Kidney stones form when the minerals and salts present in urine bond together. These stone-like formations often cause pain and discomfort in the abdomen, back, groin, and side areas. Small kidney stones can sometimes pass through the urinary tract and out of the body on their own. Medical intervention is usually necessary to eliminate larger kidney stones. The experienced nephrologists at Kidney Consultants of El Paso, TX, diagnose and treat kidney stones.
Risk Factors and Causes
Several factors can increase the likelihood of kidney stones forming. One possible cause is dehydration. The lack of fluids from being dehydrated makes it more likely that the salts and minerals in the urine will stick together. Diets that are high in protein, salt, or oxalates (e.g., nuts and chocolate) can increase your risk for kidney stones, as well. An excess of vitamin D in the diet can also lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Certain medical conditions increase an individual’s risk for developing kidney stones. Gastric conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Crohn’s disease, increase the risk for kidney stones. Metabolic diseases, such as gout or hyperparathyroidism, also increase the risk. Other causes and risk factors include obesity and having a family history of kidney stones.
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can result in various symptoms, although some individuals might not experience any symptoms at all. Small kidney stones do not always cause pain or discomfort, but larger ones often do since they block the flow of urine. Some common symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Need to urinate frequently
- Pain in the abdomen, side, back, or groin
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine
- Foul-smelling urine
Treatments for Kidney Stones
There are several ways to treat kidney stones. Treatment might vary from one individual to the next depending on the size of the kidney stones, as well as other factors. One way of treating kidney stones is with medications to relieve pain and discomfort, reduce inflammation, and improve urine flow. Another way of treating kidney stones is through various medical procedures, including extracorporeal shock wave therapy, ureteroscopy, or laser lithotripsy.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy targets kidney stones and breaks them up using shock waves. The kidney stones are broken into smaller pieces that can pass through the urinary tract and out of the body on their own. Ureteroscopy uses a small scope inserted into the urethra to retrieve and remove kidney stones. Laser lithotripsy utilizes the heat from a laser to break up kidney stones so they can be more easily removed or leaves them small enough to readily pass through the urinary tract.
See a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms associated with kidney stones, such as severe pain in the abdomen or groin. Many treatment options are available that can provide relief from the discomfort, as well as eliminate kidney stones. To schedule an appointment, call Kidney Consultants of El Paso, TX, at (915) 544-7767.