Kidney Stones

What is the treatment for kidney stones?

Specific treatment for kidney stones will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference

Some kidney stones pass out of the body without any intervention by a doctor. In cases that cause lasting symptoms or other complications, kidney stones may be treated with various techniques, including the following:

  • Shock waves or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This treatment uses a machine to send shock waves directly to the kidney stone to break a large stone into smaller stones that will pass through the urinary system. There are two types of shock wave machines: with one machine, the patient sits in a tub of water; with the other, the patient lies on a table.

  • Ureteroscope. A long wire with a camera attached to it is inserted into the patient's urethra and passed up through the bladder to the ureter where the stone is located. A cage is used to obtain the stone and remove it.

  • Tunnel surgery (also called percutaneous nephrolithotomy). A small cut is made in the patient's back and a narrow tunnel is made through the skin to the stone inside the kidney. The surgeon can remove the stone through this tunnel.

How can kidney stones be prevented?

According to the NIDKD, the best ways to prevent kidney stones are the following:

  • Drink more water. Up to 12 full glasses of water a day can help to flush away the substances that form stones in the kidneys. Ginger ale, lemon-lime sodas, and fruit juices are acceptable.

  • Limit coffee, tea, and cola to one or two cups a day. The caffeine may cause a rapid loss of fluid.

  • Consult your doctor regarding dietary modifications.

  • Medications may be prescribed to prevent calcium and uric acid stones from forming.

Please consult your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have regarding this condition.

[ top ]