Kidney Stone Specialist in San Antonio, TX
Specializing in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Kidney Stones
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones can be very small and hard formations of acid salts and minerals that form on the inner surfaces of your kidneys. Normally these materials are diluted in urine, however, when urine is concentrated, they can crystallize and solidify into small masses called kidney stones.
While kidney stones cause no permanent damage, passing them can produce excruciating back and abdominal pain as they move from the kidney through the ureters (vessels connecting the kidney to the bladder). Knowing the type of kidney stones that have formed and why they developed is important in preventing the formation of new stones.
Risk factors for kidney stones include:
- Family history of kidney stones
- Sex – Men are more likely than women to develop kidney stones
- Frequent dehydration
- High protein, sodium, and sugar diets
- High blood pressure
- Digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or IBS
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
When kidney stones are microscopic, most patients don’t experience any pain at all. In fact, it’s not until the stone passes into the ureter that you’ll even begin to notice any symptoms.
The primary symptom that brings people to Dr. Vick’s urology office is severe back pain or pain in the groin and thighs. Other symptoms include:
- white pus or blood in the urine
- a severe urge to pass urine even if the amount of urine you release is less than normal
- a burning sensation or pain while you pass urine
- nausea or vomiting
How are kidney stones diagnosed?
Dr. Sammy Vick utilizes onsite tools like a diagnostic ultrasound to locate and evaluate stones. Ultrasound relies on high-frequency sound waves to find stones inside the kidneys. Blood tests will also show excess calcium or uric acid in the blood, indicating existing stones or the potential for development. For some patients in San Antonio, urine testing also provides valuable information such the excretion of certain minerals or the lack of protective elements that prevent stone formation naturally.
What are Kidney Stone Treatment Options?
If you have a kidney stone, depending on its size and location, Dr. Vick has a variety of tools to treat your condition which include:
- Fluid Intake and Dietary Changes: You may be able to pass kidney stones by drinking plenty of water (up to 2 to 3 quarts (1.9 to 2.8 liters) a day and by remaining physically active. Dietary changes may include adjusting one’s intake of sugar, sodium calcium animal protein, insoluble fiber and vitamin C. Your physician can make recommendations based on the type and cause of your condition.
- Pain Medication: During the course of passing a kidney stone, your physician may prescribe drugs to reduce or minimize the often time debilitating pain associated with the movement of the stones from the kidney into the bladder.
Medical Procedures for Kidney Stones
Kidney stones that can’t be managed or treated with dietary and fluid intake measures, because of their size or because of ongoing urinary tract infections or bleeding, may need more involved approaches. These include:
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): This common procedure uses ultrasonic shock waves to break the stones into very small particles that can be passed in your urine. Typically, a patient is immersed in a tub of water or lies on a soft cushion for the procedure.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: When ESWL is ineffective, or in conditions where a stone is very large, a physician will remove the stone through a small incision in your back using an instrument called a nephroscope.
- Ureteroscopic Stone Removal: When a kidney stone is lodged in the ureters, the stone can be removed with a small instrument called a ureteroscope that is passed directly into the ureter through the bladder. Besides physically snaring and removing a stone, the ureteroscope can also be used to direct laser or ultrasonic energy to break up the stone. These methods work well on stones in the lower part of the ureter.
- Parathyroid Surgery: When kidney stones are caused by overactive parathyroid glands, (located on the four corners of your thyroid gland) the cause is most often a small benign tumor in one of the glands. To correct this condition a physician can surgically remove the tumor.
Kidney Stones Expert in San Antonio
If you are looking for kidney stone specialist in the San Antonio area, contact board certified urologist Dr. Sammy Vick at (210) 616-0410 for an appointment. You can also schedule an appointment online using our secure form.