Treatment for Kidney Stones in Lubbock, TX

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are rocks that form in the urinary tract that are made up of minerals and salts. They form when high levels of certain minerals connect together. Typically the minerals and salts come together at times of relative dehydration. Stones often start very small but can grow to be very large.

These stones may stay inside the kidney, where they will not cause any further harm, but some stones may take up the entire kidney. The real problem begins when these kidney stones enter the ureter and block urine from traveling to the bladder before they are excreted. This blockage caused by the kidney stone becomes very painful and can require surgery if they do not pass on their own.

If you’re seeking treatment for kidney stones in the Lubbock, TX area, contact Covenant Urology Group today to schedule an appointment. Give our office a call at (806) 725-8787 to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified urologists.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

The most common symptom of a kidney stone is pain. Pain can occur in the back, side, lower abdomen or testicle in a male. The pain often starts suddenly and then may come and go in waves.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Persistent need to urinate
  • Cloudy or discolored urine, usually pink, red or brown in color
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Sudden need to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Fever or chills, typically occurs when there is an infection present
  • Pain radiating from the lower abdomen and groin or in the back below the ribs
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful urination

Causes of Kidney Stones

The most common cause of kidney stone formation is constant low urine volume. Lower urine volume is a direct result of dehydration. Dehydration may be due to persistent hard exercise – working in a hot place such as a kitchen or construction site, or not drinking enough water. The normal amount of water intake during the day is 8 to 10 cups.

Dietary factors may also play a role in kidney stone formation. Too much salt in the diet may increase risk for kidney stone formation. Foods that are rich in oxalate such as peanut butter, spinach, chocolate, strawberries and rhubarb may also increase the chance of kidney stone formation. A diet high in protein is also a risk factor. Although most kidney stones are made up of calcium, calcium intake in the diet is typically not a risk factor. Calcium stones are a result of the body’s inability to process calcium from the bones, gut and kidneys.

Other causes of kidney stone formation include:

  • Bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerated colitis
  • Obesity
  • Medical conditions such as hyper parathyroid and renal tubular acidosis
  • Medications such as calcium and vitamin C supplements
  • Family history of kidney stones
  • Personal history of kidney stones

Types of Kidney Stones

Not all kidney stones are the same. The exact type of kidney stone will determine the course of action used to treat the patient’s kidney stones. These types of kidney stones include:

  • Calcium stones (most common)
  • Uric acid stones
  • Struvite stones
  • Cystine stones

Treatment for Kidney Stones

The method of treatment will depend on the size, type and location of kidney stone, but many are treated in similar ways.

Most often, kidney stones will come to pass. You can assist this process by drinking lots of water and taking over-the-counter pain medicine to help manage the pain. It can take about four to six weeks for a kidney stone to pass. This may seem like a long amount of time, but it is safe to continue trying to pass a kidney stone on your own so long as the pain is manageable and there are no present signs of an infection. If you suspect that there may be an infection spreading within your kidney or ureter, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Some medications have been shown to help increase the body’s ability to pass kidney stones. Such medications work by relaxing the ureter, which provides the kidney stone with ample room to make its way to the bladder, where it will finally exit the body through urination. Prescription strength painkillers may also be necessary depending on each individual case.

Treatments also depend on how a person is handling a kidney stone. Sometimes medical expulsive therapy is prescribed. This includes pain medication, tamsulosin, anti nausea medicine and hydration. If the pain becomes too great, or if the ureter becomes completely blocked and begins to affect kidney function, surgery may be necessary. Modern technology allows for surgery to be minimally invasive with a short recovery time. The most common types of surgery for the removal of kidney stones include:

  • Ureteroscopy (URS)
  • Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL)
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

Schedule Your Kidney Stone Consultation with Covenant Urology Group

If you are struggling with pain or an infection caused by kidney stones, please schedule an appointment with your urologist at Covenant Urology Group to discuss your treatment options. Contact our office today at (806) 725-8787.