Managing The Kidney Stones

Diagnosing Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are rarely diagnosed before they begin causing pain. This pain, called renal colic, is often severe enough to send patients to the ER (emergency room), where a variety of tests can uncover the stones. These may include a CT scan, X-rays, ultrasound, and urinalysis. Blood tests can help look for high levels of minerals involved in forming kidney stones.

The CT scan here shows a stone blocking the ureter, the duct that empties into the bladder.

Home Care for Kidney Stones

If a kidney stone seems small enough, your doctor may recommend you take pain medicine and wait for the stone to pass out of the body on its own. During this time, your doctor may recommend that you drink enough water and fluids to keep urine clear — about 8 to 10 glasses a day.

Treatment: Medication

There are prescription medications that can help the body to pass a kudney stone. Drugs known as alphablockers relax the wall of ureter. This widens the passage so a stone can fit through more easily. Side effects are generally mild and may include headache or dizziness. Other types of medications can help prevent new stones from forming.