Kidney Stones

Rush experts help you pass kidney stones more easily with minimally invasive kidney stone treatments. They work with you to prevent future kidney stones.
Rush experts help you pass kidney stones more easily with minimally invasive kidney stone treatments. They work with you to prevent future kidney stones.

A kidney stone is a solid material that forms when your urine contains high levels of crystal-forming substances (calcium, oxalate and uric acid).

The kidney stone can be extremely painful if it blocks the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder.

Kidney Stone Symptoms

Kidney stone symptoms include the following:

  • Blood in urine (hematuria)
  • Nausea
  • Pain with urination
  • Sharp pain in back or lower abdomen
  • Vomiting

What Causes Kidney Stones

Some of the causes of kidney stones include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Diet (diets high in protein, salt and/or sugar and low in water or other low-sugar fluids)
  • Family history of kidney stones
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Digestive problems (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions can affect your body's ability to absorb water and calcium)
  • Some medical conditions (e.g., obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome can increase your risk)

Kidney Stone Diagnosis at Rush

Your doctor will do a physical exam and imaging tests. Tests can include an X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or a cystoscopy to look for blockages in the ureter caused by kidney stones.

Kidney Stone Treatment at Rush

Multiple specialists can treat kidney stones, including urologists and nephrologists. Your treatment will depend on the size and location of the stone and may include some of the following:

  • Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy: Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy is a noninvasive procedure that uses high-intensity sound waves to break up kidney stones. This makes them easier to pass.
  • Laser lithotripsy: Laser lithotripsy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a laser to disintegrate kidney stones, making them easier to pass.
  • Ureteroscopy: With ureteroscopy, your provider will insert a small instrument into your urethra to find and remove the stone.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is typically used for large stones that cannot be treated with lithotripsy or ureteroscopy. Your provider will make a small incision in your back to remove your kidney stone.
  • Nutritional counseling: If you've had a kidney stone, you are more likely to develop one again in the future. Drinking fluids (about 8 to 12 cups of water each day) and making dietary changes can help you prevent kidney stones. A dietitian or your physician can help you determine the best diet to help you prevent kidney stones from forming again.
  • Pain medication: Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers can help ease kidney stone pain.

Kidney Stones Care Providers at Rush

Learn more about kidney stones care providers at Rush.

Meet our kidney stones care providers
stethoscope Meet our kidney stones care providers

Rush Excellence in Kidney Stones Care

  • Nationally ranked expertise: U.S. News & World Report ranks Rush University Medical Center's urology program among the nation's best.
  • Multiple locations for your convenience: With many locations and providers in Chicago, Oak Park and the Aurora/Fox Valley area, Rush gives you options to see someone closer to home.
  • Minimally invasive procedures: Rush providers offer a variety of minimally invasive treatments to break up your kidney stones so they are easier to pass. Your provider will talk to you about which option may work the best for your situation.