Stone disease is one of the most painful and prevalent urological disorders. More than a million kidney stone cases are diagnosed each year, with an estimated one out of ten people expected to suffer from a kidney stone at some time in their life.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are solid pieces of material that form when substances normally found in the urine, such as mineral and acid salts, become concentrated and crystallize.
A stone can range in size from a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. It may remain in the kidneys or travel down the urinary tract into the ureter. A small stone may pass on its own, causing little or no pain. However, a larger stone may get stuck along the tract and block the flow of urine, resulting in intense pain or bleeding.
Who gets kidney stones?
Anyone can develop a kidney stone, but some people are more likely to get one.
Those with increased risk include:
- Overweight and obese individuals
- Individuals with a family or personal history of kidney stones
- Individuals who are dehydrated
- Individuals who maintain diets high in protein, sodium, or sugar.
- Individuals with certain bowel conditions, such as chronic diarrhea and Crohn’s disease or those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery
- Individuals with other medical conditions including renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism, certain medications and some urinary tract infections
Kidney stones do not always cause pain. If they do, the first sign can often be the sudden development of intense, unrelenting and contraction-like pain in the side and back, below the ribs that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin.
Other symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the urine
- Painful or frequent urination
- Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
- Fever (if an infection is present)
Tests and procedures to diagnose kidney stones include:
- Detailed family history, lifestyle and dietary habits
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Imaging tests
- Analysis of passed stones
If you need more information or have questions, we are here to help. Please contact Z Urology at 954-714-8200.