The pain from a kidney stone can be overwhelming, especially when combined with symptoms like difficulty urinating. You may not be able to pass a stone on your own or may want guidance to prevent kidney stones from becoming a recurring problem. At Urology Health Center in Fremont, Nebraska, the team of experienced urologists provides quick symptom relief and preventive care for kidney stones. If you suspect you may have a kidney stone, schedule an appointment online or by phone today.
A kidney stone forms from a buildup of minerals, such as calcium, in your kidney. Some stones are small enough that you may not know you have them, and they come out when you urinate. Other stones are large enough that they make urination difficult and cause severe pain in your abdomen and groin.
Minerals accumulate and form kidney stones when your body isn’t getting enough water. If you’re hydrated, your kidneys can dilute the minerals, and they simply leave your body through your urine. Although, when you’re dehydrated, you produce less urine, making it easier for the minerals to clump together.
Factors that make kidney stones more likely to form include:
Dehydration is the most common culprit of kidney stones. Often, people with kidney stones drink less than the recommended 64 ounces of water a day. It’s also harder to stay hydrated and replace your body’s fluids if you sweat a lot.
The foods you eat can increase the amount of crystal-forming substances in your urine and make kidney stones more likely, including animal proteins, salty foods, and sweets. However, even a healthy diet can lead to kidney stones. Oxalate, an organic acid found in various fruits, vegetables, and legumes, can contribute to stone formation.
If you take diuretics for a kidney condition, you might end up with a higher concentration of calcium in your urine. Certain antibiotics can also lead to stone formation.
Kidney stones can affect anyone, but they’re usually seen in men ages 30-50. They’re more common among people who are overweight or obese. There’s usually a genetic factor in kidney stones, so pay attention to these risk factors if your parent or sibling has gotten kidney stones before.
If you can handle the pain and you don’t have trouble urinating, you probably have a small kidney stone that can pass by itself. You can usually pass these stones by drinking lots of water — 2 to 3 quarts a day — and managing the pain with over-the-counter medication. Your doctor can also prescribe a muscle relaxer so your body has an easier time passing the stone.
Medium and large kidney stones cause more severe symptoms. If your pain is debilitating and urinating is difficult or impossible, schedule an appointment at Urology Health Center right away.
Your doctor can perform extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), which uses sound waves to break up the kidney stone into very small particles that you can pass on your own. There are also minimally invasive procedures to remove stones that are too large to be treated with ESWL.
For larger stones, your doctor may use ureteroscopy. With this procedure, your doctor inserts a ureteroscope into the tubes of your urinary tract to manually manipulate the stone or for laser lithotripsy to break up the stone.
Your doctor can also advise you on preventive care, including dietary changes, to decrease the chances of developing another kidney stone.
If you suspect you have a kidney stone, schedule an appointment at Urology Health Center online or by phone today.