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Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones Q & A

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are solid materials comprised of minerals and salts found in your urine, including calcium, phosphorus, and oxalate. Stones can be microscopically small or as large as a pearl. Smaller stones may pass through your body unnoticed. Larger stones can get trapped in the urinary tract, causing interference with your urine flow and persistent pain.

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Kidney stones that require medical intervention may produce the following symptoms:
  • Vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Severe back or side pain
  • A burning sensation while urinating
Kidney stone-related pain may come and go or last for several days without relief.

What are the risk factors for kidney stones?

If you have a history of kidney stones, you have an increased risk of developing them again. You are also at higher risk of developing them if you’re a man. Other factors that influence the development of kidney stones include:
  • Gout
  • Obesity
  • Kidney disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Bowel inflammation
  • Urinary tract blockages
  • Not drinking enough water
If you take certain medications, including calcium-based antacids, your risk for developing kidney stones may increase.

How are kidney stones treated?

Your doctor reviews your medical and family history to determine the likelihood of kidney stones. He may also perform an ultrasound to identify the stones and their location. For smaller stones, he may recommend drinking more fluids to help the stones pass. For stones too large to pass naturally, your doctor may prescribe medications such as pain relievers or alpha blockers to help relax the ureter, allowing the stones to pass. Your doctor may also suggest minimally invasive surgical procedures to break up or remove the kidney stones. These treatments include:

Shock wave therapy: This breaks up the stones into smaller pieces. 

Ureteroscopy: This procedure involves using a camera to view the stones and lasers to break them up. 

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: This surgical procedure remove the stones. 

Depending on how long you’ve had symptoms and the stones, your doctor may suggest waiting for them to pass naturally before recommending other treatments or surgeries.

To learn more about kidney stone treatments, schedule an appointment online or by phone.