Kidney stones are excess minerals clumped together in your kidney. These stones can be small enough to cause no inconveniences or be large enough to cause lower back pain. If you experience any symptoms, you should visit a urologist.
But how, exactly, are urologists equipped to help you treat and manage your kidney stones?
Many factors, including diet and medical conditions, cause mineral deposits in your kidney. Other factors include your genes, body mass index, medications and supplements, bowel conditions, and urine volume
Around 80% of kidney stones are caused by calcium buildup, specifically calcium oxalates and calcium phosphates. These stones are formed from excess calcium or oxalate in your diet. The next most common deposits are uric acid stones, caused by diabetes, gout, and obesity.
Less common stones, such as struvite stones and cystine stones, are caused by urinary tract infections (UTI) and excessive amino acids. Cystine stones are hereditary and may develop in early childhood.
Some kidney stones may be so small that you won’t notice them until you undergo a CT scan or ultrasound. Small deposits may even move through your urinary tract to be excreted successfully with minimal pain.
However, some kidney stones may cause extreme pain, especially in the back and groin areas. Other symptoms of kidney stones include reddish or foul-smelling urine, pain during urination, nausea, and fever.
Urologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the urinary system. Urologists are also experts in men’s reproductive health. Aside from these specializations, urologists may also train in female urology and urologic oncology.
Their practice involves treating diseases such as kidney stones, urinary tract cancers, and UTI. You must consult a urologist when you have kidney stones.
Your urologist will give you preventive measures to avoid the recurrent formation of kidney stones. Prevention is vital because studies show that almost 50% of patients with kidney stones experience the same condition after seven years. As long as your stones are small enough, you can still treat them with nonsurgical methods.
If you have calcium stones, your urologist may suggest reducing your intake of oxalate-rich foods such as nuts, chocolates, and soy products. If you have cystine stones, your doctor may encourage you to drink more water to dilute your urine.
In addition to dietary changes, your urologist may also prescribe medication. These medications are not just for controlling the pain but also to prevent infection and formation of kidney stones. If you have struvite stones, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to keep your urine bacteria-free.
Pills to increase salt solubility in urine will help you if you have cystine stones. And if you have calcium or uric acid stones, your doctor may provide you with medicine to control your calcium and acid levels.
You should also consult your urologist about any supplements and medications you are currently taking.
If your kidney stones become too large to pass through your ureter, you may need more advanced treatment methods. Your urologist will be the one to recommend the best treatment option for you.
There are many causes and types of kidney stones, so there are also many ways to control it. Your urologist is an expert in diagnosing and treating conditions concerning the urinary system. With their expertise, they will help you treat symptoms and prevent further formation of kidney stones. At Ironwood Urology, we offer you a wide array of services and treatments. Our head doctor, Dr. Desiderio Avila, guarantees you high-quality care.
Book an appointment by filling out our online form or call our office at (480) 961-2323. Our healthcare providers and staff are ready to help you!