What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys. The stones are made of mineral and acid salts.
Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract - from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
What are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
A kidney stone may not cause symptoms until it moves around within your kidney or passes into your ureter - the tube connecting the kidney and bladder. You may experience these signs and symptoms:
- Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin
- Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
- Pain on urination
- Pink, red or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent need to urinate
- Urinating more often than usual
- Fever and chills if an infection is present
- Urinating small amounts of urine
How are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?
If our doctors suspect you have a kidney stone, you may have diagnostic tests and procedures, such as:
- Blood testing
- Urine testing
How are Kidney Stones Treated?
Treatment for kidney stones varies, depending on the type of stone and the cause. Most kidney stones do not require invasive treatment. You may be able to pass a small stone by:
- Drinking water
- Pain relievers
- Medical therapy
You may be asked to urinate through a strainer to catch stones that you pass, so that we can determine the makeup of your kidney stones. We use this information to determine what's causing your kidney stones and to form a plan to prevent more kidney stones.
However, kidney stones are too large to pass on their own or cause bleeding, kidney damage or ongoing urinary tract infections - may require more extensive treatment. Procedures may include:
- Using sound waves to break up stones
- Surgery to remove very large stones in the kidney
- Using a scope to remove stones