What are kidney stones?
When your urine becomes concentrated, minerals can stick together and crystallize. These crystals form small, hardened deposits known as kidney stones.
Often, kidney stones don't cause any health problems. But sometimes they can irritate sensitive tissue or trigger infection. Some kidney stones also get bigger. Large kidney stones are more likely to cause painful symptoms.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
When they're inside your kidneys, these stones typically cause no symptoms. But once they move and pass through your urinary tract, they can be extremely painful.
Symptoms of kidney stones can include:
- Severe back or side pain
- Pain in the abdomen or groin
- Pain when urinating
- Discolored urine
- Blood in urine
- Cloudy, foul-smelling urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fever or chills
Pain caused by kidney stones may come in waves. At times, your pain may be intense. But your pain might also disappear for a while. The severity of your pain may depend on where the stones are located. Symptoms can also vary based on the size of the stones.
How are kidney stones treated?
If you have groin or back pain, the first step is to determine what's causing your symptoms. At Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina, your provider offers an in-depth evaluation. They get to the root of your symptoms.
Not all kidney stones need special care. If your stones are small, your provider might suggest taking pain medication and drinking extra fluids. These remedies help manage your symptoms while your body gets rid of the stones.
But if your kidney stones are large, you may need specialized care. Surgery can help get rid of large, painful kidney stones. Your provider might also use a scope to remove your kidney stones. Some procedures even use sound waves to break large stones into small pieces. These smaller stones can then pass through your body more quickly.
What can I do to prevent kidney stones?
Kidney stones may be linked to lifestyle factors. Dehydration and poor diet can increase your risk of kidney stones. To prevent kidney stones, your provider may suggest that you:
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid or limit oxalate-rich foods (including nuts, tea, and chocolate)
- Eat a low-salt diet
- Avoid or limit animal protein
- Choose calcium-rich foods
Some medications can also adjust the minerals and salts in your body. These drugs help prevent stones in people who are prone to them. Your provider can offer more information about these preventive treatments.
If you suffer from kidney stones, let the experts at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina help. Call the office today or schedule an appointment online.