One in 10 people will develop a kidney stone at some point in life. Kidney stones are hard deposits consisting of salt and other minerals that build up in your kidneys. They range in size, shape, and makeup, but as they move through your urinary tract, they’re almost always painful.
Anyone can get a kidney stone, but some people seem to get them more than others. You could be prone to kidney stones based on your family history, your diet, or being overweight. Not drinking enough water or eating a diet high in protein and salt may make kidney stones more likely.
If you have pain in your abdomen, lower back, or groin, or if you notice changes in your urine, you might have a kidney stone. You can come to our office to see Eric Seaman, MD for expert diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones, and start feeling better fast.
Treating kidney stones
There are a few different treatment options for kidney stones, and the right one for you depends on the size and location of your stone(s). Each option is focused on reducing pain and helping the stone exit your body through urination.
If you experience intense pain that’s accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or fever, seek immediate medical care. Difficulty urinating or blood in your urine are also signs that your kidney stones need medical intervention.
How we treat small kidney stones
Small kidney stones are painful, but they often pass without the need to undergo a medical procedure. If Dr. Seaman identifies small stones, he may recommend the following conservative treatments:
- Drinking up to 3 quarts of water per day
- Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Taking prescription medication to relax your ureter muscles
Drinking water makes you urinate more frequently, which can help you pass small kidney stones, while over-the-counter pain relievers taken as directed manage pain. In some cases, Dr. Seaman prescribes alpha-blocker medication to relax muscles in the ureters, the tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder, which helps the stone pass more quickly.
What we do for large kidney stones
Sometimes, larger kidney stones can’t pass on their own. When a stone doesn’t pass with conservative treatment or it causes bleeding, Dr. Seaman may recommend extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) or surgery.
ESWL is a noninvasive kidney stone treatment that uses high-intensity energy to shatter the larger stones inside your body. It breaks the stones up into pieces that are small enough to pass painlessly through your ureter over the following days. It’s one of the most popular treatment options for larger kidney stones because it’s safe and effective.
Kidney stone treatment with ESWL takes as little as an hour under light anesthesia. There’s minimal downtime following the procedure, because the shock waves target kidney stones without damaging organs or surrounding tissues.
In severe cases, surgery could be your only option. Dr. Seaman may use a ureteroscope to remove stones through your ureter or perform percutaneous nephrolithotomy to remove stones through a small incision in your back.
When you’re suffering from kidney stone pain, turn to Dr. Seaman. He offers the best treatment options for stones of all sizes. Call our office in Millburn, New Jersey, or book an appointment online to learn more.