Kidney Stones

Urine contains many dissolved minerals and salts. When you develop high levels of these minerals and salts, kidney stones are formed. Kidney stones start small but grow larger in size, even filling the inner hollow structures of the kidney. Some stones stay in the kidney and do not cause any problems. Sometimes, the kidney stone can travel down the ureter, the tube between the kidney and the bladder. If the stone reaches the bladder, it can be passed out of the body in urine. If the stone becomes lodged in the ureter, it blocks the urine flow from that kidney and causes pain.

Symptoms

In some cases, a kidney stone lies in a kidney and causes no problems or symptoms. You may not be aware of it. When symptoms do occur, they include some of the following:

  • Pain from a kidney: A stone that is stuck in a kidney may cause pain in the side of the abdomen.
  • Renal colic: This is a severe pain – which usually comes and goes but may also be constant – and is caused by a stone that passes into the tube draining urine from the kidney (the ureter).
  • Blood: You may see blood in your urine caused by a stone rubbing against the inside of your ureter.
  • Infection: Urine infections are more common in people with kidney stones.
Diagnosis and Treatment

Healthcare professionals focus on your medical history, a physical examination and investigative tests to diagnose kidney stones. The tests may also be able to show problems that caused a kidney stone to form.

If you have kidney stones, drink lots of water unless otherwise directed by your nephrologist. You may be able to prevent future kidney stones by making changes in how much sodium, meat and calcium you consume.

Healthcare professionals may treat your kidney stones by removing the kidney stone or by breaking it into small pieces. You may be able to prevent kidney stones by drinking enough water, changing the way you eat or taking medicines.