Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract, resulting in more than one million ER visits annually.
Kidney stones are pebble-like masses of salts and minerals that form inside your kidneys. Sizes range from a grain of sand to a pea or pearl. Small stones may pass through your urinary tract with little or no pain, yet larger ones can cause severe pain and/or bleeding, as well as block urine flow. Stones of this size require medical attention.
Kidney stones form when your urine becomes concentrated with crystal-forming substances, such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid. While anyone can get kidney stones, factors that increase risk are:
The most common symptom of kidney stones is pain in your side and back. It often starts suddenly, with the pain’s intensity changing as the stone moves through your urinary tract. Some patients compare the intense pain of a kidney stone to childbirth or getting stabbed.
Other symptoms may include:
Small stones typically pass within a few days to a few weeks, and may simply require pain medication and a lot of water. However, larger stones may require further treatment to prevent permanent damage.
Whatever your condition, your Summa Health urologist will work with you and your primary care physician to ensure the most comprehensive treatment plan. Preventive treatment will be developed to reduce your risk of reoccurring kidney stones, especially if you’re at high risk of developing them again.