What Are Kidney Stones?

You’ve almost certainly heard of kidney stones before, if not dealt with one. Do you know what they actually are, though, or what they’re caused by?

Read on to learn more from our AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte team.

What Is a Kidney Stone?

A kidney stone is a hard deposit in the urinary system made up of a variety of minerals and substances.

The substances that combine into stones normally pass through your urinary system, but when they don’t, it’s because there isn’t enough urine volume, which causes substances like calcium, uric acid, struvite or cystine to become highly concentrated and to crystalize. We’ve listed the most common kidney stone symptoms below.

Common Kidney Stone Symptoms

  • Severe pain on either side of your lower back
  • More vague pain or stomach ache that doesn’t go away
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy

If I Get a Kidney Stone, How Can I Get Rid of It?

It really depends on the size of the kidney stone—sizes vary from the size of a grain of rice to the size of a golf ball. If a kidney stone is small, you will likely be able to pass it without requiring any real medical attention. If it is large, though, you will likely need medical assistance to have it removed from your urinary system.

If you believe you have a kidney stone, visit our AFC center. We will run a few tests to confirm the diagnosis and decipher what steps should be taken next.

Ways Kidney Stones Are Diagnosed

  • Blood testing. Blood tests may suggest that you have an excessive amount of calcium or uric acid in your system, which can indicated that kidney stones are present.
  • Urine analysis. The 24-hour urine collection test may reveal that you’re excreting either too many stone-forming minerals or too few stone-preventing minerals. Your doctor may ask you to collect two urine samples over the course of two days for this test.
  • Imaging. Urinary tract imaging testing may reveal kidney stones. Even small stones can be detected using a CT scan. Simple abdominal X-rays aren’t utilized as often as they have been in the past, due to the fact that they can overlook minor kidney stones.
  • Analysis of passed stones. If you believe you have kidney stones, you may be asked to strain your urine to catch passed stones. Your doctor will then use this information to determine what’s causing your kidney stones and form a plan to prevent future kidney stones.

Think you may have a kidney stone? Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC team today!