Kidney Stone Care
In the United States, urinary tract stones originate most frequently within the kidney. Much as a pearl is created within an oyster, kidney stones are the final result of a conglomeration of crystals that form from urinary salts.
Stones can grow to a significant size within the kidney, but they may also begin moving down the ureter. When this happens, blockage of the urine flow can occur, resulting in significant flank and abdominal pain, blood in the urine, and sometimes fever. Initial treatment for the symptoms related to acute stone related episodes includes hydration, pain control and the treatment of any associated infection.
Stone size and location will often guide the most appropriate intervention. If the stone is 5 mm in diameter or less, a trial of conservative therapy is indicated, as these stones have a high probability of passage with time. In addition to suggesting increased fluid intake and prescribing an appropriate pain medication, your urologist may give you a short course of a medication called an alpha blocker. Alpha blockers can often help relax the muscle tone in the ureter and base of the bladder to facilitate stone passage.
Other patients with larger stones or those that fail conservative management will require surgical intervention.