Everyone knows kidney or gallstones by name - and is happy if he does not have them. But there are also other organs that can be affected by a stone disease: In salivary glands, where stones in the pancreas are particularly dangerous, and in the gastrointestinal tract, stone formation is possible and can disturb the normal organ function tremendously.
What are stone diseases?
Stone ailments are diseases caused by deposits in fluid-filled body organs such as salivary glands, gallbladder or kidney. When examining the particular fluid (ie saliva, bile or urine), you will find that it contains many different components besides water (minerals, electrolytes, fats, sugars, etc.) that are all dissolved in the fluid.
As soon as the amount of liquid is too small for the dissolved constituents, microscopic crystals form first, but then increasingly larger clumps - which are also called grit or sand - and then real stones. Although smaller clumps may be partially recoverable or flushed out of the organ with the fluid they are in, once they have reached a certain size, they usually interfere with the normal function of the organ in which they are located they clog the drainage possibilities or lead to an inflammation of the organ, as they mechanically irritate their environment with their rough surface. Often stones are only discovered when they cause discomfort - as soon as the actual stone suffering occurs.
Which stone diseases are there?
The best known are certainly the gallstones, which has almost every sixth adult in Germany, even if not everyone knows of their existence. They arise in an unfavorable mixing ratio of bile acids, fats and cholesterol in the gallbladder and either go unnoticed for a long time or eventually lead to a painful inflammation of the gallbladder.
As soon as stones are flushed into the bile duct with the bile, it becomes problematic: the stone can clog the bile duct and thus hinder the outflow of bile. The bile duct ends with a small opening in the duodenum, through which the stone must pass, and then leave the body via the intestine. Often exactly this bottleneck is the big problem: The stone is stuck and blocks the outflow of bile and, unfortunately, digestive secretions that come from the pancreas.
The outflow of the pancreas leads directly into the bile duct, so that gallstones can also migrate into the pancreatic ducts. This causes stones in the pancreas and digestive secretions of the pancreas digested instead of food, the gland itself. This dangerous condition is often the cause of acute pancreatitis, a pancreatitis.
Although kidney stones are not quite as common as gallstones, four percent of the German population has deposits of calcium salts and uric acid, which can be so large that they line the entire renal pelvis like a "spout". From a certain size, the stones only reach the urinary bladder through the narrow ureter with the help of strong, painful muscle contractions, obstructing the urinary outflow and thus causing renal colic.
Stones in the urinary bladder may continue to grow there and are not excreted in the urine via the urethra. They may be the cause of recurrent cystitis.
Stones in the salivary glands are not common, but often cause severe pain. Each human has three paired salivary glands, the most common and largest being the parotid gland. The smaller salivary glands, which lie on the inside of the lower jaw, are most frequently affected by salivary stones - their excretory duct is very long and kinked and the saliva produced here is much more viscous than that of the parotid gland and is transported against the force of gravity from bottom to top.
Faeces consist of heavily thickened faeces and often go unnoticed with the bowel movement. Unfortunately, they also like to settle in the appendix and trigger an appendicitis there or lead from a certain size to a life-threatening intestinal obstruction.