Excruciating back and abdominal pain. Fever and chills. Nausea and vomiting. Painful, and sometimes impossible, urination. These are some, but not all, of the symptoms associated with one of the most painful conditions a human can suffer: nephrolithiasis, also known as kidney stones.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders (NIDDK), 10% of Americans will suffer from kidney stones at some point in their lives. Men are 80 times more likely to suffer than women. Once diagnosed, the risk of another occurrence increases. Those who live in El Paso, Texas, have an even greater risk of developing kidney stones due to dehydration caused by the hot, arid climate.
Nephrolithiasis is caused by the accumulation of mineral deposits within the kidney. What begins as small as a grain of sand came become as large as an inch, or more, in diameter. If the stone becomes lodged within the urethra (the tube through which urine passes from the body), serious complications may result. Some, but not all, of the complications can include: urinary tract infections (UTI), blood in the urine and decreased kidney function, which can lead to toxic buildup in the body.
Through a variety of tests, including urine samples and/or imaging, a board-certified urologist can determine whether or not you will be added to the one million people diagnosed with kidney stones every year. If so, then your doctor will determine the best treatment options available for you.
For those patients diagnosed with a mild case of nephrolithiasis, your urologist may determine that all that is needed is increased fluids and a change in diet, along with an over-the-counter pain reliever for discomfort. Patients with larger kidney stones and/or secondary problems might be referred for lithotripsy, a non-invasive procedure that uses shock waves to break up kidney stones so they can pass from the body. For the most severe cases, doctors may recommend hospitalization and/or surgery.
For more information on kidney stone treatment and prevention in El Paso, contact Rio Grande Urology at (915) 225-2020.