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Kidney Stones

A kidney stone is a solid material that forms when your urine contains high levels of certain substances. The stone can be extremely painful if it blocks the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder.

Kidney stones: things you should know

  • Symptoms of kidney stones includes the following:
    • Blood in urine (hematuria)
    • Nausea
    • Pain with urination
    • Sharp pain in back or lower abdomen
    • Vomiting
  • You have a high risk of developing kidney stones if you have any of the following conditions:
  • Some of the causes of kidney stones include the following:
    • Diet (high protein, high salt, low fluid intake)
    • Family history of kidney stones
    • Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI)
    • Digestive problems
  • While painful, kidney stones do not typically cause any permanent damage to your kidneys or urinary tract.
  • If you’ve had a kidney stone, you are more susceptible to developing one again in the future.
  • Drinking enough fluids each day (about 8 to 12 cups of water) is the best way to prevent kidney stones.

How can I get help for kidney stones?

If your primary care doctor suspects or diagnoses you with a kidney stone, urologists at Rush specialize in minimally invasive techniques to help you pass the stone easily or surgical options to remove the stone. 

Care for kidney stones at Rush

Your kidney stone treatment depends on the size and location of the stone.

  • Diagnostic tests: Your doctor will do a physical exam and imaging tests, which can include an X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan or a cystoscopy to look for blockages in the urethra caused by kidney stones.
  • Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy: A noninvasive procedure that uses high-intensity acoustic pulses to break up kidney stones, making them easier to pass.
  • Laser lithotripsy: A minimally invasive procedure using a laser to disintegrate kidney stones, making them easier to pass.
  • Endovascular therapy: A minimally invasive treatment in which your urologist makes a small incision and uses a small catheter equipped with instruments to remove your kidney stone.
  • Ureteroscopy: Your urologist will insert a small instrument into your urethra to find and remove the stone.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: Your urologist or interventional radiologist will make a small incision in your back to remove your kidney stone. (This is typically used for large stones that cannot be treated with lithotripsy or ureteroscopy.)
  • Nutrition counseling: 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.

Why choose Rush for kidney stones care

  • Urologists at Rush specialize in minimally invasive techniques to remove kidney stones. The urology program at Rush is consistently named among the best in the country in U.S. News and World Report.
  • Nephrologists at Rush provide comprehensive care for people with a wide range of kidney diseases, including kidney stones. The nephrology program at Rush is consistently named among the best in the country in U.S. News and World Report.
  • Urologists and nephrologists at Rush will work with you on ways to minimize future stone occurrences. 
  • Dietitians at Rush can help you determine the best foods to eat and avoid to prevent kidney stones. 

Departments and programs that treat this condition