December 17, 2021
Kidney Stone FAQs
What You Need to Know
When the kidneys have excessive amounts of minerals and salt, a clump of materials called a kidney stone can form inside the kidney.
Our team of highly trained urology specialists has considerable expertise in diagnosing and treating kidney stone patients throughout the Celebration and Orlando areas. We have compiled this list of the latest frequently asked questions to assist patients in understanding the symptoms and treatment choices.
Do you have any more questions, or are you in need of treatment? If so, please feel free to reach out to our Central Florida urology office at 407-566-1105 today.
What are the signs of kidney stones?
Those suffering from stone buildup will most often experience severe pain coming from either side of the abdomen. This is associated with nausea and can be severe, sharp, or sudden.
Other signs include:
- Blood in your urine – Pink, red, or brown urine is not normal.
Does alcohol cause kidney stones?
Alcohol abuse and heavy drinking have a direct correlation with heightened blood ammonia levels. This can lead to a urinary tract infection (UTI) which causes the urine to become alkaline. The urinary tract responds to this buildup by producing struvite which is intended to break up the ammonia. An unintended, excessive buildup of struvite can lead to stones forming. Alcohol and struvite aren’t the only causes of kidney stones, however:
- Calcium oxalate stones. Calcium stones, mainly in the form of calcium oxalate, make up most kidney stone cases. Oxalate is a chemical produced by the liver daily or absorbed through your diet. The oxalate content of certain fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, is high. The content of calcium or oxalate in urine can be increased by dietary variables, high doses of vitamin D (dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), intestinal bypass surgery, and a variety of metabolic conditions.
- Calcium phosphate stones. Metabolic disorders, such as renal tubular acidosis, are more likely to cause this form of stone. It's also possible that it's linked to some migraine or seizure drugs.
- Uric acid stones. Uric acid stones can form in people who lose too much fluid because of chronic diarrhea or malabsorption, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Certain genetic and dietary factors may also increase your risk of uric acid stones.
- Cystine stones. These stones form in people with a hereditary disorder called cystinuria that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of a specific amino acid.
What about stress and kidney stones?
Stress is not a direct cause of kidney stones.
Stress triggers a cascade of bad behaviors that can lead to a kidney stone. It's critical to recognize when you're stressed and manage it in a way that benefits you and your body rather than harming it. This could look like a poorer-quality diet, less exercise than usual, poorer sleep quality, increased caffeine consumption, and weight gain.
When people are worried, they tend to drink more coffee, consume more energy drinks, eat more unhealthy foods, and forget to drink water which are all significant risk factors for developing kidney stones. When you're anxious, the last thing you want is a kidney stone to pass.
How are kidney stones treated?
After being diagnosed at Urology Health Solutions, we can determine whether your stone needs treatment. Fortunately, many kidney stones do not require treatment or will pass without surgery. However, we have several procedures we can use to treat you:
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) – Sound waves pass through the body and break up the kidney stone into smaller, more easily passable fragments.
- Ureteroscopy with Lithotripsy – A video scope is passed into the urinary tract, where the stone can be grasped or broken into smaller pieces with a laser.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy – A video scope is placed directly into the kidney from the back to break up and remove large or complicated stones.
Major surgery (nephrolithotomy) is typically reserved for a small percentage of patients when other methods are unsuccessful.
How to avoid kidney stones
- Exercise - A terrific stress reliever that also lowers your chances of developing kidney stones. But don't forget to drink plenty of water.
- Increasing hydration- Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day to dilute the urine and prevent stones from forming. Water should account for at least half of overall fluid intake.
- Decrease caffeine intake - Consumption should be reduced to 1-2 servings per day. Coffee, soda, carbonated liquids, tea, iced tea, and energy drinks are all examples of this. These are frequently associated with the creation of stones.
- Sleep - Aim for roughly 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day. You will be less reliant on caffeine in this manner.
- Eat healthier - Reduce sodium, sugar, and red meat consumption. Avoiding packaged and processed meals is a simple way to cut down on sodium and sugar.
For more information on how to avoid kidney stones, check out our tips for kidney stone prevention blog post.
If you are in the Celebration and Orlando areas and are looking for more assistance with your kidney stones, schedule an appointment with Urology Health Solutions today.