Take my kidney stones — Please!

The pain of a kidney stone attack can be excruciating – and no one wants a repeat performance. It is possible to prevent kidney stones with dietary and fluid modification with or without medication.

According to Alana Desai, MD, Washington University urologist, “Kidney stone disease can be caused by a number of factors including heredity, systemic disorders, environment and diet. For example, a hot environment can lead to fluid losses via sweat and can contribute to risk of kidney stones, especially when access to adequate fluids and bathroom facilities is limited. There is also increasing evidence that obesity is linked to the formation of certain types of kidney stones.”

After this first kidney stone attack, most patients want to avoid a second. Depending on the patient’s history, this can be as simple as following a few fluid and dietary recommendations for stone formers in general — which includes a high fluid intake to produce over two liters of urine per day and a low salt diet. Depending on the urinary pH, a low animal protein diet may be recommended as well.

Dr. Desai suggests a full metabolic evaluation for those with a family history of stone disease, multiple previous stone episodes, systemic disorders or a solitary kidney.

After your kidney stone is removed or passes, it will be analyzed. These results, along with a blood draw and urine collection will be used to determine the best course of action to reduce the risk of future stone occurrences — this may include dietary modifications with or without medication.

Of all the recommendations listed above, increasing fluid intake is the most important behavioral modification one can do to decrease the risk of stone formation.

When you have an acute attack of pain, go to the emergency room. If the imaging (x-ray or CT scan) shows a kidney stone, or if you have a history of stones, ask for a referral to Dr. Desai.  Please call 314-362-8200 for an appointment.

Patients are seen at two locations:

Center for Advanced Medicine
4921 Parkview Place, 11th floor, Suite C

Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital
1040 N. Mason Road, Suite 122