Our Houston area urologists treat a variety of conditions and illnesses

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can cause symptoms like severe pain in the lower back or side

Our Houston urologists diagnose and treat several cases of kidney stones every year. About 1 in 10 people develop a kidney stone during their life. When certain minerals and salts in the urine become too high, a kidney stone can form. Sometimes, these stones pass in the urine with no problem. However, it’s a different story if the stone gets stuck in the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. When this occurs, it blocks urine flow and causes symptoms like severe pain in the lower back or side. 

What are the risk factors and symptoms of kidney stones?

Certain factors can increase the risk of a person developing this problem. 

  • Low levels of urine caused by dehydration
  • A diet with too much salt, high fructose corn syrup or table sugar
  • Too many processed foods or excess protein
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure and gout

When kidney stones block urine flow from the kidneys, it causes spasms in the ureter and swelling in the kidneys. This problem can cause pain and other symptoms. 

  • Severe pain in the lower back or side 
  • Pain that radiates through the groin and lower abdomen 
  • Pain or burning during urination 
  • Cloudy urine that smells bad 
  • Red, brown or pink-colored urine 
  • Urination problems like needing to go more often or producing small amounts of urine 
  • Nausea, vomiting, fever and chills 

Patients should seek immediate help if they have blood in their urine, problems passing urine, severe pain or pain that’s accompanied by vomiting, nausea, fever and chills. 

Our experienced Houston urologists offer state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment

 Our highly trained physicians offer skilled services and comprehensive urology care. If our physicians suspect a patient has a kidney stone, our staff reviews their medical history and performs a physical examination. They may also order blood or urine testing as well as imaging tests like CT scans or ultrasounds. 

If the stone is small and isn’t causing severe symptoms, patients can usually pass the stones by drinking two to three quarts of water per day and taking over-the-counter pain relievers. If the stone is too large to pass, our physicians can break up the stone using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). If the stone is exceptionally large, they may surgically remove it.   

With proper diagnosis and treatment, most patients with kidney stones pass the stone and recover without surgery. Patients should contact our Houston urologists if they have symptoms of a kidney stone.