Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful. In fact, pain is the most common symptom of kidney stones. This pain usually begins as a dull ache in your back or side, and over time the pain is likely to increase, moving lower. This pain often comes with other symptoms including bloody or cloudy urine, nausea, fever, and stomach aches. If you’re experiencing kidney stone pain it’s likely your primary focus is alleviating the pain and discomfort as quickly as possible. Our skilled urology team is here to help with a fast diagnosis, treatment options, and rapid recovery.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are small hard deposits that form in your urine, usually somewhere between the size of a grain of salt and a kernel of corn. Typically, these deposits are made of excess calcium, oxalates, and uric acid.
What causes kidney stones?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to kidney stones. Diets high in salt, animal protein, vitamin C, and high-oxalate foods such as spinach, rhubarb, baked potatoes, and raspberries. All can certainly contribute to the formulation of kidney stones. Dehydration is also a common contributor to the formulation of kidney stones. If you’re dehydrated, it’s difficult for your body to properly process the calcium, oxalates, and uric acids. These elements begin to build up and form kidney stones. It is important to note that a family history of kidney stones may increase your risk of forming kidney stones.
How do I prevent kidney stones?
The easiest way to prevent kidney stones is by drinking plenty of water. Making sure you stay hydrated will significantly reduce your chances of forming kidney stones. It’s important to watch your sodium intake. Limit the amount of salt and salty foods you eat. In addition, make sure you’re consuming your daily recommended amount of calcium. A calcium deficiency can result in higher levels of oxalates in your urine.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Pain in the lower back and side is the most common symptom, but there are other common symptoms of kidney stones to watch out for:
- Pain in the lower back or side below the ribs
- Pain in your groin or abdomen
- Urgent need to urinate
- Trouble passing urine
- Blood in your urine
- Cloudy or smelly urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
How are kidney stones typically treated?
When kidney stones are found, they are assessed based on size. Smaller stones are likely to pass naturally. Larger stones are likely to require intervention.
Treatment for small kidney stones:
- Drink lots of water
- Take pain relievers to reduce the pain
- Medical therapy such as using Flomax (tamsulosin)
Treatment for large kidney stones:
Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL)
Ureteroscopy Treatment - Ureteroscopy treatment makes use of a small lighted tube with a camera to locate the stones within the urethra and bladder. Once the stone is located, a laser is typically used to break the stone into small pieces. These small fragments are removed using a flexible basket.
Surgical removal - Surgical removal is done through a treatment called percutaneous nephrolithotomy where a small incision is made on the patient’s back and the kidney stones are removed using a nephroscope and other extremely small instruments.
What should I do if I think I have kidney stones?
If you are experiencing severe pain in your lower back or abdomen that is preventing you from sitting or finding a comfortable position and/or pain along with a fever or nausea or vomiting please reach out to Puyallup Surgical or another emergency medical professional right away for diagnosis and treatment.