Treating Stones


“Stones” are actually accumulated pieces of un-dissolved salts and minerals in your urine, which normally either stay in your kidneys or pass out of your body when you urinate. Sometimes, however, stones will grow in size to the point where they can cause sudden, intense pain as they pass from the kidneys through the ureters (the tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder) to your bladder. Sometimes stones can block the flow of urine or cause bleeding. It is not entirely clear why some people develop stones more often than others, but we do know that a poor diet, especially insufficient daily fluid intake, can contribute to the development of stones. Stones are more common in young and middle-aged adults, and a person who develops a stone has a fifty percent chance of forming another one within ten years.

Symptoms and Treatment for Stones

Symptoms of a kidney stone can include intense pain in the back, side, stomach, groin, or genital area; nausea and vomiting; blood in the urine; or painful urination. In addition to taking your physical history and performing a physical exam, your urologist can perform a number of diagnostic tests to determine the type and location of your stones, including a CT scan, X-ray, ultrasound, or urinalysis.

Depending on the type, size, and location of your stone, treatment options can include simply taking pain medication and increasing fluid intake, to lithotripsy or surgery. Lithotripsy (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy, or ESWL) uses shock waves that pass through your body without harm but which can break up stones. Ureteroscopy involves passing a very thin viewing tool up your urinary tract. Your doctor can then locate the stone for removal or to break it up into smaller pieces. Both these treatments are performed on an outpatient basis and typically do not require a hospital stay. Sometimes, in conjunction with a ureteroscopy, your doctor may use a laser to break up a stone.

Preventing Stones

Depending on your type of stone, your urologist might prescribe certain medications to discourage the formation of new stones. Changes in diet can also help, including drinking more water, avoiding excess salt in your diet, and increasing fiber.


Academic Urology Locations

  • Brinton Lake

    Crozer Medical Plaza
    500 Evergreen Dr.,
    Glen Mills, PA 19342

  • Bryn Mawr

    919 Conestoga Rd
    Building 1, Suite 300
    Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

  • Center for Pelvic Medicine, LLC

    919 Conestoga Rd
    Building 1, Suite 301
    Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

  • Coatesville

    213 Reeceville Rd
    Coatesville, PA 19320

  • Glen Mills

    100 Maris Grove Way
    Glen Mills, PA 19342

  • King of Prussia

    211 S. Gulph Rd.
    King of Prussia, PA 19406

  • Media

    200 East State Street
    Suite 205
    Media, PA 19063

  • Paoli

    2 Industrial Boulevard
    Building C, Suite 120
    Paoli, PA 19301

  • Phoenixville

    824 Main Street
    Suite 301
    Phoenixville, PA 19460

  • Pottstown

    20 Sunnybrook Road
    Pottstown, PA 19464

  • The Prostate Center

    211 South Gulph Rd.
    Suite 200
    King of Prussia, PA 19406

  • West Chester

    915 Old Fern Hill Road
    Building B
    West Chester, PA 19380

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