Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are very painful and are common. More than one million kidney stones are diagnosed each year. They are more common in men, but also occur in women.

Kidney stones are made of salts and minerals such as calcium, oxalate, and phosphate from urine. These salts and minerals bond and crystallize and create a stone in the kidney. Stones can vary in size and shape, with some growing very large.

Some kidney stones stay in the kidneys or pass through the urethra with my painful symptoms. Others become so large or oddly shaped that they can cause pain when passing. Stones – typically larger than 2cm – may need assistance or surgery to remove.

Risk Factors

  • Family history of kidney stones
  • Dehydration can salts and minerals to stick together in the urine
  • Certain diets that are high in protein, salt, and oxalates
  • Certain medical conditions – IBS, Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea
  • Metabolic disease – hyperparathyroidism or gout
  • Obesity


  • Sharp, cramping pain in the back, side, lower abdomen, or groin
  • Normally traveling to all these places
  • Dull aches that can be confused with muscle or intestinal pain
  • Caused by smaller kidney stones
  • Frequent urination
  • Burning during urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea and/or vomiting


Talk with your urologists about all treatment options and which ones would be best for you. Treatments depend on the grade, stage, and invasive nature of the disease, among other factors.

  • Pain relievers
  • Medication
  • Increased fluid intake
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) and Tubeless PNCL – a small incision is made through the skin to remove the stone, instead of an open, more invasive procedure
  • Shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) – shockwaves are used to break the stones into smaller particles that can easily pass
  • Ureteroscopy/Renoscopy – a small scope is inserted into the urethra and advanced to the kidney stone so a laser can be used to break it apart

Your doctor may collect the passed or surgically removed stones to have the pathology lab analyze them to find out the type of stone. This analysis will help your provider develop a more personalized treatment and prevention plan for the future.

Contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or have concerns other about kidney stones.