Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are the most treated condition by urologists. 

Men and women both get kidney stones, and sometimes require medical or surgical treatment.

Children with kidney stones often get a comprehensive workup.

Because kidney stone formers often have stones again, urologists often recommend different workups to see if a medication may be right to keep stones from forming again in the future.

What is a kidney stone?

Kidney stones form in the urine, usually because of an over saturation or imbalance of components in the urine. Most kidney stones are made of calcium, however are caused by too much sodium or animal protein in the diet. Urologists over decades have learned the best ways to treat stones, and prevent them from recurring.

Who forms kidney stones?

Sometimes kidney stones are a mixture of genetics and bad luck. Some patients have a strong family history of kidney stones, and other patients may need a change in their dietary habits to help from forming so many stones.

Are there medications to help with kidney stone formation?

YES! Kidney stones can often be prevented with a mixture of dietary changes and medication changes. Medicines such as potassium citrate can bind calcium in the urine, and thiazide medications can prevent so much calcium from building up in the urine. Unfortunately most stones cannot be dissolved with medications, but medications can be used to keep you from forming more kidney stones.

How does my doctor know what medication is right for me?

Urine tests, called a Urorisk, and blood tests can be performed to see what types of chemicals are building up in your urine or blood. This test is typically done in one day, with an entire day of collecting urine. The build up of sodium, calcium, or oxalate may be seen and your doctor may recommend dietary changes or medication changes.

Why do kidney stones hurt?

Kidney stones may be formed, and then “pass” into the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder called the ureter. The ureter tries to push urine passed the stone, and if it cannot the urine may back up into the kidney. The kidney does not like to be stretched, and receptors in the kidney fire pain signals to your brain. Although the stones seem sharp, its actually the blockage of flow of urine that causes the pain that is seen with kidney stones

What surgery is needed for kidney stones?

Kidney stone surgery depends on the size and location of the kidney stone. Smaller stones may pass on their own! Other stones may need surgery. Ureteroscopy, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), and percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) are all surgical options depending on stone size and location.