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Ureteral Stones

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A ureteral stone is a stone that forms in the kidney and moves down the ureter and gets stuck there. The ureter is the tube that takes urine from the kidney to the bladder. Stones can form in the urinary system when your urine has high levels of minerals and salts. Urinary stones can be made of uric acid, calcium, phosphate, or oxalate crystals.

Kidney, Ureters, Bladder

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicine:

  • Alpha blockers may be given to help your ureteral stones pass.
  • Antinausea medicine calms your stomach and prevents vomiting.
  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

Tests:

  • Urine tests may show if you have blood in your urine. They may also show high amounts of the substances that form stones, such as uric acid.
  • Blood tests show how well your kidneys are working. They may also be used to check the levels of calcium or uric acid in your blood.
  • A noncontrast helical CT scan is a type of x-ray that uses a computer to take pictures of your kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Healthcare providers use the pictures to check for urinary stones or other problems.
  • X-rays of your kidneys, bladder, and ureters may be done. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. You may need to have more than one x-ray. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

Treatment:

You may need any of the following if your ureteral stones are too large to pass or do not pass on their own:

  • Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses shock waves to break up the stones. Pieces of the stones can then pass in your urine.
  • Ureteroscopic kidney stone removal is a procedure to remove your ureteral stone. A ureteroscope is put through your urethra and bladder into your ureter. The ureteroscope is a thin tube with a light and magnifying glass on the end. Your healthcare provider puts tools through the scope to grab small stones. Larger ones are broken into tiny pieces. These pieces will be passed in your urine in the next few days.
  • Open or laparoscopic surgery may be needed to remove your ureteral stone if other procedures do not work.

RISKS:

Ureteral stones can cause an infection. Ureteral stones can also block the flow of urine and lead to kidney damage or failure. Once you have had urinary stones, you are at higher risk of getting them again.

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.

© 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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