Kidney stones: What are your treatment options?
If you’ve been diagnosed with kidney stones (urolithiasis), you may have several options for treatment. These include medical therapy, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL), and ureteroscopy. A brief anatomy of the urinary tract The urinary tract includes kidneys (two organs that filter waste and extra water from the blood) ureters (two tubes bringing urine from each kidney to the bladder) bladder (organ that collects urine) urethra (a single tube through which urine in the bladder passes out of the body). The evaluation for kidney stones If your symptoms suggest kidney stones, imaging is often the first step in an evaluation. For many years the standard of care was a type of abdominal x-ray called an intravenous pyelogram (IVP). In most medical centers, this has been replaced by a type of computed tomography (CT) called unenhanced helical CT scanning. In some cases, such as when a person has impaired renal function or a contrast dye allergy, renal ultrasound may be used as an alternative. You will also have blood tests, including tests for renal function (creatinine, BUN). Your doctor may suggest other blood tests as well. A urinalysis will be obtained and if infection is suspected, a urine culture will be sent. Keeping kidney stone pain under control If you are experiencing the intense discomfort of kidney stones (renal colic), pain control is a top priority. A 2018 analysis of multiple randomized trials looked at differ...
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