Kidney stones are mineral deposits that lodge in your kidneys or ureters. No matter what they’re made of — calcium, oxalate, phosphate, or other minerals — kidney stones can be painful. Bigger stones tend to cause more pain and symptoms, but even small kidney stones can be excruciating until they pass or a urologist removes them.
Alex Lesani, MD, a caring and knowledgeable urologist, diagnoses and treats kidney stones of all sizes in his Las Vegas office. If you have a kidney stone, here’s what you need to know.
Water helps dissolve small stones
If you stay hydrated by drinking sufficient water throughout the day (based on how much you exercise and sweat), you can prevent kidney stones from developing in the first place. Drink at least eight 8-10 ounce glasses of water (i.e., two liters) every day to stay stone-free.
If you already have one or more small kidney stones that cause symptoms, though, water can also be a type of first aid to dissolve and pass them. Dr. Lesani recommends drinking about three liters of water per day to help your kidney stones pass on their own.
Even when you drink sufficient water, however, kidney stones don’t dissolve overnight. In fact, even small stones can take weeks to months to pass. In the meantime, Dr. Lesani gives you medication to control the pain and recommends regular check-ins.
He also advises changing your diet to eliminate foods that are associated with kidney stones, such as those high in purines or sodium. The DASH diet is a good choice for kidney health.
Larger stones need help
Unfortunately, if your kidney stone is large enough, it won’t dissolve on its own, no matter how much water you drink. Your urologist determines the size of your stone or stones with diagnostic imaging studies, such as X-rays and ultrasound. Therapy for large stones includes:
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
A completely noninvasive therapy, ESWL treatments send sound waves through your body to target and break up large kidney stones. Sound waves are completely safe.
We may give you a sedative or local anesthesia to keep you relaxed and pain-free during the procedure, which usually takes about an hour. Once the stones are broken into tiny pieces by ESWL, your body eliminates those pieces through the urine.
A ureteroscope is a small surgical tool that Dr. Lesani passes up your ureter to reach the kidney stone. He may also use a laser to help break up the stone, and then remove the fragments with a type of basket that’s attached to the scope.
Uteroscopic surgery requires no incisions and only takes 1-3 hours. We usually perform it in the safety and comfort of our offices. However, large stones may require a hospital stay.
Parathyroid gland surgery
If you have a problem with recurrent kidney stones, or if your kidney doesn’t function or filter well, Dr. Lesani may recommend a type of surgery in which he removes a dysfunctional parathyroid gland. He only recommends surgery in rare cases.
You don’t have to wonder if your kidney stones are small enough to pass on your own. Call us today at 702-470-2579 for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. You can also book online at your convenience.