Kidney stones are just what they sound like: small stones that form inside the kidneys. They form when salts and minerals that are normally in the urine build up and harden.
Kidney stones usually get carried out of the body when you urinate. But sometimes they can get stuck on the way out (figure 1). If that happens, the stones can cause:
If your doctor or nurse thinks you have kidney stones, they can order an imaging test that can show the stones.
Each person's treatment is a little different. The right treatment for you will depend on:
If your stone is big or causes severe symptoms, you might need to stay in the hospital. If your stone is small and causes only mild symptoms, you might be able to stay home and wait for it to pass in the urine. If you stay home, you will probably need to drink a lot of fluids. Plus, you might need to take pain medicines or medicines that make it easier to pass the stone.
Stones that do not pass on their own can be treated with:
One simple thing you can do is to drink plenty of water. You might also need to change what you eat, depending on what your kidney stones were made of. If so, your doctor or nurse can tell you which foods to avoid. Your doctor or nurse might also prescribe you new medicines to keep you from having another kidney stone.
Urine is made by the kidneys. It passes from the kidneys into the bladder through two tubes called the ureters. Then it leaves the bladder through another tube called the urethra.
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