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Steinberg Urology: Learn More About Kidney Stones

Kidney stones vary in size and shape which are hard crystals or small deposits that form inside your kidneys when salts and minerals in the urine bond together. Kidney stones may pass through the ureter, which is a thin tube leading to the bladder outside the body, and some stay in the kidneys causing little or no symptoms, while others cause tremendous pain depending on the location and size of the kidney stones. The urologists at Steinberg Urology are experienced in the treatment of stones affecting both men and women, providing specialized diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care, focusing on long-term health.

Are you at high risk of developing kidney stones? It includes family history of kidney stones (first-degree relatives), dehydration (lack of fluids), certain diets (high in protein, oxalates, and stones like chocolates, nuts, and spinach), excess vitamin C or vitamin D intake, inflammatory conditions (Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease), metabolic disorders (gout or hyperthyroidism), and obesity. The signs and symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain (located in the side or the back, radiating to the abdomen and the groin area), painful urination, frequent need to urinate, urinary urge, blood in the urine (hematuria), foul smelling urine, nausea and vomiting, and fever (stone causing infection). Most patients are diagnosed of kidney stones because of extreme pain from large stones, so they are usually diagnosed in the emergency department or in a urologist’s office, and the diagnostic tools may include CT scan, ultrasound, x-ray, urinalysis, and blood work to determine excessive uric acid or calcium. Patients with small kidney stones (2 to 5 mm in size) usually pass stones through the urianry tract outside the body with the help of increased fluid intake (to flush out stones), pain relievers (acetaminophen), and alpha blockers (to relax ureters to allow easy passing of stones with lesser pain). Your urologist may advise you to use a special kidney stones strainer to catch fragments and determine what type of stones you have for a proper treatment plan and medical management.

When it comes to the kidney stones, there are different types such as calcium-oxalate, struvite stones, uric acid stones, and cystine stones. The most common type of kidney stones are calcium-oxalate caused by oxalate-rich foods such as spinach, kale, chocolate, strawberries, nuts, and tea, high in salt food, and certain medications. Struvite stones grow very large, causing infection, and it affects both men and women. Excessive intake of animal protein like red meat may cause uric acid stones which are made of uric acid, a waste product of the body found in the urine. Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) refers to a non-invasive procedure for removing smaller stones (less than 10mm in diameter) wherein high energy shock waves are delivered through the body to the stone, breaking up the stone into small particles. Allow us to help you find an expert and experienced urologist through Steinberg Urology today.