The kidneys serve a vital role in our health and bodily functions. These two-bean shaped organs work to maintain overall fluid balance by filtering toxins and waste from the blood and turning it into urine. Unfortunately, sometimes there is too much waste, and kidney stones can form and cause intense pain and other problems for the body.
Take a moment and learn more about kidney stones with us so you can be prepared if you ever are in this situation:
What Are Kidney Stones?
If there is too much of certain wastes being filtered out and not enough fluid in your blood, the wastes can build up and clump together in your kidneys, forming kidney stones. These small stones are typically between the size of a grain of salt and corn kernel, but they can still cause a lot of pain.
It’s important to know the type of kidney stone you have to determine the cause, and how to prevent them.
- Calcium stones – The most common type of kidney stones, calcium stones, are typically in the form of calcium oxalate, a substance produced by the liver and naturally absorbed by your diet.
- Struvite stones – These stones form as a response to a urinary tract infection. Often, struvite stones grow quickly and suddenly without showing symptoms.
- Uric acid stones – Individuals who lose too much fluid in their body because of chronic diarrhea or malabsorption, eat a high-protein diet, or those who have diabetes or metabolic syndrome may develop these types of stones.
- Cystine stones – Those who have a hereditary disorder called cystinuria, which causes the kidneys to excrete too much of a certain amino acid, and likely to develop cystine stones.
Signs and Symptoms
The stone can move around within the kidneys or move into the tube that connects the bladder to the kidneys before hopefully being excreted. It is possible to have kidney stones and experience no symptoms. The symptoms you do experience can range from mild to severe and can include:
- Intense pain in your side, back, groin, and lower abdomen
- Pain that comes and goes and renegades in severity
- Pain while you urinate
- Urinating more frequently than usual
- Urine that is cloudy, red, brown, pink, or smells foul
- An intense feeling of needing to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Fever and chills if you have an infection
- Nausea and vomiting
Most kidney stones are small, and invasive treatment is not necessary. Some ways to help excrete your kidney stones include:
- Drinking water – Making sure your body has plenty of fluids can help you both pass and prevent kidney stones from forming. Drinking as much as 2 to 3 quarts of water a day will keep your urine dilute and you hydrated.
- Pain relievers – Since passing kidney stones can be painful and uncomfortable, taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help.
- Prescribed medications – Your doctor may prescribe you a drug designed to relax the muscles in your ureter to help you excrete your kidney stones quicker and with less pain and discomfort.
When kidney stones are too large to pass naturally, to prevent damage, other treatment will likely be required, including:
- Sound waves – Depending on the kidney stone’s size and location, your doctor may use sound waves, a procedure called an extracorporeal shock wave, to break it up.
- Surgery – In a percutaneous nephrolithotomy procedure, surgery is conducted using small telescopes and instruments to remove any large kidney stones safely.
- Using a scope – Your doctor may want to use a ureteroscope equipped with a camera to locate the stone and break it up into smaller pieces that will then pass in your urine.
Seek medical attention if you are concerned about kidney stones or are experiencing concerning symptoms related to your kidneys.
Health Care in New York
If you are concerned about your health or believe you have kidney stones, don’t hesitate to speak with one of the expert doctors at NY Health. The physicians and staff at New York Health Kidney Specialists are committed to the best quality kidney care available.
Here at NY Health, our wide variety of services are here to help ensure that you get the proper, personalized care you need. We continuously strive to deliver the best medical care possible with your well-being in mind.