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What Breaks Up Kidney Stones

Ureteroscopy For Kidney Stones Minimally Invasive Treatment

A Shocking Way to Break Up Kidney Stones

Ureteroscopy is the process of a urologist using a small scope to look inside the ureter . The scope, called a ureteroscope, is about the size of a cocktail straw and allows stones, lesions, or blockages to be assessed and treated.

Our urologists perform ureteroscopy in an operating room under anesthesia and the procedure typically takes 30-45 minutes.

In some cases, a stent is temporarily placed in the ureter to help kidney stone fragments pass more easily. The stent is a small tube that enlarges the ureter temporarily and may be placed before or at the time of ureteroscopy. Stents are typically removed after 1 week during an office visit.

After the procedure, most kidney stone patients have immediate relief from their discomfort. The stent may be slightly uncomfortable or create a feeling of having to urinate often. There usually is blood in the urine for a few days. The patient may feel sore for a few days, but can return quickly to regular activities.

Going A Small Amount At A Time

Large kidney stones sometimes get stuck in a ureter. This blockage can slow or stop the flow of urine.

If you have a blockage, you may only urinate a little bit each time you go. Urine flow that stops entirely is a medical emergency.

Its common for people with a kidney stone to have nausea and vomiting .

These symptoms happen because of shared nerve connections between the kidneys and GI tract . Stones in the kidneys can trigger nerves in the GI tract, setting off an upset stomach.

The nausea and vomiting can also be your bodys way of responding to intense pain .

Whats The Urinary Tract How Does It Work

Your urinary tract is vital to your body because it gets rid of waste and extra fluid. Its made up of both your kidneys, two ureters, your bladder and your urethra. Each organ has an important job :

  • Kidneys: Your fist-sized, bean-shaped kidneys are located on either side of your spine, below your rib cage. Each day they filter 120 to 150 quarts of your blood to remove waste and balance fluids. Your kidneys make one to two quarts of urine every day.
  • Ureters: After your kidney creates urine, the liquid travels through the tube-shaped ureter to the bladder. There is one ureter per kidney. Kidney stones can pass through the ureters or, if theyre too big, get stuck in them. You may require surgery if the stone is too large.
  • Bladder: Between your hip bones is your bladder, an organ that stores urine. It stretches to hold about one and a half to two cups.
  • Urethra: Like a ureter, your urethra is a tube through which urine passes. Its the final stop of the urinary tract where your urine leaves your body. This is called urination.

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Treatment Of Kidney Stones

For smaller kidney stones, pain relievers may be the only treatment needed. On average it takes five to seven days to pass a kidney stone, says Dr. Abromowitz. It may pass sooner. And if the stone is very high in the ureter, it can take up to two weeks.

Larger stones that block urine flow or cause infection may require surgery, such as:

  • Shock-wave lithotripsy, a noninvasive procedure using high-energy sound waves to break stones into fragments that pass out in the urine
  • Ureteroscopy, in which an endoscope is inserted through the ureter to retrieve or break up the stone
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy, used for very large or irregularly shaped stones. For both procedures, a small incision is made in the back to provide access for a nephroscope, a miniature fiberoptic camera, and other small instruments. Your doctor then either removes the stone or breaks up and removes the stone .

For ongoingprevention of recurring kidney stones, your doctor may prescribe increasing fluid intake, changing diet, controlling weight, and taking medication.

To learn more about kidney stones, talk to your doctor or health care provider or search for a provider.

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Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy Non

Kidney Stone Treatment  Phoenix, AZ  Dr. Mark Hong

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy , the most common kidney stone treatment. It uses high-energy sound waves to break up kidney stones inside the body. It does not require a surgical incision. Instead, it breaks stones into smaller pieces which are able to be passed in the urine. The treatment takes approximately 1 hour. ESWL is usually provided under mild anesthesia, which helps the patient lie still and remain comfortable.

After treatment, most patients may feel some discomfort as they pass the stone fragments. They also may see blood in their urine. This process may take up to a week or even longer. Meanwhile, most patients may return to their daily activities as usual.

Within three months after treatment, 70-90 percent of patients are free of kidney stones. ESWL appears to be most successful for patients with stones in the kidney and upper ureter . If stones are still present after treatment, they can be re-treated with ESWL.

The efficacy of ESWL is determined by many factors including stone size, location, composition, and body habitus.

ESWL usually is not appropriate for patients who:

  • Have a urinary tract infection, kidney infection or kidney cancer.
  • Have kidney abnormalities.
  • Are pregnant, because the sound waves and X-rays may be harmful to the fetus.
  • Have a bleeding disorder.

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Medication For Kidney Stones

For most people with recurrent calcium stones, a combination of drinking enough fluids, avoiding urinary infections, and specific treatment with medications will significantly reduce or stop new stone formation.

Certain medications such as thiazide diuretics or indapamide reduce calcium excretion and decrease the chance of another calcium stone. Potassium citrate or citric juices are used to supplement thiazide treatment and are used by themselves for some conditions where the urine is too acidic.

For people who have a high level of uric acid in their urine, or who make uric acid stones, the medication allopurinol will usually stop the formation of new stones.

Get In Your Fruits & Vegetables

People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables have a much lower risk of kidney stones. Fruits and vegetables are rich in healthy vitamins and minerals, have a low diet acid load, and provide citrate. Citrate is a powerful inhibitor of kidney stone formation.

Nearly all fruits are great for kidney stone prevention. If you like pineapple, it is a tasty choice to help get in your fruits and veggies!

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Pineapple For Kidney Stone Prevention

No research has been done to see if pineapple, specifically, can reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Or, if pineapple can dissolve or help pass kidney stones.

However, fruit, in general, is a very good thing to help prevent kidney stone formation. People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables are less likely to form kidney stones.

Nearly all fruits, including pineapple, are great sources of citrate and good for kidney stone prevention.

If you enjoy pineapple, eating it along with a variety of other fruits can help prevent kidney stone formation.

How Much Pineapple Should I Eat?

Aim to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. One cup of fresh pineapple counts as one serving of fruit.

Remember, it is more important to eat a variety of fruits, rather than focus on a single type.

How Are Kidney Stones Treated

How to break up a kidney stone with sound waves! Shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in action.

Once diagnosed, your healthcare provider will first determine if you even need treatment. Some smaller kidney stones may leave your system when you urinate. This can be very painful. If your provider decides that you do need treatment, your options include medications and surgery.

Medications. Medications may be prescribed to:

  • Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or, if youre in the emergency room, an IV narcotic.
  • Manage nausea/vomiting.
  • Relax your ureter so that the stones pass. Commonly prescribed medicines include tamsulosin and nifedipine .

You should ask your healthcare provider before you take ibuprofen. This drug can increase the risk of kidney failure if taken while youre having an acute attack of kidney stones especially in those who have a history of kidney disease and associated illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Surgery. There are four types of surgeries used to treat kidney stones. The first three are minimally invasive, meaning that the surgeon enters your body through a natural opening , or makes a small incision.

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Are There Any Foods Or Drinks That Help Treat Kidney Stones Are There Any Home Remedies

There are three liquids rumored to help with kidney stones:

  • Cranberry juice. Although cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections , it doesnt help with kidney stones.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and it can sometimes create changes to your urine, which helps with kidney stones. But, this doesnt always help. Talk to your healthcare provider about the use of vinegar.
  • Lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in citrate, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming. Citrates are found in several citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges and melons.
  • Coffee. Studies show that coffee may decrease your risk of developing kidney stones.

Avoid soda and other drinks with added sugar or fructose corn syrup. They increase your risk.

How Common Are Kidney Stones

Researchers have concluded that about one in ten people will get a kidney stone during their lifetime. Kidney stones in children are far less common than in adults but they occur for the same reasons. Theyre four times more likely to occur in children with asthma than in children who dont have asthma.

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How Successful Are These Treatments

In short dubious at best. There have been many reports of people using these natural methods, but the efficacy is unsubstantiated. Some people report success, but none of these treatments are based in scientific fact. For every anecdotal success story posted online, there are hundreds more stories of failures . So, what natural remedies DO work?

4. Lab Grade Chanca Piedra

Lab grade chanca piedra has shown high rates of success in kidney stone treatment. This herbal remedy breaks down and prevents the development of new kidney stones. The clinical benefits of all-natural Chanca Piedra are related to ureteral relaxation and to a putative reduction of the excretion of urinary crystallization promoters such as calcium. It first grabbed the attention of the scientific community in a 2002 study on rodents which demonstrated it slowed or halted kidney stone growth. Further studies indicated lab grade Chanca Piedra actually interferes with the process that would normally cause stones to form.

Professor Dr. Nestor Schor speaking about his research on lab grade Chanca Piedra:

Treatment with Phyllanthus niruri strongly inhibited the growth of the stones and reduced the number of stones

These results show that Phyllanthus niruri has an inhibitory effect on crystal growth

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

Kidney Stone Ultrasound Break Up
  • Do I have a kidney stone or is there another reason for my symptoms?
  • What type of kidney stone do I have?
  • What size is my kidney stone?
  • Where is my kidney stone located?
  • How many kidney stones do I have?
  • Do I need treatment or will I be able to pass the kidney stone?
  • Should I be tested for kidney disease?
  • What changes should I make to my diet?
  • What type of procedure should I have to get rid of the stones?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Kidney stones can be frustrating at best and agonizingly painful at the worst. To stop your situation from getting worse, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The pain can get severe, and surgery might be necessary. Remember: dont skip your prescriptions, drink lots of water and follow any dietary guidelines. Also, remember that kidney stones are a temporary condition. They wont bother you forever.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2021.


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Urinary System Parts And Their Functions:

  • Two kidneys. A pair of purplish-brown organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. Their function is to:
  • Remove liquid waste from the blood in the form of urine
  • Keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood
  • Produce erythropoietin, a hormone that aids the formation of red blood cells
  • Regulate blood pressure

The kidneys remove urea from the blood through tiny filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron consists of a ball formed of small blood capillaries, called a glomerulus, and a small tube called a renal tubule. Urea, together with water and other waste substances, forms the urine as it passes through the nephrons and down the renal tubules of the kidney.

  • Two ureters. Narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Muscles in the ureter walls continually tighten and relax forcing urine downward, away from the kidneys. If urine backs up, or is allowed to stand still, a kidney infection can develop. About every 10 to 15 seconds, small amounts of urine are emptied into the bladder from the ureters.
  • Bladder. A triangle-shaped, hollow organ located in the lower abdomen. It is held in place by ligaments that are attached to other organs and the pelvic bones. The bladder’s walls relax and expand to store urine, and contract and flatten to empty urine through the urethra. The typical healthy adult bladder can store up to two cups of urine for two to five hours.
  • How Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help

    Some people recommend using ACV as a natural way to treat kidney stones. The acetic acid found in ACV is thought to soften, break down, and dissolve kidney stones. The kidney stones can be reduced in size so that youre able to easily pass them in your urine.

    ACV is said to alkalize blood and urine while increasing stomach acids. This helps prevent new stones from forming and improves digestion.

    ACV may even help reduce pain and inflammation from kidney stones. It helps rid the body of toxins and excess minerals that can lead to kidney stones. According to some, ACV has a cleansing effect on the kidney and liver.

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    Whats The Outlook For Kidney Stones

    The outlook for kidney stones is very positive, although there is a risk of recurrence . Many kidney stones pass on their own over time without needing treatment. Medications and surgical treatments to remove larger kidney stones are generally very successful and involve little recovery time.

    Its possible to get kidney stones multiple times throughout your life. If you keep developing kidney stones, your healthcare provider may work with you to discover why the stones happen. Once the cause is found, you may be able to make dietary changes to prevent future stones.

    Let Kidney Stones Pass

    Lithotripsy to break up Kidney Stones at Bay Medical featured on WMBB

    Stones typically take several weeks to a few months to pass, depending on the number of stones and their size. Over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen , acetaminophen , or naproxen , can help you endure the discomfort until the stones pass. Your doctor also may prescribe an alpha blocker, which relaxes the muscles in your ureter and helps pass stones quicker and with less pain.

    If the pain becomes too severe, or if they are too large to pass, they can be surgically removed with a procedure called a ureteroscopy. Here, a small endoscope is passed into the bladder and up the ureter while you are under general anesthesia. A laser breaks up the stones, and then the fragments are removed.

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    What Are Kidney Stones

    Also known as renal stones or nephrolithiasis, kidney stones are composed of hard, solid waste materials that build up in the kidneys and form crystals.

    Four main types exist, but about 80% of all stones are calcium oxalate stones. Less common forms include struvite, uric acid, and cysteine .

    While smaller stones are usually not a problem, larger stones may cause a blockage in part of your urinary system as they leave your body.

    This can lead to severe pain, vomiting, and bleeding.

    Kidney stones are a common health problem. In fact, about 12% of men and 5% of women in the United States will develop a kidney stone during their lifetime .

    Whats more, if you get a kidney stone once, studies suggest you are up to 50% more likely to form another stone within 5 to 10 years .

    Below are 8 natural ways you can reduce the risk of forming another kidney stone.

    Summary Kidney stones are firm lumps formed from crystallized waste products in the kidneys. They are a common health problem and passing large stones can be very painful.

    Disney Roller Coaster May Help Patients Pass Kidney Stones

    Kidney stones can be incredibly painful. According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than half a million people visit the emergency room each year for kidney stones. However, research shows they may also benefit from heading to Disney World for a ride on an intense coaster.

    Scientists discovered in a study several years ago that riding Big Thunder Mountain may effectively treat minor kidney stones. They believe the rides lightning-fast movements have the power to ease stones through the ureter and bladder.

    #Odd The Disney Roller Coaster That Doubles As Medical Treatment


    In a 2016 study, researchers ran a kidney replica filled with stones and urine through the ride. They tracked how stones shifted depending on seat location and overall renal calculi size.

    According to the researchers, sitting in the back during the ride produced significantly better results. Riding in a seat close to the front wasnt quite as effective, especially when attempting to dislodge large stones.

    Following the initial pilot study, co-author Dr. David Wartinger from the Department of Osteopathic Surgical Specialties teamed up with Michigan State University professor Mark Mitchell to conduct expanded research. They reported a nearly 70 percent passage rate at the back of the roller coaster.

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