Do I Have Kidney Stones? Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.

Do I Have Kidney Stones? Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.
By Jeffrey C. Applewhite, MD, a Urologist on Staff at USMD Hospital at Fort Worth

About one million people in the United States are treated for kidney stones each year, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Disease (NIDKD). That's a lot of people in pain! How do you know if you're going to be one of them? Here's some information to put your mind at ease.

Common kidney stone symptoms

  • Extreme, sharp pain in the back or side that will not go away. Changing positions does not help. Pain can come and go.
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • A burning feeling when you urinate
  • Fever and chills if there is an associated urinary tract infection

Remember, each person may experience symptoms differently. Your doctor may perform a CT scan or a variety of X-ray tests to diagnose your problem.

Who gets kidney stones?

  • Although stones occur more frequently in men, the number of women who develop kidney stones has been increasing.
  • Kidney stones strike mostly people between age 20 and age 40.
  • Kidney stones can be linked to obesity.
  • Once a person develops a stone, he or she is more likely to develop additional stones.

How to treat kidney stones

Fortunately, most people can pass kidney stones without surgery. Your doctor will tell you to drink more water, and may prescribe medication to help move the kidney stones along and reduce pain.

If the stones don't pass on their own or if there are complicating factors, your doctor will explain your other options.

How to help prevent kidney stones

  • Drink more water
  • Drink less caffeine
  • Eat less salt and meat

Learn more about urologic care.

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