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Steinberg Urology: All About Kidney Stones

Kidney stones vary in size and shape which are hard crystals or small deposits that form inside your kidneys when salts and minerals in the urine bond together. Kidney stones may pass through the ureter, which is a thin tube leading to the bladder outside the body, and some stay in the kidneys causing little or no symptoms, while others cause tremendous pain depending on the location and size of the kidney stones. In Steinberg Urology, patients with kidney stones are given the proper diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care, focusing on long-term health.

Are you at high risk of developing kidney stones? It includes family history of kidney stones (first-degree relatives), dehydration (lack of fluids), certain diets (high in protein, oxalates, and stones like chocolates, nuts, and spinach), excess vitamin C or vitamin D intake, inflammatory conditions (Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease), metabolic disorders (gout or hyperthyroidism), and obesity. The signs and symptoms of kidney stones depends on the sixe, location, and type of stone whichmay include the following: severe pain (located in the side or the back, radiating to the abdomen and the groin area), urinary urge, blood in the urine (hematuria), nausea and vomiting, painful urination, frequent need to urinate, foul smelling urine, and fever (stone may cause infection). Most patients are diagnosed of kidney stones because of extreme pain from large stones, so they are usually diagnosed in the emergency department or in a urologist’s office, and the diagnostic tools may include CT scan, ultrasound, x-ray, urinalysis, and blood work to determine excessive uric acid or calcium. With the help of increased fluid intake (to flush out stones), pain relievers (acetaminophen), and alpha blockers (to relax ureters to allow passing of stones with lesser pain), small kidney stones may pass through the kidneys. You may be asked by your urologist to use a special strainer to catch the kidney stones or fragments to determine what type of stones you have to help in the management of your kidney stones that may form in the future.

Kidney stones come in different sizes and shapes and there are also different types of stones including calcium-oxalate, struvite stones, uric acid stones, and cystine stones. Calcium-oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stones caused by foods high in salt as well as oxalate-rich food like spinach, kale, chocolate, strawberries, nuts, and tea. Struvite stones may occur with a kidney infection, affecting men and women, and they grow very large requiring surgical intervention. Eating too much animal protein may cause uric acid stones which are made of uric acid, a waste product of the body. Shock wave lithotripsy refers to a non-invasive procedure for removing smaller stones (less than 10mm in diameter). Find out more about kidney stones by checking Steinberg Urology website or homepage now.