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Kidney Stones / Bladder Stones – Doctor and Condition

A kidney stone / bladder stone is a small hard mass in the kidney that forms from crystal deposits of phosphates and urates. A kidney stone is also called renal calculus.

Common Symptoms and Related Terminology:

Description of the Problem:

Kidney stones, or bladder stones, can occur at any age, however they are more common among people aged 40 and older. Kidney stones are more common in the summer months and in hotter climates. Dehydration contributes to the formation of kidney stones. Some kidney / bladder stones are hereditary while others are linked to parathyroid disease. Almost all kidney stones hurt like crazy. The pain of a kidney stone classically presents with waves of pain in the low back, on the left or right side, and radiates to the front lower quadrant on the same side. Red or dark colored urine may accompany the stone, as may nausea and vomiting. Kidney stone pain typically makes the patient wiggle around or roll up in a ball on the floor, as they try to find a comfortable position. After diagnosis of a kidney stone, the doctor may ask you to strain your urine to “catch” the stone. Having the kidney / bladder stone analyzed is a good idea to determine the composition of the stone. Bladder stones often present with blood in the urine and the sensation of blocked urine flow.

Kidney Stones Differential Diagnosis (What else could it be?):

Kidney Stones Evaluation:

The doctor will perform a history and physical exam for kidney stones / bladder stones. Blood and urine tests may be performed. An x-ray may be taken of the kidneys, ureters and bladder (KUB) to determine the size and location of the stone. Ultrasound is sometimes used to see if the kidney stone is blocking the ureter or kidney. If the kidney / bladder stone is small or hard to see on KUB, the doctor may order a CT scan. The doctor will follow up with further x-rays if the stone does not pass in a timely fashion or continues to cause pain.

Kidney Stone Treatment:

Kidney stone treatment will depend on the size and location of the urinary stone. Pain killers may be used to lessen the pain. Drinking large amounts of water may help you pass the kidney stone. Medical expulsive therapy may be used to help the ureteral stone to pass. Surgery is sometimes necessary. Under anesthesia, kidney stones can be retrieved using small scopes and small retrieval baskets, or they can be broken up using laser energy. Sometimes the stones can be broken up using small sound waves with machines called Extracorporeal Shock-Wave Lithotriptors. This is called ESWL for short.

Kidney Stone Summary:

Kidney stones can be extremely painful if they are blocking the passage of urine in the kidneys or bladder. The diagnosis is made with history, urine tests, physical exam, and imaging. Treatment is based on urinary stone position and size, as well as how ill the patient appears. Kidney / bladder stones can often be removed easily.

Other Possible Related Terms / Things to Search: