What are kidney stones?
Your urine is made up of minerals and salts, but if too many are present, they may stick together and crystallize. Kidney stones occur for various reasons but aren’t dangerous if they’re caught and treated early on.
Kidney stones start out small but left untreated, grow in size. Some remain in the kidneys, but most travel down the ureter and into the bladder. When this happens, you can pass a kidney stone by urinating.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Kidney stones typically don’t cause symptoms until they enter the ureter, a tube that connects your kidneys to your bladder. When this happens, common side effects include:
- Severe side or back pain
- Pain during urination
- Cloudy urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Chills and fever
The amount of pain you experience may fluctuate as well. As a stone grows, your symptoms get worse.
How are kidney stones diagnosed?
People with “silent” kidney stones, or stones that don’t cause symptoms, typically don’t realize anything is wrong. Oftentimes, this type of kidney stone shows up during routine X-rays.
The team at Skyline Urology offers diagnostic imaging services, including ultrasound and CT scans, for the quick and accurate identification of kidney stones.
If you experience blood in your urine, pain during urination, or sudden, excruciating pain, it’s important to seek professional medical help right away.
How are kidney stones treated?
The treatment for kidney stones depends on the size of the stone, as well as the symptoms you’re experiencing. At Skyline Urology, the team offers:
Ureteroscopy (URS) involves your Skyline Urology provider passing a small tool called a ureteroscope into your bladder and then into your kidney.
The ureteroscope features a small lens, allowing your provider to see your kidney stones. A small basket-like arm collects the stones and removes them.
Laser lithotripsy uses medical-grade lasers to break up kidney stones. During this procedure, your provider inserts a flexible laser fiber into your ureter, targeting and destroying the stones.
ESWL (extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy)
ESWL is the most prevalent and least invasive treatment for kidney stones in America. During ESWL, you lay down comfortably on an examination table as your provider centers a water cushion over your kidney stones that’s localized using fluoroscopy or ultrasound guidance.
Once in place, a series of 1000-3000 targeted shockwaves break down the stones, which are then processed and eliminated by your body.