The kidney’s job is to filter the blood and remove the waste products that would otherwise be toxic to your body. When your kidney is healthy, the chemicals are dissolved in the urine and are expelled from the body with urination. Kidney stones occur when chemicals in the urine aren’t dissolved and instead form crystals. Over time, these crystals build up in the kidney and come together to form a stone. Once formed, a stone can block the flow of the urine through the urinary tract resulting in severe pain, often of sudden onset. Even small stones can cause pain, but over time they can grow large and can damage the function of the kidney.
Kidney stones are very common – one out of every ten people will develop a kidney stone. They are often times genetic and are influenced by the outside temperature, realistic humidity, fluid status, and dietary choice.
- Lithotripsy – the method of crushing the kidney stone while it is still in the body. Laser Lithotripsy is a non-invasive procedure that uses shock waves to hit and crumble the kidney stone.
- Diet and Lifestyle changes – there are several changes to help prevent the occurrence of kidney stones, including increasing your fluid intake, reducing your protein and sodium intake, eating calcium-rich foods, watching your oxalate intake, avoiding high-dose Vitamin C supplements, and increasing your intake of stone inhibitors and Vitamin B supplements.
- Stents– soft plastic tubes that serve to bypass the obstructing stone and restores the flow of urine from the kidney down to the bladder.
- Ureteroscopy– a small camera is inserted into the tube that drains the kidney and the stone can be broken into small pieces by a laser and removed with a small basket
Resources from Urology Care Foundation
Check out and download some of these free resources on kidney stones:
- The Kidney Stones Patient Guide
- Kidney Stones – What You Should Know
- Kidney Stones – Preventing Stones Fact Sheet
- Kidney Stones – Treating Stones Fact Sheet
Patient resources are made possible through the generous support of Cook Medical.