Once you’ve passed your first kidney stone, there’s a 70% chance you’ll pass another one in the next 10 years
The good news is you can lower your risk for developing future kidney stones.
There are several types of kidney stones. Calcium oxalate stones are the most common. These chemicals occur in everyone’s urine and our body chemistry typically prevents these chemicals from crystallizing.
Less common are kidney stones made from calcium and phosphate, or from struvite. These stones are usually the result of an infection or (rarely) from uric acid or cysteine.
Kidney Stone Symptoms
You should consult with a urologist if you experience the following kidney stone symptoms:
- Blood in your urine
- Burning pain during urination
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Pain in the lower abdomen and groin area, labia, or testicle
- Sharp, stabbing pain in the mid-back that may occur every few minutes lasting from 20 minutes to one hour
- Urinary tract infection
Kidney Stone Treatment
Sometimes, kidney stones pass through your body in your urine without symptom. Other times, however, passing a kidney stone can be extremely painful. Pain medication and fluids may be the primary treatment. A kidney specialist, also referred to as a urologist / urology specialist will work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
You may need surgery if your stone is very large or growing larger; if it is causing infection, bleeding or other damage; if it’s blocking urine flow; or if it does not pass on its own.
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a non-invasive outpatient treatment option. Fluoroscopy is used to locate the stone. Then high-energy sound waves are administered, passing through your body without harming it. This breaks up large stones into smaller pieces so they can more easily pass through the urinary tract.
Preventing Kidney Stones
We don’t know why some people develop kidney stones and others do not. However, once you've developed one stone, you are likely to produce another. Your urologist or dietitian can prescribe a diet to help you reduce your risk of developing additional kidney stones. Each type of stone may require a different diet plan.
We do know that there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of developing additional stones:
- Follow the diet prescribed by your doctor or dietitian, and
- Drink plenty of water