Kidney stones are abnormal substances that come together to form hard deposits inside the kidney that can move through the urinary tract. Composition varies—for example, calcium, uric acid, and cystine among others. Kidney stones are common and account for about 600,000 emergency room visits per year. Many people have kidney stones and do not know it until found incidentally by X-ray. The sizes range from small to large. Larger stones can be very painful to pass, and if a stone becomes lodged it can block the flow of urine and lead to serious damage. While kidney stones can form in anyone, they’re more likely to develop in people with certain risk factors.
Risk factors for kidney stones include:
● Family history of kidney stones
● Previous kidney stones
● A high-sodium diet
● Some hereditary diseases
● Certain medications
The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Staying hydrated and
maintaining a healthy diet that’s low in salt and sugar can help prevent stones from forming. If you’ve
had kidney stones in the past or have family members who have had kidney stones, you’re at a higher
risk of developing them.
Symptoms of kidney stones include:
● Sharp pain in the back or side
● Pain while urinating
● Blood in the urine
● Nausea and vomiting
● Loss of appetite
If you experience pain that is intolerable, develop a high fever, start vomiting or become unable to
urinate, you should seek medical care right away.
The good news? If you have small stones, you’ll likely be able to pass them on your own by drinking
plenty of water. Around 80 percent of stones pass on their own within a couple of days. If you have a
larger stone or are experiencing complications or intense pain, other types of treatment may be
necessary. These treatment options include extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy, percutaneous
nephrolithotomy, ureteroscopy and surgery to break up or remove the stones. Surgery is a last resort
used when other options haven’t been successful. Your doctor will be able to discuss treatment
options with you and decide on the best treatment plan for your specific needs. Your doctor may also
prescribe medications to prevent kidney stones from forming again in the future.
At Arkansas Urology, we’re here for you. Our patients’ health has been and will always be
our top priority! Do you need to schedule an appointment? Contact us today or book your appointment online.