Kidney stones are a common urinary tract problem. Characterized by intense flank pain, these salt and mineral combos block ureters, cause infection and really make you sick. At Urology Specialists of Milford, Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg sees many Milford, MA, area patients suffering with renal calculi. He helps them, and he can help you, too.
How kidney stones form
These little rocks occupy the interior of the kidney or the ureter, the narrow-diameter tube between the kidney and bladder. Either situation is extremely uncomfortable with pain in the flank and/or groin. These calcium oxalate stones (the most frequent chemical composition) also cause:
- Pain on urination
- Bloody urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urinary urgency
If the stones are small enough, the person may pass them with sufficient water intake. Larger stones may lodge in the kidney or ureter, causing the characteristically excruciating pain.
The National Kidney Foundation says that half a million Americans struggle with kidney stones each year. Risk factors may include:
- Diets rich in calcium and oxalates (found in nuts, chocolate, pickles and high fructose corn syrup)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Crohn's Disease
- A first degree relative (parent, sibling) with a history of kidney stones
Treating kidney stones
When you visit Urology Specialists of Milford, your urologist will review your symptoms, ask for a urine sample (including a 24-hour urine), order blood work and X-rays, a CT scan or a specialized Intravenous Pyelogram with contrast. With the information garnered, he can set you on a path to wellness with dietary changes, weight management, pain relief and stone removal.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or lithotripsy, is a common and highly effective treatment. While under sedation, the patient receives sound waves that break up the stone into tiny pieces that easily pass through the urethra.
Another treatment is ureteroscopy. Dr. Steinberg uses a thin, lighted scope inserted through the ureter. It has a tiny metal snare that grabs and extracts the stone. Sometimes, a temporary stent keeps the ureter open for a period of time post-operatively.
Preventing kidney stones
Prevention truly is the best medicine. To stop kidney stone formation, stay well-hydrated, lose weight, be physically active and limit salt, calcium- and oxalate-rich foods and animal protein. Ask Dr. Steinberg for recommendations pertinent to your particular type of kidney stones.
Find out more
Optimize your urinary health by seeing Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg of Urology Specialists of Milford at the first sign of a kidney stone. This urologist offers a full range of genito-urinary services. Call us at (508) 473-6333.