You may have heard stories of what it’s like to pass a kidney stone. You may be surprised to learn that some people can pass a stone by taking pain medication and drinking lots of water. But if stones get stuck in the urinary tract, painful complications can arise and require more invasive (but effective) procedures like surgery.

Kidney stones and their symptoms

Small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys, kidney stones can affect any part of the urinary tract — from the kidneys to the bladder. Often, stones form when urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.

Some of the main symptoms of kidney stones manifest in severe pain in your back or side below your ribs. One of the most common ways stones reveal themselves is through problems with urination. These can include:

  • Pain while urinating
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that smells differently than it normally does
  • An urge to urinate more often than usual
  • Blood in the urine that appears brown, pink or red

Be sure to see a doctor if these symptoms are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, chills or fever, which could indicate the presence of an infection.

Kidney stone treatment

Depending on the size of the kidney stones, treatment varies. Most small kidney stones don’t require invasive treatment. You may be able to pass a small stone by drinking plenty of water and taking pain relievers or muscle relaxers.

Removing or breaking up large kidney stones is often done via more invasive treatments. When large stones don’t pass on their own or cause bleeding, they can trigger kidney damage or urinary tract infections. Procedures to remove large kidney stones may include:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) – This therapy uses sound waves (which create shock waves) that break the stones into tiny pieces that can be passed in your urine.
  • Surgery – Using small telescopes and instruments inserted through a small incision in your back, your doctor can remove a kidney stone.
  • Scoping – To take out a smaller stone in the ureter or kidney, your doctor passes a thin lighted tube (ureteroscope) equipped with a camera through your urethra and bladder to your ureter. Once the stone is located, special tools can snare it or break it into pieces that will pass in your urine.

Credentialed, compassionate kidney care in South Texas

If you’re experiencing pain while urinating or any of the advanced symptoms of kidney stones, don’t wait to seek treatment. Kidney stones, left alone, can cause painful and serious kidney damage, even kidney failure.

At South Texas Renal Care Group, our team of board certified physicians provides leading edge care for chronic kidney disease due to hypertension, diabetes, vascular access management, dialysis or a kidney transplant. We are dedicated to helping the people of San Antonio and throughout South Texas get the utmost in quality kidney care with essential convenience.

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 210-212-8622 or click here to use our online form.