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Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones Treatment in Santa Ana, California

At OC Urology, we understand the discomfort and inconvenience that kidney stones can cause. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of care and effective treatment options for patients in Santa Ana, California, and the surrounding areas. our urology clinic uses state-of-the-art technology and advanced treatment techniques, we tailor our approach to each patient’s unique needs, ensuring personalized care and optimal outcomes.

Whether you require medical management, minimally invasive procedures, or surgical intervention, our urologists in Orange County are professionals who have gained extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of urology through years of education, training, and practical experience.

What is a Kidney Stone?

Kidney stones are also known as calculi (plural), or calculus (singular).  When it is in the kidney, it is a renal calculus.  The tube draining the kidney to the bladder is the ureter, and a stone in the ureter is a ureteral calculus. It is estimated that 20% of us will have a kidney stone in our lifetime.  Of those who get a stone, 50% will reoccur.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones can run in families, but there are environmental factors for many patients.

Kidney stones are small, hard deposits of minerals and salts that form in the kidneys. Kidney Stones are caused by several factors, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Diet (too much oxalate, too much protein, or rarely too much calcium)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gout
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vitamin C (over 2 grams per day)
  • Calcium supplements if taken without food or if used excessively

Medical conditions such as gout, inflammatory bowel disease, and urinary tract infections can also increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Some medications, such as diuretics, calcium supplements, and antacids containing calcium, can also contribute to their formation.

How are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?

To accurately diagnose kidney stones, these urologists utilize the most advanced technology available, including imaging tests such as CT scans, ultrasound, and X-rays. These tools enable them to visualize the stones and determine their size, location, and composition. Our urologists can determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each patient.

Treatment of Kidney Stones

Small Kidney Stone Treatment

For small kidney stones, invasive treatments may not be needed. With a urologists direction, you may be able to pass the stones by doing the following:

  1. Drinking 2 to 3 quarts (which is the size a milk container you find in the grocery store) of water per day helps thin your urine and could prevent kidney stones from forming. If your doctor hasn’t instructed to do other wise, try to drink enough fluids, preferably water, to make your urine clear or nearly clear urine.
  2. Passing a small stone can cause pain. Your doctor will likely prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers to help with this discomfort.
  3. Your doctor may prescribe medication to help you pass the kidney stones. These medications are known as alpha blockers, and they relax the muscles in your ureter.

Large Kidney Stone Treatment

Sound wave technology to break up stones: Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy(ESWL) uses sound waves to create very powerful vibrations (shock waves) that break down stones into small pieces, which allows those broken pieces to pass much easier. The procedure typically lasts between 45 to 60 minutes and can cause some pain, but a provider administers a light sedation.

Surgery: When the kidney stones are very large, your urologist will suggest surgery. The name of the procedure is percutaneous nephrolithotomy (pronounced as nef-row-lih-THOT-uh-me) and urologists perform this procedure to remove the kidney stones.

Using a scope: A scope is a minimally invasive option that can break up or remove a kidney stone. To remove those smaller stones, your urologist may pass a thin lighted tube (ureteroscope) that has a camera that is passed through your urethra and bladder to your ureter. From there, the kidney stones is broken up or removed, and a stent is placed to help with swelling and healing.

Non-medical treatment options for most patients: non invasive, minimally invasive, and surgical procedures for kidney stone treatment and kidney stone removal.

In general, there are five options available to treat all urinary tract stones.  Kidney stone size and location is an important factor in deciding which treatment is best for you.

Kidney Stone Prevention

Everyone in the emergency room with a stone loudly proclaims “I will do anything to avoid another stone.”  In reality, very few people will stay on a prophylactic treatment program for many years.  Once they feel better, they stop therapy until the next painful stone.  The average person who passes a small stone without the need for a procedure (whether it is his first stone or it has been many years since the previous stone) will not benefit much from specific testing and treatment.  They are also unlikely to stay on any treatment recommended.

Kidney stone prevention is most important for patients with recurrent stones, multiple stones at one time or patients with very large or difficult to treat stones.  Testing includes a 24-hour urine collection, blood testing and chemical analysis of the stone if possible.  The possible treatments include diet changes (usually low oxalate diet or decreasing protein), citrate or magnesium supplementation and occasionally medication.

The information on this site is solely for purposes of general patient education and may not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical care. Consult your own physician for evaluation and treatment of your specific condition.

Schedule a Kidney Stone Consultation

If you are experiencing symptoms of kidney stones or have been diagnosed with kidney stones, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with our expert urologists. Contact our urology clinic in Santa Ana today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards effective diagnosis and treatment of your kidney stones.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Request an appointment with OC Urology today!