Kidney Stones - Treatment, Removal, and Remedies

A kidney stone may cause a lot of pain and discomfort. When you arrive at Somerset Urological Associates, your doctor will determine if your kidney stone can pass on its own, without the need for surgery. Treatments to alleviate the pain include pain relievers such as a nonprescription anti-inflammatory medication. This will help manage the pain as the stone passes naturally. Your doctor will also advise you to drink plenty of water which aids in the passing of a kidney stone.

If that method is ineffective or your doctor determines that the kidney stone is too big for that treatment, medical therapy is the next step. Your doctor may prescribe medication to aid in the passing of the kidney stone. This medication is known as alpha blocker, which relaxes the muscles in the ureter, resulting in less pain and speeding up the process of passing the kidney stone.

More serious treatments are considered if the previous are ineffective. In some cases, the pain may be extremely severe or the stone may be blocking the urinary tract. In cases such as this, your doctor will most likely suggest a surgery to remove the stone. This is done to prevent the risk of infection.

A popular treatment used for kidney stones is shock wave lithotripsy. This therapy uses a machine called a lithotripter to crush the kidney stones. The patient is then directed to lay on a table above the machine. The lithotripter will generate shockwaves that pass through the patient’s body and break the kidney stones into smaller pieces. This allows the stones to easily move through the urinary tract, eventually exiting the body through urine. Patients prefer this method because there is a low risk for infection, it is non invasive, the procedure only takes about 1 hour on an outpatient basis, and there are very low incidences of complications. Side effects include tissue damage, scar formation, long-term loss of functional renal tissue, parenchyma bleeding, and mild to severe sub-capsular hematomas.

Another treatment option is Ureteroscopy. During this procedure a long tube-like instrument with an eyepiece called the ureteroscope, is used to find and retrieve the stone with a small basket or break the stone up with laser energy. The urologist removes the stone or, if the stone is large, uses a flexible fiber attached to a laser generator to break the stone into smaller pieces that can pass out of the body in the urine. The advantages of this procedure are that it is also non-invasive; it treats stones undetected by x-rays, and it allows complete kidney access. Side effects include the presence of blood in the urine, pain in kidneys, pain in bladder and urethra, stent discomfort, and puncturing or tearing the wall of the urethra or urinary bladder.