Kidney Stones

What are Kidney Stones?

As the kidneys filter waste from the blood, they create urine. Sometimes, salts and other minerals in urine stick together to form small kidney stones.

These range from the size of a sugar crystal to a ping pong ball, but they are rarely noticed unless they cause a blockage.

They may cause intense pain if they break loose and push into the ureters (the narrow tube leading to the bladder).

Kidney Stone Symptoms

  • Severe pain in the back, belly, or groin
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea and vomiting

Small stones may pass without causing any symptoms.

Causes of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones may form when there’s a change in the normal balance of the water, salts, and minerals found in urine. Different kinds of changes result in different types of kidney stones. There are many factors that can trigger changes in the urine, ranging from chronic medical conditions to what you eat and drink.

Diagnosis

To diagnose whether your symptoms are the result of kidney stones, our Doctors will recommend several tests that may include:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • CT scan
  • Ultrasound scan or Abdominal X-ray ( in specific cases)

Treatment for Kidney Stones

The type of treatment is dependant on several factors including:

  • Specific to stone: Size/shape/number/location
  • Specific to patient: age/previous history/medical conditions/medications

Treatment options might include:

  • Conservative management
  • Treatment with medications
  • Expulsive treatment
  • Shock wave lithotripsy
  • Ureteroscopy and laser
  • Percutaneous surgery

 

Kidney Stones – Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do I have a kidney stone or something else?

If you have sudden, severe pain in the back or belly, it’s best to seek medical care right away.

Abdominal pain is associated with many other condition including emergencies like appendicitis and ectopic pregnancy.

Painful urination is also a common symptom of a urinary tract infection or an STD.

 

What risk factors CAN I control?

Drinking too little water is the most common cause of kidney stones. Diet also plays an important role. Eating a lot of animal protein, sodium, and high-oxalate foods, such as chocolate or dark green vegetables, can boost the risk for kidney stones in some people. Other risk factors include drinking sweetened beverages, putting on weight, and taking certain medications.

 

What risk factors CAN’T I control?

White males have a greater risk for kidney stones than other groups, starting in the 40s. Women see their risk rise in the 50s. And your odds also go up if you have a family history of kidney stones. Certain medical conditions can boost the risk — high blood pressure, gout, urinary tract infections, certain kidney conditions such as polycystic kidney disease — but treating or controlling these conditions generally helps prevent stone formation.

 

How can I prevent kidney stones?

If you had a calcium stone, cutting back on salt will help. You may also be advised to avoid high-oxalate foods, including chocolate, instant coffee, tea, beans, berries, dark leafy greens, oranges, tofu, and sweet potatoes. The best way to ward off new kidney stones is to drink enough water to keep urine clear.

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