Kidney stones are a common issue for many people and can cause significant pain, especially if not treated right away. In fact, untreated kidney stones may lead to other complications, including infection or blockage in the urinary tract. That’s why it’s essential to see a urologist and stay informed on the best treatments for kidney stones as soon as possible!
Here’s what you need to know about kidney stones and when to seek treatment from a urologist.
What causes kidney stones?
A number of contributing factors can lead to kidney stones, such as:
- Health conditions
Some individuals are more prone to kidney stones and therefore have to take precautions to prevent them. Whatever the cause, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and see a doctor to determine treatments for kidney stones right away.
How do I know if I have kidney stones?
In some cases, a doctor may discover you have a kidney stone when you’re receiving a CT scan for something else. If this is the case, your doctor will advise you on the next steps, including when to see a urologist.
In other cases, you may develop any combination of the following symptoms, which can be signs of kidney stones:
- Severe, sharp pain in the side and back that may come and go in waves
- Pain in the groin or lower abdomen
- Pain while urinating
- More frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fever and chills, which indicate an infection
If you think you might have kidney stones based on these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. Don’t wait until the pain is too severe, and don’t assume you can perform your own treatments for kidney stones or pass them on your own. Kidney stones can be quite painful and can be a different experience for each person.
When should I see a urologist for kidney stones?
As soon as you’re diagnosed with kidney stones, you should see a urologist. Michael Bagg, MD, urologist at Rio Grande Urology, highlights the importance of early treatment for kidney stones. “We like to dictate terms to the stone, versus the stones dictating terms to the patient,” said Dr. Bagg.
- If you have an infection associated with kidney stones: Go to the ER right away. It’s important to get care immediately.
- If you don’t have an infection but are symptomatic: If your doctor has diagnosed you with kidney stones and the pain is manageable, see a urologist as soon as possible. At RGU, you can make an appointment at the STAT Clinic to be seen more quickly.
- If you have a history of kidney stones: Make an appointment at RGU’s STAT Clinic as soon as you recognize early symptoms.
When you make an appointment at RGU’s STAT Clinic, a urologist will look at your stones and health history to determine your treatments for kidney stones. “We want to see the disposition—the make-up, size, and location of the stone or stones—to see whether it can pass or if we need to do another type of intervention,” said Dr. Bagg.
Many treatment options are available for kidney stones, and your urologist will talk with you about which option might be best for your situation.
If you’ve been diagnosed with kidney stones or you think you’re experiencing kidney stone symptoms, call the RGU STAT Clinic right away to make an appointment.