Kidney Stones at Oregon Urology Clinic
At Oregon Urology Clinic, we recognize that kidney stones can cause severe discomfort and disrupt your life. Our multidisciplinary team of experts is dedicated to providing effective, individualized treatment for kidney stones and helping you prevent their recurrence.
Understanding Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are a common and often painful condition that affects millions of people. They form when substances in the urine such as calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus become highly concentrated. Due to this concentration, crystals begin to form, and over time, these crystals can join together to form a kidney stone.
Types of Kidney Stones
Understanding the type of kidney stone you have can help in determining the cause and treatment plan:
- Calcium stones: These are the most common type of kidney stones and are often in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a substance made daily by your liver and also found in certain foods. Less common are calcium phosphate stones. Diet, high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery, and several metabolic disorders can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine.
- Struvite stones: These stones form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection. Struvite stones can grow quickly and become quite large, sometimes with few symptoms or little warning.
- Uric acid stones: These can form in people who don’t drink enough fluids, those who lose too much fluid, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those with gout. Certain genetic factors may also increase your risk of uric acid stones.
- Cystine stones: These stones form in people with a hereditary disorder called cystinuria, which causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids (cystine).
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Kidney stone symptoms can vary greatly in severity and nature. These symptoms may include severe pain on one side of the back and abdomen, bloody or cloudy urine, frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, and fever if an infection is present.
At Oregon Urology Clinic, we use several diagnostic tests to diagnose kidney stones. These may include blood tests to understand the health of your kidneys and to detect an excess of certain substances that can form stones; urine tests to measure the levels of stone-forming minerals and substances; imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds to visualize the stones; and analysis of passed stones to determine their type.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Risk factors for developing kidney stones include dehydration, obesity, certain diets (high in protein, sodium, and sugar), digestive diseases (like inflammatory bowel disease), and certain medical conditions (such as renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism).
Prevention strategies typically include lifestyle and dietary changes. Drinking plenty of water is crucial to dilute the substances that can form stones. Eating less sodium can help reduce the amount of calcium your kidneys need to filter and thus reduce the risk of stones. Limiting animal protein and eating fewer oxalate-rich foods can also help prevent stones.
At Oregon Urology Clinic, we aim to provide you with the necessary knowledge to fully understand your condition, empowering you to be an active participant in your healthcare journey. Our dedicated team of experts is here to guide you through every step, from diagnosis to treatment and prevention.
Our Approach to Kidney Stone Treatment at Oregon Urology Clinic
We take a holistic and personalized approach to treating kidney stones. We recognize that each patient’s situation is unique, and we strive to provide a care plan that aligns with your specific condition, lifestyle, and preferences.
Diagnosis is the first step in our approach to treatment. We utilize advanced imaging technologies such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans, and intravenous pyelogram (IVP) to accurately detect and determine the size and location of kidney stones. A thorough understanding of the nature of the stones, including their composition, helps us develop an effective treatment plan.
The treatment of kidney stones depends largely on the size of the stone, its location, and the patient’s overall health. Our specialists are skilled in a wide range of treatments, from conservative management strategies to advanced surgical procedures.
- Conservative Management: For smaller stones causing minimal symptoms, we often recommend a trial of passage. This involves drinking lots of fluids to promote stone passage, pain management, and possibly prescription medication to help the stone pass more easily.
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): ESWL is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to break the kidney stone into tiny fragments that can then pass more easily through the urinary tract. It’s a common choice for small to medium-sized stones.
- Ureteroscopy: This procedure involves passing a thin scope through the urethra and bladder into the ureter or kidney. Depending on the stone’s size and location, it can be manually removed or broken up with a laser. A stent may be left temporarily to allow any residual fragments to pass.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL): PCNL is usually reserved for larger stones. During this procedure, a small incision is made in the back, and instruments are passed into the kidney to break up and remove the stone.
Beyond treating existing stones, we place a strong emphasis on preventing future stones. Depending on the type of stone, we provide personalized advice on diet and lifestyle modifications. These may include drinking plenty of fluids, reducing dietary sodium and protein, increasing dietary calcium, and possibly taking specific medications to help prevent certain types of stones.
After treatment, we continue to monitor our patients closely. This may involve periodic imaging tests to check for new stones and blood and urine tests to monitor overall kidney health and identify any changes that could increase the risk of new stones.
At Oregon Urology Clinic, our goal is to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by kidney stones and reduce the risk of recurrence. We’re with you every step of the way, providing advanced care and supportive guidance to help you regain and maintain optimal health.