cause gall bladder infections and even infection of the pancreas.
The diagnosis depends upon the type of stone that has developed and the area it has developed in. Some diagnosis methods include X-ray and CT scan while some doctors prefer ultrasound to study the extent of a calculus, depending upon the type and quality of the stone.
The treatment of calculus is usually carried out either by surgery or medication.
The prevention of calculus is a tricky affair since the causes are so unrelated. The deposit of excess minerals in the body may occur due to various reasons but keeping the body hydrated and eating food that has been thoroughly cleaned and cooked are essential to prevent stones from forming in the body.
The treatment cost varies with the size and number of stones in the body.