Kidney Stones Q & A
What causes kidney stones?
Your urine contains minerals, salts, and other substances that generally stay dissolved, but when your urine is too concentrated, these substances crystalize and form stones. Over time, the stones enlarge, causing extreme pain as they travel through your urinary tract or cause an obstruction.
What type of kidney stones might I develop?
You may develop one of four types of kidney stones:
Calcium stones account for 80% of all kidney stones. Most consist of calcium oxalate, but you can also develop calcium phosphate stones.
Uric acid stones
Uric acid stones represent 5-10% of all stones present in patients. They typically develop in people who don’t drink enough fluids or who have very acidic urine. Your risk for uric acid stones increases if you follow a high-protein diet, have high blood sugar, or certain genetic factors.
Struvite stones often develop after a urinary tract infection. They often grow quickly and cause sudden pain without warning signs.
These kidney stones form due to cystinuria, a hereditary disorder that makes the kidneys excrete an excessive amount of amino acids.
What symptoms develop due to kidney stones?
Kidney stones seldom cause symptoms while they remain in the kidney. When they move into the ureter and start to travel to the bladder, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
- Back pain under the ribcage
- Lower abdominal or groin pain
- Blood in your urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Urinary frequency or urgency
- Burning with urination
- Intermittent urine stream
You may experience pain in different locations as the stones move through your urinary tract.
How do urology experts treat kidney stones?
Your Comprehensive Urology provider performs a urinalysis and diagnostic imaging such as an ultrasound, X-ray, intravenous pyelogram, or CT scan. These tests show the location and size of your stones and if the stones block any part of your urinary tract.
Your provider determines the underlying cause of your kidney stones and creates a customized treatment plan. The team may recommend outpatient stentless surgery such as laser stone ablation, shock wave therapy, and percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL).
After determining the type of kidney stones you have, the Comprehensive Urology team can help you prevent future stones with dietary changes, supplements, and medications when necessary.
If you develop back pain, abdominal pain, or other symptoms of kidney stones, call Comprehensive Urology or schedule an appointment online today.