Kidney Stone Disease
If you or someone you care about has ever had kidney stones, you know how painful this condition can be. Fortunately, the urology specialists at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester have advanced training and experience not only in treating kidney stones but also in preventing them.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
Kidney stone disease develops when minerals normally found in the body crystallize and form small, hard stones in the kidneys (and sometimes in the bladder). Not drinking enough fluids and getting dehydrated is the most common cause of these urinary stones. Diet, urinary tract infections and genetics can also play a role.
The Dangers of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can cause severe, stabbing pain in the upper back, abdomen, groin and testicles as they move through the urinary tract. They also can block the flow of urine, leading to infection and kidney damage.
If you would like to learn more about kidney stones, please visit our Health Library.
The Treatments For Kidney Stones Available at UMass Memorial
Fortunately, there are several treatment options for urinary stones, and they’re all available at UMass Memorial:
- Stones smaller than 5 to 6 mm may pass without treatment; the process may take four to six weeks and may cause considerable intermittent pain for which your doctor can prescribe pain medication
- Medications called alpha blockers can sometimes help stones pass
When these methods are not an option or are not effective, these treatments are used to remove the stones:
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)
- Percutaneous Surgery
Preventing Kidney Stones
Once you have a kidney stone, you are at an increased risk for developing future stones. Your UMass Memorial urologist will work with you to learn what you can do to prevent a recurrence.