Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form inside your kidneys. The stones are made of mineral and acid salts. Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.

Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage. Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances, surgery may be needed. We recommend preventive treatment to reduce your risk of recurrent kidney stones.

Kidney Stones Screening

A patient with pain consistent with a kidney stone, or any of the other symptoms listed above will be imaged to determine if a kidney stone is present, where it is located, and how large it is. Several different diagnostic imaging techniques are available to accomplish these goals:

  • X-ray imaging is able to see calcium that is in the majority of stones.
  • Ultrasound is an easy to use and relatively inexpensive technology that can detect the swelling of the kidney caused when a stone obstructs flow of urine.
  • A CT scan without contrast is the gold-standard (best) diagnostic test for detecting kidney stones.

In addition to imaging, your doctor may order several other tests to check your kidney function and determine the cause of your stone. These include:

  • Blood tests can suggest if you have an infection due to your stone, check how well your kidneys are clearing waste from your body, and if you have high levels of salts that could cause stones (like calcium)
  • Urine tests (urinalysis) can reveal the presence of proteins, red blood cells or bacteria as either a consequence of a stone or a cause of your pain.
  • You may be asked to urinate through a mesh screen device in order to catch your stone when it is passed so that your doctor can evaluate the stone at a later time.

If you feel that you may have kidney stones – or at risk of a recurring stones – contact our office today for a confidential consultation.

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