Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that develop in the kidneys and can be very painful when they pass through the ureter and bladder. Over half a million people visit the ER each year with kidney stones, and 1 in 10 people can expect to experience kidney stones in their lifetime. Plus, once you've had a kidney stone, you're at greater risk for developing another one.
The side effects of passing a kidney stone, even in the mildest form, are unpleasant. Some patients say the pain rivals childbirth. If the stones are small enough (typically smaller than .5 mm), you can usually pass the stone on your own. Bigger stones could require surgery. Non-surgical treatments, such as shockwave lithotripsy, can help break up the stone for easier passing.
In terms of kidney stone prevention, lifestyle modifications, such as drinking more water, limiting salt intake, and avoiding certain foods, can help prevent stones from forming.
Whether you’re dealing with your first kidney stone or you’ve “been there, done that,” you should discuss your situation with a physician. Our board-certified urologists can outline the best treatment options and help get you back to feeling like yourself again.