Approximately 10% of Americans have a kidney stone at some point during their lives. While many people pass tiny kidney stones without knowing it, you might also experience excruciating pain. The team of physicians at Houston Kidney Specialists Center diagnoses and treats kidney stones at their four locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas. Call the practice or schedule a consultation online today if you think you have kidney stones.
Your kidneys filter waste products out of your blood and send them out of your body in urine. Sometimes, the substances your kidneys remove from your blood, such as calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine, crystalize into hard deposits, known as kidney stones.
Kidney stones are known to cause excruciating pain in your abdomen, lower back, and groin. You might also experience intense burning pain when you urinate. Other kidney stone symptoms include:
Kidney stone symptoms typically come and go in waves as your body tries to pass the stone out of your body. It's also possible to have a "silent" kidney stone that doesn't cause symptoms.
Many factors contribute to kidney stone development. For example, low urine volume can cause the chemicals to crystalize in your kidneys. Dehydration is the most common cause of low urine volume.
Your diet can also influence your risk of kidney stones. A high salt diet interferes with calcium absorption, leading to a buildup of calcium in your kidney. Eating too much protein can also increase your risk of kidney stones by elevated acid levels in your body and urine.
Other risk factors for kidney stones include obesity, weight loss surgery, and too much or not enough physical activity. A family history of kidney stones also increases your chances of getting them.
In most cases, your doctor diagnoses kidney stones when you develop symptoms like pain or bloody urine. They use blood tests, ultrasounds, and CT scans to diagnose kidney stones or other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
Treatment for kidney stones depends on the severity of your symptoms and your stone's size and location. For example, if you have a small kidney stone that doesn't cause symptoms, your doctor might recommend monitoring your condition and waiting for the stone to pass on its own.
However, if you have severe pain or other symptoms, your doctor might recommend medication, shockwave lithotripsy, or surgery. Medication can dilate your ureters, making it easier for the stone to pass out of your body.
Shockwave lithotripsy uses shock waves to break a large kidney stone into smaller pieces that are easier to pass. The team only recommends surgery when your stone is too big to move on its own, and other treatments aren't effective.
Call Houston Kidney Specialists Center or schedule an appointment online today if you're concerned about kidney stones.