The most common symptoms of kidney stones are blood in the urine or pain. Pain severity and location of pain might vary depending on such factors as stone location and degree of obstruction. Other symptoms include:
- Feeling the need to urinate often
- Inability to urinate (when a stone blocks the urinary tract)
- Nausea and/or Vomiting
- Cloudy, foul smelling urine, fever, chills, or weakness might be a sign of a serious infection
Kidney stones form when the various acids and minerals of your urine are out of balance. When this happens, your urine contains more crystalforming substances, such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid, than the available fluid can dilute. At the same time, your urine may be short of substances that keep crystals from sticking together and becoming stones. This creates an environment in which kidney stones are more likely to form.
Usually, kidney stones result in no permanent damage. However, medical treatment can help prevent recurrent stones in people with increased risk. At Alpine Urology, our doctors will identify your type of kidney stone and help you understand what can be done to reduce your risk of developing additional kidney stones.
It is common to see a number of factors, often in combination, create the conditions in which certain people develop kidney stones.
- You are more likely to develop kidney stones, if someone in your family has kidney stones.
- If you've already had one or more kidney stones, you're at increased risk of developing another.
- Kidney stones are most common in adults age 40 and older.
- Men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women.
- Not drinking enough water each day can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. A diet that's high-protein, high-sodium and high-sugar may increase your risk of some types of kidney stones.
- Significant weight gain and obesity have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.
- Changes in your digestive process, that could affect your absorption of calcium and increase the levels of stone-forming substances in your urine.
- Certain medical conditions can also increase your risk of developing kidney stone disease.
Most kidney stones won't require invasive treatment.
- You may be able to pass a small stone by drinking as much as 2 to 3 quarts of water a day to help flush out your urinary system.
- If needed to relieve pain, our doctors may recommend pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
- If your kidney stones cannot be treated with this conservative approach, our doctors will recommend a treatment that is safe and effective.
- The majority of kidney stones — depending on their size and location — can be removed with minimally invasive techniques such as shock wave lithotripsy (SWL), ureteroscopy, or percutaneous surgery. SWL is a relatively non-invasive procedure that uses targeted shock waves to break stones into tiny pieces.