Kidney Stone Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I prevent stones from forming?

You can reduce your risk of kidney stones with lifestyle modifications, mostly with respect to diet. These include watching your salt and animal protein intake and drinking sufficient water. Although calcium consumed in foods is fine, supplementation may contribute to the formation of stones. Your doctor can provide specifics about this.

If you have a history of forming calcium oxalate stones, your doctor will likely advise avoiding foods rich in oxalate. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, tea, chocolate, and soy products.

Q: Can you treat stones with medicine?

Medicine may be helpful, depending upon the type of stone you have. A thiazide diuretic or a phosphate-containing preparation may help prevent calcium stones from forming. For uric acid stones, your doctor may prescribe medicine to keep your urine alkaline low. For uric acid stones, your doctor may prescribe medicine to keep your urine alkaline low.

Q: Are kidney stones hereditary?

For the most part, no. Cystine stones, which comprise a small number of stone cases, are due to a heredity disorder that causes people to excrete excessive amount of certain amino acids, leading to stone formation.

Q: Can you have kidney stones and not know it?

If the stone is still in your kidney, you may not feel it. In fact, if it is small enough to moves through your urinary tract and pass with urine and not any obstructions, you may be unaware as well.

However, when a stone travels to your ureter (tube leading from your kidney to the bladder), it will typically cause symptoms, which may include pain in your side, belly, groin, or back; pain while urinating; blood in your urine; vomiting; nausea; and fever.

Q: What procedures are there for treating kidney stones?

The Mount Sinai Hospital offers multiple kidney stone treatments. Lithrotripsy crushes the kidney stone into particles with a high-energy shock wave generated by a high-voltage energy source, so that the pieces can pass in the urine. Minimally invasive surgical techniques enable surgeons to fragment the stone with lithrotripsy and remove it entirely either from inserting instruments from the back into the kidney (percutaneous procedure) or through the urethra and bladder to the ureter and kidney (ureteroscopic procedure).


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Kidney Stones and Diet