Kidney Stones

Kidney stones (ureteral lithiasis) are deposits that form inside your kidneys. The intense pain is caused by the stone moving through the urinary tract. When the stone moves, the ureter goes into spasm around the stone. The stone is usually passed in the urine.

CAUSES

  • A disorder that makes certain neck glands produce too much parathyroid hormone (primary hyperparathyroidism).

  • A buildup of uric acid crystals.

  • Narrowing (stricture) of the ureter.

  • A kidney obstruction present at birth (congenital obstruction).

  • Previous surgery on the kidney or ureters.

  • Numerous kidney infections.

SYMPTOMS

  • Feeling sick to your stomach (nauseous).

  • Throwing up (vomiting).

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).

  • Pain that usually spreads (radiates) to the groin.

  • Frequency or urgency of urination.

DIAGNOSIS

  • Taking a history and physical exam.

  • Blood or urine tests.

  • Computerized X-ray scan (CT scan).

  • Occasionally, an examination of the inside of the urinary bladder (cystoscopy) is performed.

TREATMENT

  • Observation.

  • Increasing your fluid intake.

  • Surgery may be needed if you have severe pain or persistent obstruction.

The size, location, and chemical composition are all important variables that will determine the proper choice of action for you. Talk to your caregiver to better understand your situation so that you will minimize the risk of injury to yourself and your kidney.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Drink enough water and fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Strain all urine through the provided strainer. Keep all particulate matter and stones for your caregiver to see. The stone causing the pain may be as small as a grain of salt. It is very important to use the strainer each and every time you pass your urine. The collection of your stone will allow your caregiver to analyze it and verify that a stone has actually passed.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Make a follow-up appointment with your caregiver as directed.

  • Get follow-up X-rays if required. The absence of pain does not always mean that the stone has passed. It may have only stopped moving. If the urine remains completely obstructed, it can cause loss of kidney function or even complete destruction of the kidney. It is your responsibility to make sure X-rays and follow-ups are completed. Ultrasounds of the kidney can show blockages and the status of the kidney. Ultrasounds are not associated with any radiation and can be performed easily in a matter of minutes.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Pain cannot be controlled with the prescribed medicine.

  • You have a fever.

  • The severity or intensity of pain increases over 18 hours and is not relieved by pain medicine.

  • You develop a new onset of abdominal pain.

  • You feel faint or pass out.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.