The kidneys are a major part of our detoxifying system. These two small bean-shaped organs clean the blood and filter waste and toxins to make urine. If there is an imbalance or insufficient fluids, the waste can build up in the kidneys and cause kidney stones.
Many people are unaware that they’ve ever had kidney stones because they can easily move through the urinary tract and are passed out with little to no discomfort if they are small enough. However, larger kidney stones do cause irritation, and in severe cases, can be extremely painful. Other symptoms of kidney stones are bloody urine, back pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, pain while urinating, cloudy urine, and a strong odor.
The National Kidney Foundation information clearly explains the following statement on the types of stones and their causes:
There are four main types of stones:1
1. Calcium oxalate: The most common type of kidney stone which is created when calcium combines with oxalate in the urine. Inadequate calcium and fluid intake, as well other conditions, may contribute to their formation.
2. Uric acid: This is another common type of kidney stone. Foods such as organ meats and shellfish have high concentrations of a natural chemical compound known as purines. High purine intake leads to a higher production of monosodium urate, which, under the right conditions, may form stones in the kidneys. The formation of these types of stones tends to run in families.
3. Struvite: These stones are less common and are caused by infections in the upper urinary tract.
4. Cystine: These stones are rare and tend to run in families
Kidney Stone Treatment
If the stone is small enough, the physician will want you to try and pass it naturally through urinating. Drinking adequate amounts of water is essential. You may also need IV fluids to help your body pass the stone more quickly and efficiently, and pain medications can be given to ease the discomfort. If the stone is large, has blocked the ureter, and caused urine retention, or if there are signs of infection, surgery may be required.
Noninvasive Treatment to Break up the Stone(s)
Shock-wave lithotripsy is a noninvasive procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to blast the stones into fragments that are then more easily passed out in the urine. In ureteroscopy, an endoscope is inserted through the ureter to retrieve or obliterate the stone. Rarely, for very large or complicated stones, doctors will use percutaneous nephrolithotomy.1
Other Kidney Disorders
Because the kidneys work in overdrive most of the time, they are susceptible to disease. These include kidney failure, urinary tract infections, chronic and polycystic kidney disease, and glomerulonephritis, to name a few.
Urinary tract infections may seem harmless and commonplace, but if they are left untreated, the bacteria can spread into the kidneys and cause a kidney infection, which can quickly turn critical.
If you have symptoms such as the following, they are often common warning indicators of kidney disorders:
• Discomfort when urinating
• Foul odor in urine
• Fluid retention in the lower extremities and feet
• Shortness of breath
• Decreased urine output
• Irregular heartbeat
• Muscle weakness
• Chest pain
To prevent and alleviate kidney disorders, it’s important to drink plenty of water to help flush out waste and to stay hydrated. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits is essential. It’s also important to note that too much protein can exacerbate kidney stones.
If you do a ketogenic type of diet, make sure to get plenty of plant-based protein and fiber. There are some herbs and herbal supplements that can also help filter out the kidneys. It’s always best to speak to your physician about adding any supplements to your routine. This is especially true if you are on any prescription medications or suffer from ongoing health disorders.
When to See a Urologist
If you have any new or ongoing symptoms, see your doctor immediately or, in severe cases, seek emergency care. Early diagnosis and treatment will provide the most optimal outcomes.
Florida Urology Specialists
We are committed to providing you with the best individualized, quality medical and surgical care available today. We expect to be able to correct your present urologic condition and return you to an active, productive life. We are also dedicated to the prevention and early detection of potential urologic problems.
The physicians of Florida Urology Specialists implement the most modern technological innovations. We constantly educate ourselves and practice the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques.
Florida Urology Specialists provide seminars at local hospital venues and their main office in Sarasota, as well as having resources at their office and writing articles so that their patients are well informed about their diagnosis and treatment options. The physicians give you the knowledge so that you can collaborate in making the best decisions for your personal care.
Our nursing and office team are a dedicated group of experienced and compassionate health professionals. They too are dedicated to making your experience as pleasant, efficient, and convenient as possible.
1 South School Avenue, Ste. 200, Sarasota, Florida 34237
Office: 941.309.7000 / Toll Free: 800.543.2809
1. National Kidney Foundation, Kidney Stones,