Kidney stones are small, hard crystals that form inside your kidneys when salts and other minerals bond together in your urine. They vary in shape and size. Some stones pass naturally through the urinary tract, while others require surgical intervention. Kidney stones can be quite painful, but they usually don’t cause permanent damage when treated appropriately.
SSM Health offers expertise in the treatment and care of kidney stones, ranging from conservative measures to the surgical removal of the stones.
There are no known causes for the development of kidney stones but there are some common risk factors, which include:
- Family or personal history
- Diet high in protein, sodium or sugar
- Digestive diseases and surgery
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Common symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Severe pain in the side or back below the ribs that might spread to the abdomen or groin area
- Painful urination or urinary urge or frequency
- Blood in the urine or foul smelling urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pink, red or brown urine
- Fever and chills (sometimes)
Treating Kidney Stones
If you have signs and symptoms of kidney stones, your doctor may perform a series of diagnostic tests and procedures, including blood and urine testing and imaging tests to see if kidney stones are present in your urinary tract.
If you are diagnosed with kidney stones, treatment will depend on the size and type of kidney stone. For small stones that are not causing painful symptoms, your doctor may suggest conservative measures to help you pass the stones, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and drinking a lot of water. For larger stones, your doctor may refer you to a urologist for more extensive treatment to remove the stones.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Contact your SSM Health primary care provider immediately if you are have pain so severe that you can't sit still or find a comfortable position along with one or more of the symptoms of kidney stones. Our expert team will perform a thorough evaluation and ensure you get the care you need to relieve your pain.