Health Tips Tuesday: treatment and prevention of kidney stones

The National Kidney Foundation reports that more than half a million people visit emergency rooms each year for kidney stones.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 12:56 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The National Kidney Foundation reports that more than half a million people visit emergency rooms each year for kidney stones.

Dr. Richard Brian Alexander, a specialist in endourology and stone disease at Baystate, spoke with Western Mass News about the symptoms and if they can be prevented.

What cause kidney stones and are they becoming more common?

Alexander: “Kidney stones are becoming more common. About 11 percent of men and nine percent of women will have. It’s not very clear what causes the vast majority of these stones. Some patients have a condition that leads to them, but most do not.”

What are the symptoms and when should you seek medical care?

Alexander: “These stones can sit there for years and not cause any problems until they start to pass. They pass through the tube which goes from the kidney to the bladder and it is incredibly painful. Patients will go to the emergency room when they have that. They may also have blood in their urine.”

How can you prevent kidney stones?

Alexander: “The most important thing is hydration. Your urine output should be about two liters a day. If you can stay well hydrated using beverages like diet lemonade, this is probably the best stone inhibitor.”

Are there new treatments for kidney stones?

Alexander: “We have a lot of treatments now. Treatments are much less invasive now. Now, it’s all done through a lithotripsy , which is used to break the stone. It’s done on the outside of the body, which is very simple and very well, or going through the urinary tract and going up and breaking pieces.”