The ABCs About Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a fairly common condition, but most people don’t know a lot about them, why they get them, and how they are treated. Every year, up to 21 out of 10,000 people will get kidney stones. If not treated quickly, kidney stones can lead to permanent kidney damage or kidney failure. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of kidney stones and to get the proper treatment. If you feel like you may have kidney stones, you can always come to any of our Houston and Austin ERs for 24 hour emergency care for quality, compassionate care.

How to Spot a Kidney Stone

A kidney stone is a solid mass that can range from the size of a grain of sand to a gold ball. It is made up of crystals that have separated from urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney. When a kidney stone cannot be passed, it can block the urinary tract causing a lot of pain.

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Even if the pain subsides in a few days, you should still see a doctor to treat and possibly remove the kidney stone. If left untreated, your kidneys could start shutting down. Symptoms of kidney stones can include:

  • Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
  • Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin
  • Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
  • Pain on urination
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent need to urinate
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Fever and chills if an infection is present
  • Urinating small amounts of urine

How to Prevent Kidney Stones

In order to prevent kidney stones, it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you are prone to kidney stones, your doctor may also advise you to lessen the amount of oxalate-rich foods you eat. These types of foods include

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rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate, and soy products. You should reduce the salt in your diet and cut down on animal protein.

Treating Kidney Stones

The treatment of kidney stones depends on the type of stone and the cause. For small, minimal stones, your doctor may tell you to drink as much as two to three quarts of water a day to help flush out your urinary system. Passing a small kidney stone can still be very painful.

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Pain relievers can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort you may have. You doctor may also give you some medication to help you pass the stone and to make it less painful. If you have a large stone that cannot be passed on its own, more extensive treatment may be necessary. Depending on the size and location of a kidney stone, doctors may use sound waves to break up the stone into smaller pieces so that it may be passed safely. A very large stone will most likely require removal by surgery.

It is very important to seek medical treatment if you think you have kidney stones. Neighbors Emergency Centers are open 24/7 and will be able to help you no matter what time of day or night, no matter the emergency.

Neighbors Emergency Center offers 24 hour emergency care in Houston and Austin 365 days a year, and our board certified emergency physicians can treat all medical emergencies. We know you’re time is important, so we will treat you quickly and effectively so you can get back to doing what you love. If you are looking for a quality emergency room with little to no wait time, come to Neighbors Emergency Center.

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