Our team of urologists is here to provide treatment for all feminine urologic conditions, such as urinary tract infections, uterine prolapse, cancer, and many others.
Kidney stones, also known as renal lithiasis, are deposits that form within the kidneys. They are made up of acid salts and minerals. Kidney stones come into existence when urine contains excess of a substance, which can form crystals over weeks or months. The size of a kidney stone can vary, from a grain of sand to a golf ball.
One of the main cause of kidney stones is not staying hydrated. The chances of developing kidney stones increases if a patient produces less than a liter of urine a day.
There are a few types of kidney stones that a patient may experience:
- Calcium oxalate stones – The most common type of kidney stone among patients. They form due to the increase of calcium and/or oxalate in urine, or a lot concentration of citrate in urine.
- Uric acid stones – This type of stone forms from an unusually high level of uric acid in the urine. Patient with gout are prone to uric acid stones due to high levels of uric acid in their blood.
- Struvite stones – These stones are made up of the waste products ammonia and magnesium, which are related to urinary tract infections (UTI). As a result of medical advancements and ease of diagnosing UTIs, struvite stones have become less common. This type of stone is also seen in patients with long-term bladder catheters.
- Cystine stones – This is the least common type of kidney stone and often occur from a genetic defect.
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
A kidney stone can move out of the body through the urinary tract. Once it begins to move out of the kidneys via the ureter, it can cause pain among other symptoms:
- Pain in the back, side, groin, abdomen, or genitals that fluctuates in waves, often described as the “worst pain ever.”
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Blood in the urine.
- Painful and frequent urination.
A urologist will diagnose a patient with kidney stones using various tests such as ultrasounds, CT scans, or X-rays. These tests are used to determine if the symptoms a patient is experiencing are in fact kidney stones, or something similar such as menstrual symptoms.
Kidney Stone Treatment
If the kidney stone can pass on its own, your urologist will suggest home treatment, which includes nonprescription pain medicine along with drinking plenty of fluids to flush it out. If the patient is experiencing difficulty passing the kidney stone, a urologist may perform a medical procedure to help the passing process. The following are some medical procedure options a patient has, depending on the severity of their condition:
- Ureteroscopy – The kidney stone is removed using a ureteroscope to locate it, and forceps to extract it. A large kidney stone will need to be broken apart with a laser prior to its removal. If it is stuck in the ureter, the ureteroscope will be used to push it back into the kidney, then broken up using lithotripsy. Most patients can go home after this procedure, but some need to stay in a hospital for 24-48 hours.
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWL) – Shock waves are used to break apart a kidney stone, which allows it to easily pass through the body. This hour-long out-patient procedure requires the patient to be under a sedative or local anesthesia. If the kidney stone is large, the urologist will place a stent within the ureter to hold it open while the kidney stone passes.
Specialized Urologists at AUUA
The dedicated urologists at Academic Urology and Urogynecology are knowledgeable in a variety of conditions within urology, including kidney stones. Our goal is to treat every patient with the utmost care, all while keeping their comfort in mind. Call us today to learn more about our providers and treatment options.