Kidney stones cause excruciating pain, and passing them on your own isn’t always safe or possible. The team of board-certified nephrologists at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, is experienced in treatments that break up and remove kidney stones and can help you make dietary and other lifestyle changes to prevent kidney stones from returning. If you need treatment for a kidney stone or want help making kidney stones a thing of the past, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Kidney stones are pebble-like objects made of minerals, especially calcium, that form when your body doesn’t have enough water to dilute the minerals in your urine. The minerals clump together and harden into kidney stones, which can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as large as a pearl.
Kidney stones usually don’t cause any permanent damage, but they can lead to extreme pain and make urination difficult or impossible.
When you have a small kidney stone, you’ll usually be able to tolerate the discomfort with over-the-counter pain medication and pass it out of your body by drinking lots of water. If you go to Metro Renal Associates for a small kidney stone, your doctor may prescribe a medicine called an alpha-blocker that relaxes your ureter, the tube connecting your kidney to your bladder, to make passing the stone easier.
Kidney stones can be serious, however, when they’re larger, become stuck in your urinary tract, accompany an infection, or cause complications. You should schedule an appointment at Metro Renal Associates if you’re experiencing:
The team at Metro Renal Associates may test your blood or urine, or perform an imaging test to confirm you have a kidney stone. Treatment focuses on breaking up and removing the kidney stone, including through the use of sound waves and scopes.
While there’s no single cause of kidney stones, there are a number of reasons you can end up with both a high concentration of minerals and not enough liquids in your body, including:
When you’re dehydrated, whether it’s because you don’t drink enough water, sweat excessively, or because of a condition or medication, your body can’t dilute the minerals in your urine. As a result, the minerals clump together and harden into kidney stones. Often, kidney stones result primarily from dehydration, though the cause of the dehydration may vary.
You’re more likely to develop kidney stones if you eat a diet high in salt, sugar, and animal proteins.
Not everyone who’s dehydrated and eats a diet high in sugar, salt, and animal proteins will develop kidney stones. Some people are genetically predisposed to kidney stones, so if you have a sibling or parent with kidney stones, your level of hydration and eating habits are more likely to cause kidney stones.
In addition to removing or helping you pass kidney stones and relieving the painful symptoms, the team at Metro Renal Associates helps you change your lifestyle to prevent kidney stones from forming in the future.
You may need to drink more water than you’re used to and keep track of whether you’re urinating frequently, and that your urine is light and clear, which is a sign of proper hydration.
Dietary recommendations include lowering your intake of salt and animal proteins. You may also need to reduce your intake of oxalates, a chemical found in many foods, including nuts and vegetables like okra and spinach, that can cause minerals to build up and crystallize in your system. The team at Metro Renal Associates guides you on how to eat a balanced diet while minimizing your intake of oxalates.
To get treatment for kidney stones and help prevent them in the future, call or schedule an appointment online today.