Kidney stones can develop in any part of your urinary tract, resulting in pain and changes to your urinary functions. If you’re experiencing symptoms, the urology specialists at the Center for Urology in Altamonte Springs, Florida, can help you get rid of your kidney stones and develop strategies for preventing them in the future. Led by board-certified urologist Abraham Lincoln Woods III, MD, the practice specializes in high quality, comprehensive urological care. To speak with Dr. Woods about your condition, schedule an appointment by phone or online today.

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Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form in the kidneys. They often form when urine becomes concentrated, which allows minerals to crystallize. They can cause pain and discomfort as they move through the urinary tract.

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

The symptoms can vary depending on the size of the kidney stones and the severity of your condition. Symptoms typically occur after the stones begin moving in the kidneys or down the ureter, the tube that connects the kidneys to the bladder. Symptoms of kidney stones include:

  • Pain below the ribs
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Cloudy urine
  • Reddish or brownish urine
  • Passing small amounts of urine
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever

The pain caused by kidney stones can intensify or travel to other areas as the kidney stones move through the urinary tract. Larger stones can get stuck, increasing your risk for a urinary tract infection.

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones develop when there isn’t enough fluid to keep the minerals in your urine — calcium, oxalate, and uric acid — adequately diluted. When these minerals are in high concentrations, they clump together to form kidney stones.

Although the exact cause of this process is still a mystery, several risk factors are closely linked to the development of kidney stones. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diets high in salt
  • Diets high in protein and sugar
  • Obesity
  • Family history

Diet and nutrition play a big role in the formation of kidney stones. If you don’t get enough fluids or lose too many fluids, you may be at a higher risk for kidney stones.

Urine contains certain substances that prevent minerals from clumping. If your body is low in these substances, it can create the perfect environment for kidney stones.

Conditions like renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, and hyperparathyroidism can also increase your risk for kidney stones.

How are kidney stones treated?

For small stones, increasing your fluid intake and over-the-counter pain relievers are typically enough to help pass the stones. Some patients require medication to help relax the muscles of the ureter and make it easier to pass the stones.

If your kidney stones are large or causing severe symptoms like bloody urine, Dr. Woods provides minimally invasive treatments, including shock wave lithotripsy and laser lithotripsy.

Shock wave lithotripsy is a method of targeting and breaking up problematic kidney stones using high energy shock waves. Shock wave lithotripsy is nonsurgical and allows Dr. Woods to reduce your stones enough so they successfully pass through the urinary tract.

Similar to shock wave lithotripsy, laser treatments, or laser lithotripsy, use lasers to break up kidney stones. In rare cases, some patients require surgery for adequate treatment of their kidney stones.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of kidney stones, book an appointment at the Center for Urology by phone or online today to discuss your treatment options.