Published on May 28, 2021
Read Time: Two Minutes
Information provided by Geoffrey Lloyd-Smith, MD, FACS, a urologist with the Phelps Health Medical Group.
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that can form in your kidneys. They can travel through the ureter, the tube between the kidney and bladder.
If a kidney stone reaches your bladder, you can usually pass the stone when you urinate. However, sometimes, a kidney stone becomes stuck in the ureter, which blocks urine and can cause pain.
In fact, severe pain in the upper abdomen, sides or back of the body is one of the first symptoms of kidney stones. You may experience pain near your bladder. Urinating frequently also may be a sign you have kidney stones.
Other signs and symptoms of kidney stones include high blood pressure and blood in the urine.
If you have a fever, chills, shakes or a rapid heart rate, in addition to the symptoms mentioned above, this may be a sign of infection and you need to seek medical care.
In some cases, people can pass kidney stones on their own, with the help of certain medicines to control the pain.
Kidney stones that are 4 millimeters in diameter or less have a 90% chance of passing on their own, given time and pain control.
However, some kidney stones require surgery to be removed.
To prevent kidney stones, drink plenty of water. Changing your diet also may help, depending on the type of kidney stones.
For calcium stones, you should reduce the amount of salt you eat.
For oxalate stones, you may be asked to consume less oxalate, which can be found in green, leafy vegetables.
For uric acid stones, people should reduce non-dairy animal protein, such as red meat or fish.
Five Things to Know About Kidney Stones
- About 9% of people are or will be affected by kidney stones.
- When people have kidney stones, their pain is often severe at the start.
- Kidney stones tend to run in families.
- If you have a kidney stone and an infection, please seek medical care.
- If you have an infection, fever and a blockage of your kidneys or bladder, call 911 or go to the emergency department.