Kidney Stones

A kidney stone is a solid, granule like material that can form in one or both kidneys, like a grain of sand. Rarely do kidney stones cause permanent damage if you seek treatment from a healthcare professional. So how do you know if you have a kidney stone?

Symptoms & Causes

Symptoms of kidney stones include a pain in your back, side, lower abdomen, groin, nausea & vomiting, fever, chills, and blood in your urine. If the stone is small enough, you may not have any symptoms. Stones can form when high levels of certain materials are in your urine. For example, most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a substance made in the liver or absorbed from your diet.

There are four types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite and Cystine. Struvite stones are not common and are caused by infections in the kidney. Cystine stones are rare and tend to run in families. The uric acid stones come from diets high in a chemical compound called purines. A diet high in purines increases the production of monosodium urate. Under the right conditions they can form stones in the kidney.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Health care professionals use your medical history, a physical exam, and tests to diagnoses stones. They may order lab tests to look for problems that may have caused the stone. You provider may treat your kidney stones by removing it, or breaking it into small pieces. You may be able to prevent kidney stones by drinking enough water, changing the way you eat, or taking medication.

If your stone is large enough to block the flow of urine, or if there is an infection, it is removed with surgery. Shockwave lithotripsy is a non-invasive procedure that uses high-intensity sound waves to break the stone into fragments so the pieces can pass through in the urine. Then there is ureteroscopy, a scope is inserted through the ureter (tube from the bladder to the kidney) to retrieve or smash the stone. For very large or complicated stones, urologists will use percutaneous nephrolithotomy/nephrolithotripsy.

Diet & Nutrition

If you have kidney stones, you can drink a lot of water. You may also prevent the formation of kidney stones by drinking a lot of water. You can decrease the sodium, animal protein, calcium, and oxalate in your diet.

What do you do if I think you have a Stone?

Some herbal substances are advertised as helping to prevent stones. You should know there is insufficient research to support these claims. If you have the symptoms, you need to be seen by a health professional. Your provider will do an exam and assessment. Drink lots of water and be seen. Having a kidney stone increased your risk of developing another stone. 50% of people who develop a kidney stone will develop another in 5-6 years. If you have questions please leave a comment below or contact Intimate Health Telemedicine. You can also visit us on Facebook.

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Sharon Zell NP