This is a hard, solid substance that forms in the urinary tract. It often resembles a small pebble.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are located on either side toward the back, just below the rib cage. One of the main functions of the kidneys is to filter the blood.
Kidney stones develop when crystals in the urine build up in the kidney and form deposits. These deposits can lodge anywhere in the urinary tract, They are generally yellow or brown in color, can be smooth or jagged, and can range in size from tiny to as large as a pearl. Although natural chemicals in the urine normally prevent this build up from happening, those chemicals may be ineffective if you have:
Kidney stones are stones that form in the kidneys.
Some types of kidney stones include:
Kidney stones generally develop over time. They do not always cause symptoms. However, symptoms usually develop when a stone blocks the flow of urine or moves within the ureter. These symptoms include:
These symptoms can start quickly when the stones move in the ureters. They can also go away just as quickly if the stones are passed out in the urine or stop moving.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of kidney stones. (If your symptoms are severe, you may need to go to the emergency room or an urgent care facility.) They will perform a physical exam and may recommend some tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. These tests may include:
An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) may be helpful in special circumstances. However, it is no longer the first test done. This is because there are other effective options, such as ultrasound, that involve no radiation exposure.
If it is determined that you have a kidney stone, treatment will depend on your symptoms and the chemical makeup of the stone. Some treatment options include:
See a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of a kidney stone. These symptoms often require treatment at an urgent care center or emergency room.
Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you understand your action plan, your treatment plan, any possible alternatives, and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects).
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