What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) are salts or crystals that precipitate in the urinary tract. These stones are typically made up of elements such as calcium (most common), uric acid, magnesium ammonium phosphate, or cysteine. The urinary tract begins with the kidneys, which empty urine into the ureters, which then drain urine into the bladder and finally the urethra. Stones can be located anywhere along the urinary system from the kidneys to the bladder.
Patients with kidney stones typically develop acute onset of pain that starts in the flank region or back on one side. The pain tends to travels towards the groin and is often described as being colicky – this means that the pain comes and goes as the …show more content…
Kidney stones are common in the United States and are responsible for a relatively high number of emergency department and primary care clinic visits. Advances cases often require consultation with a urology specialist – this is especially true if first-line measures are unsuccessful.
The condition is more commonly seen in adults. In the United States, patients between age 10-19 make up for only about 4% for cases. The incidence of nephrolithiasis in Americans age >10 is approximately 109 per 100,000 men per year and 36 per 100,000 women per year. Patients that have passed a first kidney stone have a 15% change of forming another stone within a year.
What are the symptoms and signs of kidney stones?
Symptoms of kidney stones often the acute onset of one-sided flank or back pain that radiates toward the groin. The pain is typically very severe (comparable to giving birth) and characterized as colicky (comes and goes). Associated symptoms often include:
• Nausea & vomiting
• Blood in the urine
• Urinary …show more content…
They may send your urine sample for bacterial culture. Commonly ordered blood tests include a CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel), and CBC (complete blood cell count), and uric acid level. They will also usually check your fasting and cholesterol levels and screen for diabetes.
One you pass a stone, you doctor will typically send the specimen for stone analysis in order to determine the type of stone – this can guide therapy.
How are kidney stones treated?
The acute treatment of kidney stones depends on the size of the kidney stone and if there are any complications. Most cases of kidney stones come to the emergency department. Stones less than 5mm are generally managed expectantly – meaning, your doctor will treat your pain and allow you to pass the stone on your own. They may initially provide you with intravenous fluids and narcotic pain medications such as Duramorph (morphine) or Dilaudid (hydromorphone). Upon discharge, they will often provide you with a short course of oral pain medications such as: