Favorite Kidney Stone Blogs
CareBlog is the blog of the Urology Care Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting urologic research and providing urologic health information to the public. The blog features information on kidney stones, as well as information on general urologic health .
Want to hear about kidney stones from people whove gone through the experience? Let this website, which was founded by Mike M. Nguyen, MD, MPH, an associate professor of urology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, be your guide. You can read through essential information from experts, as well as patient accounts and contributor articles that answer questions you may be wondering about, such as: Do vegetarians get kidney stones? and Does drinking a lot of water help a stone pass faster?
With additional reporting by Lauren Bedosky.
Things To Make Kidney Stones Feel Better
Kidney stones are an accumulation of chemicals or minerals that form in the kidney or ureter.
This article provides more information on the time it takes to pass a kidney stone, ways to speed up.
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Stones that have nearly passed into the bladder may be associated with an intense urge to urinate.
After an initial period of severe pain, you may feel better for a few hours before developing another attack.
Q. What causes kidney stones?
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on kidney stones. Thats not true. If you eat or drink calcium-rich foods and foods with oxalate at the same time, it helps your body better handle.
A kidney stone is a solid mass made up of tiny crystals. Your health care provider may ask you to take self-care steps to treat kidney stones or.
2 Mm Stone In Ureter Doctors at NYU Langone perform hundreds of safe and effective kidney stone. have stones lodged in the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to. Yilmaz E, Batislam E, Basar MM, Tuglu D, Ferhat M, Basar H. The comparison and efficacy of 3 different alpha1-adrenergic blockers for distal ureteral stones. J Urol. 2005
About 1 out of every 11 people in the United States will get a kidney stone.
What are kidney stones? Kidney.
Can Kidney Stone Symptoms Come And Go
The length of time a stone can hang around is the primary reason that a person may feel like kidney stone symptoms come and go.
Once you start feeling the pain of a kidney stone, it can take anywhere between one to four weeks for the stone to actually pass. In the meantime, the pain can seem sporadic. Here’s why:
“During a bout of kidney stones, the initial pain is typically caused by the stone making its way through your very narrow ureter tube. There can also be pain if the stone lodges itself there and blocks urine flow out of the kidney, which results in pressure buildup and painful swelling,” explains Dr. Kannady.
As your body tries to move the kidney stone through your ureter, some of your pain may also be from the waves of contractions used to force the kidney stone out. The pain may also move as the kidney stone moves along your urinary tract.
“Once the stone makes it to your bladder, the pain might subside to some degree and you may notice urinary symptoms in its place. The final push from your bladder to outside of your body can reignite sharp feelings of pain, as the stone is now passing through another narrow tube called your urethra,” says Dr. Kannady.
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Kidney Stone Causes And Risk Factors
Both men and women can get kidney stones, but menâs chances of getting them are about double that of womenâs.
Itâs often hard to figure out what caused a kidney stone. But they happen when your urine has high levels of certain minerals. These include:
- Uric acid
If you donât have enough urine in your body to water down the high concentration of minerals, stones can form. Think about stirring up your favorite drink from a powder mix. If you donât add enough liquid — say, water or juice — the powder will clump up and turn into hard, dry chunks.
Things that can raise your risk for kidney stones include:
- What you eat
- Some medications like triamterene , a diuretic that treats high blood pressure; antiseizure drugs; ; corticosteroids; and protease inhibitors like indinavir sulfate for HIV.
How To Pass Kidney Stones
If you get a kidney stone, youll want to try to encourage your body to pass it naturally. Some people experience a lot of discomfort, while others feel nothing. Its better to be prepared for some discomfort, as most people do feel pain while passing kidney stones. If you experience a lot of pain, but still have relatively small stones, your doctor may be able to prescribe something to help. Regardless, there are a few things you can do to help encourage natural passage through your urethra.
The most important thing when passing, and preventing, kidney stones is to stay hydrated. When you stay hydrated, you discourage mineral build-up and help keep your urethra clear and free of infection. If you absolutely hate the thought of drinking plain water, try adding some lemon, lime, or other citrus fruits. Citrus has been shown to help break up kidney stones and make passing easier.1
Eat Diuretic Foods
Increasing the number diuretic foods that you eat will keep your body hydrated through food. Consider adding asparagus, beets, celery, cucumbers, watermelon and other diuretic foods to your regular diet.
Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is primarily composed of acetic acid, which helps to actively dissolve kidney stones.3 Try adding it to your water, creating dressings, or mixing it into recipes for the best results.;
Mix Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
When to See a Doctor
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy
Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy
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Take Steps To Bypass Kidney Stones
Even though kidney stones can be common and recur once youve had them, there are simple ways to help prevent them. Here are some strategies that can help:
1.;;Drink enough water. A 2015 meta-analysis from the National Kidney Foundation found that people who produced 2 to 2.5 liters of urine daily were 50% less likely to develop kidney stones than those who produced less. It takes about 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily to produce that amount.
2.;;Skip high-oxalate foods. Such foods, which include spinach, beets, and almonds, obviously raise oxalate levels in the body. However, moderate amounts of low-oxalate foods, such as chocolate and berries, are okay.
3.;;Enjoy some lemons. Citrate, a salt in citric acid, binds to calcium and helps block stone formation. “Studies have shown that drinking ½ cup of lemon juice concentrate diluted in water each day, or the juice of two lemons, can increase urine citrate and likely reduce kidney stone risk,” says Dr. Eisner.
4.;;Watch the sodium. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. Federal guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams . If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily sodium to 1,500 mg.
Let Kidney Stones Pass
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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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.
Treatment And Medication Options For Kidney Stones
You may not always need treatment for a kidney stone. A small stone can pass through the urinary tract without intervention. But larger stones can block the ureter and cause pain and other symptoms.
Kidney stone pain can be severe at first and may require carefully administered narcotics for relief, says;Ralph V.;Clayman, MD, a professor in the department of urology at the University of California in Irvine. Subsequent pain can often be managed using;nonsteroidal;anti-inflammatory medication, he says.
Drinking a lot of water can help to pass the stone. In addition, doctors may prescribe;tamsulosin, which is a medication that relaxes the muscles of the ureter, helping the stone pass, says Dr. Lesser.
If a stone is too big to pass or a patient has an intolerable amount of pain, doctors may intervene with procedures that either break up or remove the stones, says Lesser.
These procedures include:
Kidney stones call for conventional medical care, so dont try to treat kidney stones with alternative therapies.
Antibiotics continue to be the number one go-to treatment for urinary tract infections.
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Calcium Oxalate And Calcium Phosphate Stones
Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones, and can be either calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. As mentioned, good hydration is important to prevent calcium stones. It may be surprising, but results of a randomized clinical trial show that people with calcium kidney stones should not cut back on dietary calcium. In fact, they should consume the recommended daily allowance of calcium . Why? Calcium binds to oxalate in the intestine and prevents its absorption through the gut, so there is less in the urine to form stones. Ideally, calcium should come from food. Talk with your doctor before taking calcium supplements, and increasing fluid intake might be beneficial depending on how much calcium you take.
Foods high in oxalates can increase the amount of oxalate in the urine. Consume these in moderation.
Calcium phosphate stones are less common than calcium oxalate stones. Causes include hyperparathyroidism , renal tubular acidosis , and urinary tract infections. It is important to understand if one of these conditions is behind the formation of calcium phosphate stones.
Good hydration can help prevent recurrence of calcium stones. In addition, thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide can help the kidney absorb more calcium, leaving less of it in the urine where it can form stones. Potassium citrate is another medication that can bind to calcium and help keep calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate in the urine from forming into stones.
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.
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 .
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Are Home Remedies Effective For Kidney Stones
For some people who have had many kidney stones, home care may be appropriate. When passing a kidney stone, drinking lots of fluid is important. In fact, this is the most important home care measure. Medications may help control the pain . However, if it is the first time one has had symptoms suggestive of a kidney stone, it is important to see a doctor right away.
Treating And Preventing Kidney Stones
Most kidney stones are small enough to be passed in your pee, and it may be possible to treat the symptoms at home with medication.
Larger stones may need to be broken up or removed with surgery.
It’s estimated up to half of all people who have had kidney stones will experience them again within the following 5 years.
To avoid getting kidney stones, make sure you drink plenty of water every day;so you do not become dehydrated.
It’s very important to keep your urine pale in colour to prevent waste products forming into kidney stones.
The kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that are roughly 10cm in length.
They’re located towards the back of the abdomen on either side of the spine.
The kidneys remove waste products from the blood. The clean blood is then transferred back into the body and the waste products are passed out of the body when you pee.
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How Kidney Stones Are Diagnosed
There are several tools doctors can use to diagnose kidney stones, according to the NIDDK. After talking to you about your symptoms and doing a physical exam, your doctor may order these tests as well:
Urinalysis: This is a test of your pee that can show whether your urine contains high levels of minerals that form kidney stones. A urinalysis can also tell whether your pee has blood, bacteria, or white blood cells in it .
Blood tests: Your doctor may want to take a sample of your blood to test for high levels of certain minerals that can lead to kidney stones.
Abdominal X-Ray: This is a picture of your abdominal area that can potentially show the location of kidney stones in your urinary tract. One major caveat, though: Not all kidney stones can be seen on X-ray.
Computed Tomography Scan: CT scans use a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create images of your urinary tract. In some cases you might be given an injection of contrast medium, a dye or other substance that makes certain things inside your body easier to see during imaging tests.
What Are The Treatments For Kidney Stones
The treatment for a kidney stone depends on the size of the stone, what it is made of, whether it is causing pain and whether it is blocking your urinary tract. To answer these questions and to figure out the right treatment for you, your doctor might ask you to have a urine test, blood test, x-ray and/or CT scan. A CT scan sometimes uses contrast dye. If you have ever had a problem with contrast dye, be sure to tell your doctor about it before you have your CT scan.
If your test results show that your kidney stone is small, your doctor may tell you to take pain medicine and drink plenty of fluids to help push the stone through your urinary tract. If your kidney stone is large, or if it is blocking your urinary tract, additional treatment may be necessary.
One treatment option is shock wave lithotripsy. This treatment uses shock waves to break up the kidney stones into small pieces. After the treatment, the small pieces of the kidney stone will pass through your urinary tract and out of your body with your urine. This treatment usually takes 45 minutes to one hour and may be done under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep and unable to feel pain.
In rare cases, a surgery called percutaneous nephrolithotomy is needed to remove a kidney stone. During the surgery, a tube will be inserted directly into your kidney to remove the stone. You will need to be in the hospital for two to three days to have and recover from this treatment.
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Benefits Of Exercising If You Are Dealing With Kidney Stones
Low fluid intake and lack of physical exercise are the two major factors that contribute to the development of kidney stones. Kidney stones are very often linked to obesity, heart, and blood pressure-related issues. Regular exercise helps keep the cholesterol levels and body weight in check, thereby reducing the worsening of kidney stones.
Exercising regularly monitors the levels of salts, calcium, and minerals in the body. Exercise helps in flushing excess oxalates, salts, and minerals out of the body. This prevents them from crystallizing to form kidney stones. Therefore, exercising prevents the enlargement of the existing stones and also prevents new stones from forming.
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Moreover, if you exercise regularly, it diverts the excess calcium present in the body towards the bones. This ensures that the calcium does not combine with oxalates to form calcium oxalate stones. Therefore, staying active and practicing mild exercises can go a long way in preventing the condition of your kidney stones from worsening.
The only thing you need to remember is to stay hydrated at all times. Exercise causes sweating and lack of hydration can further trigger the symptoms of kidney stones. So, increase your fluid intake and drink 12-14 glasses of water each day.
Also, while exercising, remember not to indulge in high-intensity exercises. Strenuous physical exercises can worsen the pain and discomfort of kidney stones.