WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Nephrolithiasis is also called renal calculi or kidney stones. Kidney stones form in the urinary system when the water and waste in your urine are out of balance. When this happens, certain types of waste crystals separate from the urine. The crystals build up and form kidney stones. You may have 1 or more kidney stones.
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
- Prescription medicines may be given to decrease pain or help your kidney stones pass. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take pain medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your PHP or urologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Drink at least 8 to 12 (eight-ounce) cups of liquid every day. This helps flush kidney stones through the urinary system. Water is the best liquid to drink.
- Strain your urine every time you go to the bathroom. Urinate through a strainer or a piece of thin cloth to catch the stones. Take the stones to your caregivers so they can be sent to the lab for tests. This will help your PHP or urologist plan the best treatment for you.
- Stay active. Your stones may pass more easily if you stay active. Ask about the best activities for you.
After you pass your kidney stones:
Once you have passed your kidney stones, you may need to do a 24-hour urine test. You will need to save all of your urine for 24 hours. Each time you go to the bathroom, you will urinate into a container. Then you will pour your urine into a larger container that is kept cold. You may be told to write down the time and amount of urine you passed. At the end of 24 hours, the urine is sent to a lab for tests. Results from the test will help your PHP or urologist plan ways to prevent more stones from forming.
Help prevent kidney stones:
- Drink at least 8 to 12 (eight-ounce) cups of liquid every day. Half of the liquid you drink should be water. Increase the amount of liquid you drink when you exercise or do activities that cause you to sweat. Also increase the amount you drink when the weather is hot.
- Ask if you need to make changes in the foods you eat. You may need to limit certain foods. You may need to limit nuts, chocolate, coffee, and certain green leafy vegetables. You may also need to limit meat and salt.
Contact your PHP or urologist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have trouble passing urine.
- You see blood in your urine.
- You have severe pain.
- You have any questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have vomiting that is not relieved by medicine.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.