Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, are small, hard deposits that form within the kidneys when your kidneys filter out blood to create urine. The sediment that is filtered out can form stones that range in size from being as small as a grain of sugar to being up to several centimeters.
Kidney stones can cause severe pain and discomfort. Other symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- Painful urination
- Abdominal or back pain
You should always seek medical attention for any intense abdominal pain, as it may be associated with a number of medical conditions. Your doctor may use X-rays, CT scans, urine tests and ultrasounds to determine if a stone is present.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing kidney stones, including:
- Not drinking enough fluids, especially water
- Eating a diet high in protein, salt, and sugar
- Having certain medical conditions, such as gout, inflammatory bowel disease, or renal tubular acidosis
- Having a family history of kidney stones
- Taking certain medications, such as diuretics and calcium-based antacids
If you are diagnosed with a kidney stone, NGPG Urology offers several different treatment options. Treatment will vary depending on the size and location of the stone, as well as the severity of the symptoms.
One option is medication, which can be used to help reduce the size of the stone or to help alleviate the pain caused by the stone. Some commonly used medications for kidney stones include:
- Alpha-blockers, which relax the muscles in the ureter and can help the stone pass more easily
- Diuretics, which increase urine production and can help flush out small stones
- Pain medications, which can help alleviate the discomfort associated with kidney stones
Stones that are too big to pass naturally can be surgically removed. Your doctor will determine which procedure is the best option to remove your kidney stones and discuss with you ways to prevent future kidney stones. Surgical options include:
- Lithotripsy, a non-invasive procedure that uses shock waves to break the stone into smaller pieces to pass through the urinary tract more easily
- Minimally invasive procedure, such as a ureteroscopy or percutaneous nephrolithotomy, in which a small scope is inserted either through the urethra or through the back, respectively, to locate or remove the stone
- Open surgery, in which a larger incision in the back is made to remove the stone
Early treatment can help prevent the development of more severe complications and can provide relief from the discomfort associated with kidney stones. Request an appointment today.