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Endourology and Stone Disease

Endourology is a specialist urological area that uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat kidney stones and other conditions. Our consultants insert slim, flexible instruments into the body to perform surgery without the need to create incisions. Most endoscopic procedures can be done on an outpatient basis. In addition to removing stones, consultants also evaluate the cause of kidney stone development and identify ways to prevent further stone formation. 

Men and women can both get stones or blockages in their kidneys, ureters, or bladder. Most will pass on their own although while doing so you may need pain medication to help with associated discomfort. Other times, surgery might be necessary to solve the problem.   

If your doctor has diagnosed you with kidney, ureter or bladder stones, you may meet with an endourologist. 


What are kidney stones? 

Kidney stones are small "pebbles" that form in your kidneys. They're made of salts and minerals in the urine. The stones may not cause a problem as long as they stay in the kidneys, but they can cause sudden, severe pain. This tends to happen when the stones travel through the ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder).  


Risks 

Kidney stones often run in families. You are susceptible to them if you don’t drink enough fluids, particularly water. Certain foods and drinks and some dietary supplements may also increase your risk for kidney stones if you consume too much of them. 

Several things can affect your risk for getting kidney stones. These include: 

  • Hydration: the most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Try to drink about 8 to 10 glasses a day to keep your urine light yellow or clear like water. 
  • Diet: diets high in protein and sodium increase your risk for kidney stones.  
  • Weight: being overweight can cause both increased calcium in the urine and insulin resistance, which can increase your risk for kidney stones. 
  • Medicine: some medicines can cause kidney stones to form.

Symptoms 

If kidney stones stay in the kidney, they generally don’t cause pain. However, if they move out of the kidney through the tubes of the urinary tract, their movement may cause symptoms. These include: 

  • Sudden, severe pain that gets worse in waves. Stones may cause intense pain in the back, side, abdomen, groin, or genitals. 
  • Nausea and vomiting. 
  • Blood in the urine. This can happen both with stones that stay in the kidney or with those that move through a ureter. 
  • Frequent and painful urination. This may happen when the stone is in the ureter or after the stone has left the bladder and is in the urethra. Painful urination may occur when a urinary tract infection is also present.

If kidney stones are small enough, they may not cause symptoms. 


Diagnosis 

Kidney stones may be diagnosed when you see your doctor with pain in your belly or side. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine you. Your doctor may do tests to help diagnose kidney stones and see where they're located.