What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are deposits of minerals and salts that bind together and form a “stone” inside the kidney. Most stones in the United States have some component of calcium and are related to dietary intake. Stones can vary in size, shape, color and how quickly they will grow. If you have a history of kidney stones or told you have kidney stone, the experts at Advanced Urology Centers-White Plains can provide the necessary urologic care.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Patients typically experience pain and discomfort from the stone. The pain is often located in the flank/back area and spreads around to the lower abdomen. You may have urinary frequency, urgency, feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder, hematuria (blood in the urine). When the stone moves into a position to block the urine from the kidney to the bladder, you may experience nausea, vomiting. A fever is a potential dangerous symptom with a kidney stone and you should contact your physician immediately if you develop a fever while passing a stone.
What causes kidney stones?
They are many risks factors for stone disease:
- Low fluid intake/low urine volume
- Dietary factors:
- High sodium intake >2,300 mg/day, increase stone formation
- High animal protein intake
- High intake of oxalate containing foods (leafy green vegetables, chocolate, nuts)
- Carbonated beverages
- Calcium intake-very low or very high calcium intake can cause stones
- Medical conditions: diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, hyperparathyroidism, bowel absorption issues (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease, laxative abuse), urinary infections, sedentary lifestyle, hereditary/genetic diseases (renal tubular acidosis, sarcoidosis, polycystic kidney disease)
- Medications: Vitamin C/D, Triamterene, Indinavir, Furosemide, Acetazolemide
How do I prevent stones?
Factors to reduce kidney stone formation:
- Increase fluid intake
- Low sodium diet
- Increase intake of citrate found in citrus juices (one half cup daily of pure lemon juice)
- Appropriate dietary Calcium intake- 1,000-1,200 mg/day
- Low animal (meat) protein diets
Many stones can be passed with aggressive fluid intake and pain medication. Your physician may also give you Flomax which increases the chance of passing the stone naturally. If you do require intervention, we have the expertise to help you choose the best option based on your medical history and stone characteristics.
- Shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): Shock waves are delivered external to the body surface by a specialized machine (lithotripter) while you are anesthetized. The stone is broken in to small fragments which pass without discomfort. This is the least invasive procedure for kidney stones, please speak with your urologist to see if it is an option.
- Ureteroscopy/Laser lithotripsy: A minimally invasive procedure involving the passage of small cameras and instruments through the natural passageways (urethra) of the urinary system. Once the stones are located a laser fiber is utilized to dissolve the stone into small gravel which can pass in the urine.
- Percutaneous Stone Surgery: For large or complicated kidney stones, your physician may suggest this advanced technique which involves direct access into the kidney (and the stone) through a small quarter sized incision in the back. Small cameras and instruments are inserted to break apart and extract the stone leaving you virtually “stone free”. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and may require a brief overnight hospital stay.