The pain of kidney stones is extreme and sharp, usually out of proportion with the problems the stones create, though they may cause infections or other complications if they get stuck in your urinary tract. The doctors of St. George Urology in St. George, Utah frequently choose laser treatment to break up kidney stones for easy, pain-free passage. Call the office or book an appointment online today.
Minerals in your urine can crystallize if sufficient quantities accumulate in the kidneys. Forming sharp-edged lumps, these stones may sit in your kidney, causing few issues. Occasionally, however, a stone enters the ureter, a small tube between kidneys and bladder through which urine passes. The stone can cause sharp pain that’s typically rated with the worst pain most people experience.
As well as this extreme pain, kidney stones may cause other symptoms, such as:
In most cases, calcium is the culprit in a form called calcium oxalate. Certain fruits and vegetables contain oxalate, and it’s also manufactured in the liver. Uric acid is another cause for kidney stone crystals, particularly if you have gout or low levels of water in your body, such as from fluid loss or not drinking enough liquid.
Struvite stones form in reaction to infection, such as those of the urinary tract. Certain hereditary conditions may form cystine stones due to high levels of amino acids excreted by the kidneys.
Risk factors for kidney stones include diets high in protein, sodium, and sugar, chronic dehydration, and high body mass index. Gastric bypass surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, or chronic diarrhea may also create conditions that create increased risk of forming kidney stones.
Treatment for kidney stones often depends on the size of the stones and severity of the symptoms. Most small stones won’t need surgical attention. Drinking lots of water helps to flush your urinary tract and, ideally, the kidney stones causing issues.
More severe stones may still be passed normally through your urinary system, but more aggressive pain management may be necessary as you wait. Once a stone fails to progress or other complications appear, surgical treatment becomes necessary.
There are a number of procedures available to treat kidney stones. The urologists at St. George Urology favor the use of lasers to break up kidney stones into smaller pieces that can more easily pass through your system.