Causes and Types of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are tiny, rock-like deposits of minerals and acid salts that form in your kidneys. Although passing kidney stones can be painful, they usually flush without invasive medical treatment and cause no long-term harm.
There are different types of kidney stones, and they can be caused by a number of factors.
Kidney stones may be the result of diet, response to infection, or hereditary disorders. The most common types of kidney stones are calcium-based stones; calcium not used by bones and muscles is typically flushed by the kidneys, but in some cases calcium remains and joins with other waste particles to form stones.
Kidney Stone Symptoms
The presence of a kidney stone may not result in symptoms until it moves within the kidney or enters the ureter, which connects the kidney and bladder. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common kidney stone indicators include:
- Sharp pain in the sides and back that comes in waves and may spread to the lower abdomen and groin
- Pain during urination
- Cloudy or discolored urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased urge to urinate
- Urinating more than normal
The discomfort associated with kidney stones may shift locations and fluctuate in intensity with the movement of the stones.
Kidney Stone Treatment
You should schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor if you experience the symptoms outlined above. You should seek immediate medical attention if your pain is so severe that you can’t find a comfortable resting position, if you have difficulty urinating, or if you notice blood in your urine.
Kidney stone treatments vary depending on a number of individual factors. Most kidney stones do not require invasive treatment and can be flushed by drinking 2 to 3 quarts of water per day until the stones pass; during this time, over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can help relieve your discomfort.
Depending on your condition, your doctor may also prescribe a medication referred to as an alpha blocker to help relax the muscles in the ureter and allow you to pass the stone more easily. In rare cases, kidney stones may require the use of sound waves or a scope to break up stones, or surgery to remove the stones. Your doctor may also recommend preventive measures if you’re at risk for developing kidney stones again.
If you live in the Littleton, Colorado, area and you’re suffering from symptoms of kidney stones or are seeking a knowledgeable primary care physician, please contact Dr. Andy Fine online or call 303-703-8583 to schedule your appointment.