Kidney stones can be quite painful, and if you get one, it feels like it lasts forever—even though it generally will only last for about a month.
In most cases, kidney stones can be passed without any necessary medical or surgical procedures. Learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team below!
What Causes Kidney Stones?
When urine is too concentrated and is unable to filter out waste, kidney stones form, which are hard deposits in the urine. The most prevalent causes include not drinking enough water, not exercising enough, being obese, undergoing weight-loss surgery and consuming foods high in salt or sugar. They can also be caused by urinary tract infections and a family history of kidney stones.
However, as you’ll see below, not all kidney stones are the same.
Types of Kidney Stones
- Calcium oxalate. The is the most common type of kidney stone, which is created when calcium combines with oxalate in the urine. The most common causes of this type of stone is too little calcium in your diet and not enough water.
- Uric acid. This is another common type of kidney stone. Foods that are high in purines, like shellfish and red meats, can lead to a higher production of monosodium urate, which, can form kidney stones.
- Struvite. These stones are less common and are caused by infections in the upper urinary tract.
- Cystine. These stones are rare and tend to run in families.
What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of a Kidney Stone?
Every case is a little different, and it really depends on the size of the kidney stone. If a kidney stone is small, you’ll likely be able to get rid of it by passing it naturally. If a kidney stone is large, though, medical treatment is usually necessary.
One of the most common medical procedures to get rid of kidney stones is through a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). ESWL uses sound waves to create strong vibrations (shock waves) that break the stones into tiny pieces that can be passed in your urine. Like we said earlier, though, this is really only necessary when a kidney stone is large; the treatment options that we’ve listed below are the most common ways to get rid of a stone.
Common Kidney Stone Treatments
- Drinking water. Most kidney stones are small and will eventually pass through your urinary system, so drinking lots of water is the best way to flush them out sooner than later. Drinking fluids will dilute urine and give you the best chance at passing a kidney stone in a timely manner.
- Pain relievers. Passing kidney stones doesn’t feel good. To relieve pain, OTC medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can be helpful.
- Medical therapy. In some cases, your doctor may give you a medication called an alpha blocker to help pass your kidney stone. This type of medication relaxes the muscles in your ureter, which will help you pass the kidney stone more quickly and with less pain.
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