Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Kidney Stones


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Urologist Dr. Koushik Shaw of the Austin Urology Institute gives a detailed overview of kidney stones development and treatment. You'll learn the following:
• What causes kidney stones?
• How are kidney stones treated?
• How can I prevent kidney stones?
• What happens after the kidney stone is out?

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Kidney Stones

  1. 1. Kidney Stones Kidney stones are very common in both men and women, especially during the hot summer months when we need to stay well hydrated. Although they may appear small and innocent at times, they can cause major pain and complications if not managed appropriately. At Austin Urology Institute, we pride ourselves on an aggressive kidney stone prevention program. When surgery is needed, we provide the latest in non-invasive, as well as minimally invasive outpatient surgery when required.
  2. 2. What are kidney stones? • A kidney stone is a calcification that can form in the kidney when a person becomes dehydrated, and the urine becomes concentrated. • A ureteral stone is a kidney stone that has left the kidney and moved down into the ureter, or urine tube, on its way to the bladder. • Risk factors : low water intake, sodium and protein rich diets, increased caffeine intake, obesity, and a family history of stones.
  3. 3. How do I know if I have a kidney stone? Occasionally stones do not produce any symptoms. But while they may be "silent," they can be growing, and can even cause blockage or obstruction of urine. Common symptoms include: • Extreme back pain, that may radiate around to the lower abdomen or groin • Testicular pain in med • Blood in the urine • Urinary frequency • Nausea • If fever or chills accompany any of these symptoms, then there may be an infection. You should contact your doctor immediately.
  4. 4. Diagnosis of kidney stones • History and physical exam • Urine analysis done in-office • Imaging – if we suspect a kidney stone we will usually order an ultrasound or CT scan of the kidneys and abdomen • A stone will usually cause symptoms once it is out of the kidney and in the ureter (the tube that goes down to the bladder)
  5. 5. Treatment of kidney stones Treatment options depend on severity of pain, size of stone, and location of stone • Observation – For stones that are small and inside the kidney, no emergent treatment is needed • Medical – If you are in pain, and your stone is <6mm, you can choose to pass it on your own with the help of medications
  6. 6. Treatment of kidney stones cont’d • Surgical options – For kidney stones that are causing infection, blockage of urine, severe pain, and or large (>6mm) – Usually done as outpatient procedures (meaning you don’t have to stay in the hospital) – Done in the operating room, under general anesthesia
  7. 7. Surgical treatment Options • Ureteroscopy with laser stone fragmentation – The stone is located with a small camera that is inserted through the urethra and is advanced up to where the stone is – Stone is broken up with a small laser attached to the camera – Minimally invasive • ESWL (extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy) – Breaks up stone from the outside of the body with shockwaves that travel through a gel-like medium – Non-invasive *Depending on the size and density of the kidney stone, a temporary stent in the ureter may be placed during the procedure as well.
  8. 8. What happens after the stone is out? • If you pass the stone on your own, your pain and symptoms should resolve relatively quickly • After surgery, temporary symptoms include backache, urinary frequency, burning with urination, or blood in the urine • You may also notice small amounts of debris passing through or cloudy urine • We will send any stone fragments collected to a pathologist who will determine what type of stone it is – Most common type are calcium oxalate stones
  9. 9. Follow-up after kidney stones • If you have had more than one kidney stone, we recommend getting a special urine study done • A 24h urine study will show the composition of urine in relation to kidney stone formation • Your diet can be altered or improved based on these results • Rarely, patients will need to be on a medication
  10. 10. How do I prevent kidney stones? • Drink more water! – Atleast 6-8 glasses per day • Decrease caffeine intake • Add lemon juice to your water • Decrease oxalate-rich foods – Spinach, strawberries, nuts, tea, etc. • Decrease sodium, sugar, and red meat • Increase fiber intake • Not necessary to decrease dietary calcium