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Kidney Stones Specialist

Urological Associates

Urologists located in Charlottesville, VA

The risk of having kidney stones at some point in life is about 9% for women and 19% for men, with the first painful episode typically occurring after the age of 30. If you suspect you have a kidney stone, the experienced doctors at Urological Associates offer comprehensive care, whether it includes medication to help you pass a stone at home or interventional treatments to break up the stones. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Charlottesville, Virginia, or book an appointment online.

Kidney Stones Q & A

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones develop when wastes that are naturally found in your urine — calcium, oxalate, and uric acid — begin to stick together and form hard crystals. Stones develop when your urine contains high levels of one of these substances or there’s too little fluid to dissolve them.

Kidney stones may stay in your kidneys or travel through the ureter into the bladder, and eventually out of your body with urine. Small stones may leave your body without any problems, while larger stones cause severe pain along the way.

When kidney stones stay in your kidneys, they can block the opening and lead to a swollen, painful kidney as urine backs up. It’s also possible for a stone to get stuck in the ureter.

What symptoms develop due to kidney stones?

When your kidney stones get large enough to cause symptoms, you’ll experience:

  • Sharp pain in your back and side
  • Pain that radiates to your abdomen
  • Intense need to urinate
  • Urinating more frequently
  • Burning during urination
  • Urinating small amounts
  • Urine that’s dark or red due to blood
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain at the tip of the penis

The pain caused by a kidney stone often comes in waves, and its location changes as the stone moves through your urinary tract.

How are kidney stones treated?

If you have a small stone capable of being passed out of your body, your doctor at Urological Associates may recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers and drinking extra water to help flush out the stone. You may also need the help of prescription medications that relax muscles so you can eliminate the stone with less pain.

Large kidney stones often require one of the following interventions:

  • Ultrasonic lithotripsy, which uses sound waves to break up kidney stones
  • Electrohydraulic lithotripsy, which uses electrical shock waves to break up kidney stones
  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, which uses strong shock waves to break up stones
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy, or surgical removal of kidney stones
  • Ureteroscopy, which uses a small scope to remove stones in the ureter

Lithotripsy procedures are designed to help kidney stones pass naturally out of your urinary tract, but in some cases, your doctor may need to surgically remove the pieces of stone.

The type of stone you produce, such as calcium oxalate, calcium phosphorus, or uric acid, is determined after your stones are removed. Based on the type of stone, your doctor can recommend dietary changes and medications to help prevent future kidney stones.

If you develop kidney stone symptoms, call Urological Associates or book an appointment online.