Kidney Stones

Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists

Located in Bellingham, WA - Serving the Pacific Northwest

It’s estimated that 1 in 8 people experience the pain of kidney stones at some point in their life. And when you’ve had one, your odds of a recurrence are 50% after five years and 80% after 10 years. Schedule a visit today with one of the kidney stone experts at Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists in Bellingham, Washington. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms now, are worried about a recurrence, or want to find ways to decrease the likelihood of a recurrence, they can help.

Kidney Stones

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Stones that settle in your kidney or don’t grow too large might not cause symptoms. Once they begin to enlarge, multiply, or move into other areas of your urinary system, however, you may experience:

  • Pain in the side and back, below your ribs
  • Intense pain that comes in waves and moves into the lower abdomen and groin as the stone(s) travel through your urinary system
  • Painful urination
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent need to urinate but in smaller amounts than usual

If an infection develops, you might also develop fever and chills, and should seek immediate medical attention.

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that crystallize and clump together inside your kidneys. Understanding the type of minerals contained in your stone(s) helps the Pacific Northwest Urology experts identify the cause and prevent future occurrences.

Most kidney stones are calcium oxalate stones. Oxalate occurs naturally in certain foods and is made daily by your liver. A diet that is high in salt, meat, and processed foods can cause stones. Dehydration can also be a culprit.

Other kidney stone types include:

  • Struvite stones, which form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection
  • Uric acid stones, which are related to dehydration, high-protein diets, gout, obesity, and diabetes
  • Cystine stones, which form in response to a hereditary disorder (cystinuria) that causes your kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids

 

How do you treat kidney stones?

The health care experts at Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists have several options for treating kidney stones. Depending on the size, location, and your pain level, they may recommend medical expulsion therapy.

This treatment includes increasing fluids to help push the stone through your system, along with medications to ease your discomfort and relax your ureter, allowing the stone to pass more easily.

Other treatment specializations at Pacific Northwest Urology include:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
  • Ureteroscopy
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

And once they’ve collected and analyzed your stone(s), the providers develop a care strategy that helps prevent recurrence.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a kidney stone or are worried about a recurrence, schedule a visit at Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists today. Call or click the “online” button to get started.