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Living in the Kidney Stone Belt

The south is known for its great cooking and sweet tea but did you know Southerners have a higher rate of developing kidney stones compared to the national average? Some researchers say it is in part due to poor diet and weather. The warm weather makes them more vulnerable to dehydration, which causes fluid loss and low urine volume that facilitates the formation of stones. Kidney stones affect about 2 of every 1,000 Americans each year.  About half of people who experience kidney stones will have repeat episodes unless they seek treatment.

Test Your Knowledge – Four Types of Kidney Stones:

  1. Calcium-oxalate stones – These are the most common type of kidney stone and is typically caused by foods with salt or oxalates (byproducts of certain foods), certain medications and even your genetics.
  2. Struvite stones – These affect women more than men. These stones can grow to be very large and may occur with a kidney infection. Surgical removal of these stones is often indicated.
  3. Uric acid stones – These stones are made of uric acid, a waste product that is passed out of the body through the urine. They may be caused by eating too much animal protein such as red meat and are more common in people with conditions such as gout and inflammatory bowel disease.
  4. Cystine stones – These are very rare, caused by a genetic kidney disease called cystinuria

 

Diagnosis: A detailed examination, detailed family history, blood and urine analysis. The following imaging test may be recommended: CT scan, ultrasound, or x-ray (all available onsite at our clinic).

 

A kidney stone metabolic work-up can help us determine the reason a patient is prone to producing stones.  Through this workup, we may be able to give dietary suggestions or daily medications to prevent future stones.

 

Treatment: Not all stones require treatment.  Stones that do not cause symptoms and are not at risk for damaging the urinary tract may pass on their own.  If a stone is too large to pass, the following treatments are available:

  • Lithotripsy: the breakup of stones by using shock waves.  No surgery or incision is required.
  • Ureteroscopy: placing a scope into the urethra, the bladder, and up into the ureter, to remove the stone
  • Percutaneous Nephrostolithotomy (PCNL): placing a scope directly through the skin, in your back, into the kidney to remove the stone (this is used for very large stones).

 

At Urology Center of Columbus we have the Kidney Stone Fast Track Program for patients experiencing the symptoms of a stone. If you call by noon, the patient will be seen that day. If you call after noon, the patient will be seen the next morning but every effort will be made to get them in the same day. The patient will be seen, evaluated and a plan for disposition made.

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