Your kidneys filter out chemicals, wastes, and fluids that your body does not need. Some of these chemicals do not dissolve well and form crystals in the urine. Small crystals pass from the kidneys to the bladder. However, sometimes the crystals are larger, and cannot pass easily through the urinary tract. A clump of crystals of un-dissolved material in the urinary system is a stone. There are many substances that can make up a stone. A stone blocking the urinary system can be painful and dangerous.
There are multiple causes for the formation of renal stones such as inadequate daily water consumption, elevated levels of calcium, oxalate, or uric acid in the urine, high or low dietary consumption of certain foods and/or minerals, and urinary tract infection. A strong family history of kidney stones is common. An analysis of the stone composition as well as blood and urine analysis are important in determining the cause of stone formation. Our physicians feel it’s important not to just surgically treat a patient’s kidney stone(s) but also to do the necessary analysis to prevent further stone formation.
While some kidney stones may not produce symptoms (known as “silent” stones), people who have kidney stones often report the sudden onset of excruciating, cramping pain in their low back and/or side, groin, or abdomen. Typically, if you change body position, you will still have the pain. The pain typically waxes and wanes in severity, characteristic of colicky pain (the pain is sometimes referred to as renal colic). It may be so severe that it is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Kidney stones also characteristically cause blood in the urine. If infection is present in the urinary tract along with the stones, there may be fever and chills.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should call our office as soon as possible so we can diagnose and treat your condition.