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Kidney Stones, Ambulatory Care

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. Kidney stones can be made of uric acid, calcium, phosphate, or oxalate crystals. You may have 1 or more kidney stones.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Pain in the middle of your back that moves across to your side or that may spread to your groin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urge to urinate often, burning feeling when you urinate, or pink or red urine
  • Tenderness in your lower back, side, or stomach

Seek immediate care for the following symptom:

  • Vomiting that is not relieved by medicine

Treatment for kidney stones

may include any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • 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.
  • Medicines to balance your electrolytes may be needed.
  • A procedure or surgery to remove the kidney stones may be needed if they do not pass on their own. Your treatment will depend on the size and location of your kidney stones.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of liquids. Your healthcare provider may tell you to drink at least 8 to 12 (eight-ounce) cups of liquids each day. This helps flush out the kidney stones when you urinate. 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 healthcare provider so they can be sent to the lab for tests. This will help your healthcare providers plan the best treatment for you.
    Look for Stones in the Filter
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, and fish. You may need to limit how much sodium (salt) or protein you eat. Ask for information about the best foods for you.
  • Exercise regularly. Your stones may pass more easily if you stay active. Ask about the best activities for you.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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