Kidney stones cause excruciating pain and make urination difficult. Passing stones, and even managing the symptoms, isn’t always safe or possible to do on your own. At his practice in New Rochelle, New York, board-certified urologist Larry Roberts, MD, treats kidney stones with an equal focus on immediate relief and lasting prevention. To get treatment for kidney stones and guidance on avoiding them in the future, call or use the online booking tool today.
Kidney stones are pebble-like objects form when minerals, such as calcium, build up in the kidney. Some stones can be small enough to pass through your urinary tract unnoticed but others are large enough to block the flow of urine from your body and cause excruciating pain.
The primary reason kidney stones form is that there’s not enough water in your body. When you’re properly hydrated, your kidneys easily dilute minerals and other crystal-forming substances, which exit your body through your urine. However, when you’re dehydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated, allowing minerals to clump together.
Factors that lead to a low volume of urine and high volume of crystal-forming substances include:
Many people who have kidney stones don’t drink the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses a day. People who sweat excessively, including from exercise and living in hotter climates, may also find it difficult to replace the fluids their body loses.
You’re more likely to develop kidney stones if your diet is heavy in animal proteins, salt, and sugar. Stones can also form from high levels of dietary oxalate, an organic acid found in many foods, including various fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Oxalate binds to calcium. That means even a healthy diet can sometimes contribute to kidney stone formation.
Some diuretics increase the volume of calcium in your urine. Also, classes of antibiotics interfere with your body’s ability to metabolize oxalate, increasing the chances of stone formation.
Anyone can get kidney stones, but they’re most common among men ages 30-50 and are more likely to affect people who are overweight or obese. Kidney stones are also partly genetic, so you should be mindful of these risk factors if your parent or sibling has a history of kidney stones.
Small kidney stones are safe to pass on your own. If the pain is bearable and you’re still able to urinate, Dr. Roberts recommends drinking 2 to 3 quarts of water a day and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever until it passes. If you’d like, he can also prescribe a medication that relaxes the muscles in your ureters, which connects your bladder to your kidneys, to help the stone pass more easily.
You can usually judge whether you have a medium to large kidney stone from the severity of your symptoms. Schedule an appointment to see Dr. Roberts as soon as possible if you find it difficult or impossible to urinate, have debilitating pain, and are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
Dr. Roberts performs procedures to remove or destroy medium to large, including extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (EWSL), a noninvasive procedure that uses sound waves to turn stones into dust you can pass on your own. He also offers minimally invasive options for removing stones that are too large for EWSL.
In addition to treating kidney stones when they happen, Dr. Roberts provides preventive care. He advises you on lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of kidney stones, including staying hydrated and eating fewer oxalate-rich foods.
To get treatment for a kidney stone, call or use the online booking tool today.