Kidney and Bladder Stones
If your kidney stones or bladder stones are unable to pass on their own, Rogue Valley Urology physicians can remove the stones and help you prevent new stones from forming.
The kidneys are part of the urinary tract. These two bean-shaped organs sit below the ribs and above the hips, and maintain the balance between fluids and electrolytes by transforming extra water and waste from the blood into urine so it can be released from the body.
Kidney stones form when there are more crystal-forming substances (calcium, oxalate and uric acid) than the fluid in your urine can dilute. Your urine can then become so concentrated that these minerals begin to stick together. Risk factors include dehydration, a high-protein or high-sodium diet, obesity, bowel disorders, overactive parathyroid gland, or family history. Types of kidney stones include calcium stones, struvite stones (caused by infection), uric acid stones, and cystine stones.
You may not experience symptoms from a kidney stone until it has moved or passed into your ureter, which is the tube that connects your kidney to your bladder. At that time you may experience severe, intermittent pain in the side and back that often spreads into the lower abdomen and groin. You may also have painful urination or urine that is colored (pink, brown, or red), cloudy, or foul-smelling.
The stones may be able to pass on their own with increased water intake, or, depending on their size, they may require medical intervention, such as using sound waves to break up stones or surgery to remove them. While passing kidney stones can often be a painful process, the stones do not typically cause permanent damage.
- The American Urological Association’s webpage on Kidney Stones.
- The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse webpage on Kidney Stones.
Similar to kidney stones, but much less common, bladder stones are hard masses of minerals found in your bladder. The majority of bladder stones occur in men. These stones typically form when your bladder does not empty completely upon urination. The urine that remains in your bladder can form crystals that turn into stones. Other causes include urinary tract infection, an enlarged prostate, damage to nerves connecting your brain to your bladder muscles, inflammation or infection, or kidney stones entering the bladder.
On occasion, small bladder stones can pass on their own, but more often they will need to be removed by a doctor through the use of lasers, ultrasound, or surgery. Without treatment, the stones can become infected and cause additional complications.
- The MedLine Plus webpage on Bladder Stones.