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Ureteral Stones

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is a ureteral stone?

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

What increases my risk for urinary stones?

  • You do not drink enough liquids (especially water) each day.
  • You follow a certain type of diet. For example, people who eat a diet high in meat or salt may be at higher risk for urinary stones. People who eat foods high in oxalate may also be at higher risk. Foods that are high in oxalate include nuts, chocolate, coffee, and green leafy vegetables.
  • You take certain medicines such as diuretics or calcium or vitamin C supplements.
  • You have a family member who has had urinary stones.
  • You have conditions such as obesity, a kidney or bowel disorder, or gout.

What are the signs and symptoms of ureteral stones?

  • Severe pain on your lower abdomen or groin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urge to urinate often, burning feeling when you urinate, or pink or red urine

How are ureteral stones diagnosed?

  • 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.
  • An x-ray or CT scan of your kidneys, ureters, and bladder 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.

How are ureteral stones treated?

  • 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 pain medicine may help decrease pain or help your ureteral stone pass. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take pain medicine.
  • Nausea medicine may help calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • A procedure or surgery to remove the ureteral stone may be needed if it does not pass on its own.

How can I care for myself at home?

  • 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 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 stone. Take the stone to your healthcare provider so it 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
  • Ask your healthcare provider about any nutrition changes you need to make. You may need to limit certain foods such as foods high in sodium (salt), certain protein foods, or foods high in oxalate.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have severe pain that does not improve, even after you take medicine.
  • You have vomiting that is not relieved by medicine.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You develop a fever.
  • You have any questions or concerns about your condition or care.

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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