Kidney Stones

Urology Associates provide a wide variety of treatments for kidney stones that can affect both men and women.

About Kidney Stones:

Stones in the urinary system, also known as urolithiasis, are formations of deposits that form in the tubes that excrete urine from the body. Stones can form and affect any part of the urinary system including the kidney (nephrolithiasis), ureters (ureterolithiasis) and bladder (cystolithiasis). Stones are most commonly (80%) contain of calcium oxalate, but can be composed of other minerals such as uric acid, cystine, or magnesium ammonium phosphate.

Urinary stones may be a result of diet, medications, genetics, and lifestyle. Depending on the situation, our urologist may do a stone or urine analysis to better understand the type of stone your body is forming and come up with effective ways to prevent them from reoccurring. Increasing water intake and limiting certain foods may help reduce your chances of developing stones.

Kidney Stone Symptoms:

Pain is often severe with kidney stones and comes on suddenly. The pain is generally described as sharp and stabbing in nature. It often presents on the lowers sides of the back and radiates down into the lower part of the abdomen into the groin. Other common symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting, often associated with the intense pain
  • Patients are usually unable to find a comfortable position to sit or lay
  • Pain and burning with urination
  • Increased urinary frequency or urgency
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine) or cloudy/discolored urine
  • Loss of appetite

How We Diagnose Kidney Stones:

  • Urine analysis is often the first test done to exam the urine for blood, signs of infections, and other possible indicators for kidney stones
  • CT scans are the best test to diagnosis stones. CT scans are able to estimate the size of the stone and give exact location. This information helps decide what interventions should be implemented.
  • Ultrasound is used to assess the kidney for fluid/hydronephrosis and monitor the kidneys once the stone has been expelled from the body.
  • X-rays may be used in certain situations especially when monitoring the stone. It is important to note that X-rays only show calcium or struvite stones. X-rays have less radiation than CT scans which is why our urologist may use them to monitor a stone instead of repetitive CT scans.

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Treatment Options:

For stones under 5mm in size, medical therapy is often initiated because the stones have around an 80% chance of passing on their own. To help the stone pass, our urologists may use:

  • Alpha blockers (Tamsulozin/Flomax)
  • IV fluids
  • Pain control/anti-nausea medications

For stones larger than 7mm, there is only around a 20% chance that the stone will pass spontaneously. Therefore, more aggressive treatment options may be utilized. Patients are sedated or anesthetized for more invasive options. These treatments include:

On average, 1 in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives.


Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL)

Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL) is the most common treatment for kidney stones. Pressure waves are sent from outside the body to break apart the kidney stone or stones into tiny fragments, allowing an easier passage for the patient.

Ureteroscopy with Holmium Laser Lithotripsy of Kidney Stone

A ureteroscopy with holmium laser lithotripsy is a procedure in which the doctor will use a scope and a powerful laser to break apart large kidney stones.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

A percutaneous nephrolithotomy is an inpatient procedure used to treat large kidney stones.

Meet Our Doctors

Our physicians are experienced in treating the complete range of urologic conditions and diseases, from kidney stones and sexual dysfunction to prostate cancer, incontinence and infertility.