Kidney stones can cause severe pain and be recurring in some cases. They can start as mild aches and pains in your back, side, or stomach before becoming so painful that you cannot do anything until the pain is relieved. Kidney stones are common, and around 500,000 people in the U.S. visit ERs for kidney stones every year.I need to schedule an appointment
By knowing the signs, symptoms, and risks of kidney stones, you can avoid the ER and the immense amounts of pain caused by kidney stones. If you think you have a kidney stone, it is essential to act quickly and schedule an appointment with Urology Health Solutions before your stone gets worse.
What is a Kidney Stone, and how do they form?
Kidney stones (calculi) typically form when your urine becomes too concentrated, causing crystals to separate from the urine and build up inside the kidneys. Stones may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Some stones pass out of the body without the need for intervention, but others can cause severe pain if they become trapped in one of your ureters (the narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder).
What are some factors that increase your risk of Kidney Stones?
Several factors can increase your risk for kidney stones. If you have one or a combination of the following factors, you may be at a greater risk of developing kidney stones.
- Caucasian male, age 20-60
- A diet too high in salt, calcium, or oxalates (such as spinach, chocolate, nuts), excess vitamin C or D, or a high protein diet
- Family history of kidney stones or a previous stone
- Metabolic diseases (such as hyperparathyroidism or gout)
- Inactive lifestyle or prolonged bed rest
- Frequent urinary tract infections or other bladder problems
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease
- Certain rare hereditary disorders
Controlling the factors that you can, may help reduce your chances of developing a stone.
What are common symptoms of Kidney Stones?
The best way to catch a stone early is to know the tell-tale symptoms that they cause. Some common kidney stone symptoms include:
- Sudden intense pain in your back or side near your kidney, which may radiate towards your abdomen, groin, or genitals
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in your urine
- Frequent and painful urination
- Fever and chills
If the stone is blocking the flow of urine and the ureter, it is an emergency. Some stones cause no symptoms at all.
Diagnosing a stone
At Urology Health Solutions, we will get your medical history and perform a physical exam. We may also order one of the following tests to determine that a stone is there:
- Plain X-ray (“KUB” of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder)
- CT scan or IVP (Intravenous Pyelogram, a special dye test to evaluate your kidneys and ureters)
How do we treat stones at Urology Health Solutions?
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 can I reduce my chances of getting another stone?
More than half of those who develop one kidney stone will develop recurrent or additional stones. Your doctor may order special urine and blood tests to help determine how to decrease the risk of recurrence. Based upon these results, your doctor may suggest:
I want to learn more about preventing kidney stones
- Drinking enough fluids
- Reduce salt and protein intake
- Avoid foods high in oxalate
- Avoid/reduce caffeine
- Eat a special diet
- Take special medications or antibiotics
- Watch your calcium intake
Discover your kidney stone early at Urology Health Solutions
If you are experiencing any of the painful symptoms associated with kidney stones, it is important to seek help with a urologist sooner rather than later. Our specialists at Urology Health Solutions can help identify and treat your kidney stone effectively. Make sure to schedule an appointment now if you think you may have a kidney stone.I think I have a kidney stone