Kidney Stones Treatment in Tucson, AZ
Kidney stones (calculi) are jagged mineral deposits that form in the kidney and drop into the collecting system. Stones often get stuck and block the flow of urine and cause severe pain and blood in the urine. The kidney’s function is to filter the salts and minerals in the blood and produce the byproduct- urine. Stones form when crystals coalesce. 3% of all adults will experience symptoms of kidney stones in their life. People who live or move to hot and humid environments increase their chance of developing a kidney stone due to dehydration. This is why 2 to 3 liters of water each day is the best way to prevent stones.
Schedule a Kidney Stones Consultation in with our urologist in Tucson, AZ, Dr. Peter Burrows, MD.
If you’re seeking relief from kidney stones, look no further than the Arizona Center for Vasectomy and Urology. Our esteemed urology clinic in Tucson, AZ provides specialized care and expertise for kidney stone treatment. Don’t let kidney stones disrupt your life when you can schedule an appointment with the highly skilled and experienced urologist, Dr. Peter Burrows, MD.
Dr. Burrows is a distinguished member of the American Urological Society and possesses over 20 years of expertise in effectively treating kidney stones. By choosing our clinic, you’ll receive personalized care and guidance from a renowned specialist.
To take the first step towards finding relief, book your appointment today. Contact our urology clinic in Tucson, AZ by calling (520) 731-0600. Our dedicated staff is ready to assist you and ensure you receive the attention and care you deserve. Don’t let kidney stones hinder your quality of life—seek professional treatment from Dr. Peter Burrows and regain your well-being.
Preventing Kidney Stones
Like many problems, making stones is an inherited trait. Also, the greatest risk of having a second stone was having the first one. You can do several things to decrease your risk of making your first stone or making additional stones.
- How to prevent ever making a stone: Always drink 2-3 liters of water a day. Caffeinated and sugared drinks act as diuretics and create a negative fluid balance. Never add salt to your food and limit salty foods. Decrease consumption of chocolate, tea, coffee, and nuts. Even though most stones contain calcium, restricting calcium intake is NOT recommended.
- How to reduce the risk of making more stones: Have your stone analyzed for composition. This will dictate what additional tests are needed to help prevent future stone formation. Continue drinking at least 2-3 liters of water a day.
Uric Acid Stones: Limit consumption of foods containing purines. This includes red meat and nuts. Your urologist may prescribe allopurinol to block the production of uric acid in addition to medicine to alkalinize the urine such as bicarbonate or PolyCitra.
Calcium Stones: Do NOT limit the consumption of calcium foods. Limit the consumption of high oxalate foods such as tea, coffee, cola, chocolate, nuts, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach. After a thorough work-up, medications are tailored to the problem discovered. The most common sources include:
- Renal Leak Hypercalciuria: This is when the kidneys spill excess calcium in the urine. Treatments include water, a stone dissolver such as UroCit-K, and possibly hydrochlorothiazide to reabsorb the calcium.
- Absorptive Hypercalcemia: Excess calcium is discovered in the blood from the intestines absorbing more than enough calcium. Limiting oxalate-containing foods and regular water drinking can treat this.
- Resorptive Hypercalcemia: Excess calcium is discovered in the blood from resorbing the calcium in the bones. This is from an abnormality of the hormone PTH and needs to be treated surgically.
What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
Kidney stone pain is described as one of the worst pains a healthy person can endure. Many women describe kidney stone pain as being worse than labor! The pain typically is on the side of the stone localizing to the back or flank. Many people experiencing symptoms of stone see no other alternative than going to the emergency room for relief of their anxiety and pain. As the stone travels toward the bladder, the location of the pain changes toward the current location of the stone. Often, the stone will irritate the kidney and cause blood to be seen in the urine (hematuria). Some stones will block the flow of urine and cause symptoms of nausea and vomiting.
Classic stone symptoms:
- Flank or back pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the urine
- Frequent urination
How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of a kidney stone can be made by symptoms alone. The ER team or urologist will likely confirm the presence of stone by checking your blood for kidney function (creatinine), checking the urine for blood, and ordering a CT scan or X-ray to see how big and where the stone is. Once the diagnosis is decided whether to treat the stone or let it pass will be made based on the stone’s size, location, and level of pain.
Types of Kidney Stones
There are several varieties of Kidney stones. The most common type is calcium oxalate. Other types include uric acid, struvite, and phosphorous. After your stone has been treated or passed, your urologist will check your urine for 24 hours and do blood tests. The results of these may show if excess of certain types of minerals are being spilled into your urine or are circulating in your blood.
This is the most common type of stone. These stones cannot be dissolved with medicine. The only treatment is letting the small ones pass and treating the larger ones with ESWL or surgery. After the stones have been passed or removed, then preventing further formation is the priority. In addition to increasing fluid intake, citrate in the form of lemonade or citrate pills (UroCit-K, K-dur) should be added. Findings from the 24-hour urine collection or blood work may indicate additional medications to prevent further stone formation.
Uric Acid Stones
This type of stone forms in patients with a metabolic purine abnormality such as gout. This stone does not show up on regular X-Rays and therefore, CT or ultrasound is needed to find them. Fortunately, uric acid stones can sometimes be dissolved with bicarbonate. If dissolving the stone is unsuccessful, then ESWL or surgery may be necessary.
This type of stone is also called an infection stone. They form large stones in the kidney that typically need multiple surgical treatments.
Kidney Stone Treatments
The treatment of kidney stones depends on their size and location. Stones under 4mm have a 90% chance of passing without surgery. Stones bigger than 6mm only pass on their own 20%. Stones typically get stuck at the narrow points of the ureter. The first spot is the junction of the ureter with the kidney (UPJ). The next hold up spot is midway toward the bladder where the blood vessels to the legs cross the ureter. The narrowest spot is at the junction of the bladder with the ureter (UVJ). When stones get stuck here the symptoms of urinary frequency and burning are often experienced.
Medical or a conservative treatment may be decided upon if the stone is not blocking the kidney and pain is minimal. The most important medicines are water and time. 2-3 liters a day is a must. Medications to help with pain are often used such as hydrocodone and ibuprofen. Some people get relief by sitting in warm water such as a Jacuzzi or hot bath. Your urologist may give you Flomax to help decrease ureteral colic. A follow-up CT or X-ray will show if any progress has been made.
- ESWL (extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy). This is a minimally invasive treatment typically performed as an outpatient. Only IV sedation is needed to undergo ESWL. The stone is visualized on X-ray and shocked up to 3000 times over about a 30-minute session. This approach is ideal for Calcium stones up to 2 cm.
- Ureteroscopy with Lasertripsy. If the stone is lodged in the ureter or ESWL was unsuccessful, this is a highly successful approach. This minor surgery requires general anesthesia for about 2 hours. A fine fiber-optic scope is guided directly to the stone and a laser fiber is used to break the stone. A stent is usually placed in the ureter afterward and will be removed in one week in the office.
- Percutaneous Nephrostolithotomy (PCNL). This is a major but closed operation requiring one or two days of admission to the hospital. This approach is best for large stones measuring more than 2 cm. A small tube is placed directly in the kidney to remove large amounts of stone.
- Open Surgery. Open surgery is rarely performed for stones anymore. Only if there is severe kidney damage or anatomic abnormalities should open surgery be offered.
Kidney Stone FAQs
How Long Does It Take to Flush Out a Kidney Stone?
Stones smaller than 4 millimeters pass on their own 80 percent of the time. They take an average of 31 days to pass. Stones that are 4–6 mm are more likely to require some sort of treatment, but around 60 percent pass naturally. This takes an average of 45 days.
What Dissolves Kidney Stones Fast?
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid which helps dissolve kidney stones. In addition to flushing out the kidneys, apple cider vinegar can also decrease any pain caused by the stones. In addition, water and lemon juice can help flush the stones and prevent future kidney stones.
How Will I Know When a Kidney Stone Has Passed?
As stones move into your ureters — the thin tubes that allow urine to pass from your kidneys to your bladder — signs and symptoms can result. Signs and symptoms of kidney stones being passed can include severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and blood in your urine.
Which Fruits Are Good for Preventing Kidney Stones?
Citrus fruit, and their juice, can help reduce or block the formation of stones due to naturally occurring citrate. Good sources of citrus include lemons, oranges, and grapefruit.
How Long After Passing a Kidney Stone Does the Pain Stop?
Once it reaches the bladder, the stone typically passes within a few days. However, pain may subside even if the stone is still in the ureter, so it is important to follow up with your doctor if you do not pass the stone within 4-6 weeks.
Can Kidney Stones Grow Bigger?
Kidney stones can start small but can grow larger in size, even filling the inner hollow structures of the kidney. Some stones stay in the kidney, and may not cause any problems.
Is Milk Good for Kidney Stones?
Yes. Calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, and some cheese and oxalate-rich foods are beneficial for preventing kidney stones. This is because oxalate and calcium from the foods are more likely to bind to one another in the stomach and intestines before entering the kidneys, make it less likely that kidney stones will form.
What Does Passing a Kidney Stone Feel Like for a Woman?
They feel pain in their abdomen, lower back, or groin as the stone passes through the narrow ureter and beyond. That can also cause some gastric discomfort, which is centered in the upper abdomen and can be dull and achy or throbbing pain.
Schedule a Kidney Stones Consultation in Tucson, AZ
If you’re experiencing kidney stones and seeking effective relief, reach out to the Arizona Center for Vasectomy and Urology. Our clinic offers specialized services and is staffed by renowned urologist Dr. Peter Burrows, who is board-certified and experienced in treating kidney stones. Take the first step towards a solution by scheduling a consultation to discuss your treatment options.
To book your appointment, contact our urology clinic located in Tucson, AZ today. Call (520) 731-0600 to speak with our friendly staff and secure your consultation. Don’t let kidney stones hold you back—seek professional care and guidance to regain your comfort and well-being.