Kidney and bladder stones are hard deposits made up of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys. They can form in the kidneys and/or bladder and get stuck in the ureter, the tube that carries urine out of the body. Kidney stones can be pretty painful, but they usually do not cause any permanent damage.
- Severe pain in the side and back
- Pain in the lower abdomen and groin
- Pain that comes in waves of varying intensity
- Pain during urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pink, red, or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Persistent urgency
- Urinating more than normal
- Urinating small amounts
- Fever and chills, if an infection is present
Your doctor will perform several tests, including:
- Blood test
- Urine test
- Imaging tests
- Lab analysis of passed stones
For small stones, you will be told to drink lots of water (up to 3 liters a day) to help them pass. Pain relievers can help with pain. You may be given medication to help the stone pass.
For large stones or those that cause problems, you may need more comprehensive treatment. Your doctor can use soundwaves to break up the stones, called ESWT (extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy). If the stones are unable to leave the kidneys, your doctor can perform a surgery to remove them.
If you are prone to kidney or bladder stones, you may be prescribed medication to prevent them. If it is due to an underlying condition, such as an overproduction of a specific hormone, treating the condition will prevent future stones.