Avera Medical Minute: What is a kidney stone?

Updated: Sep. 7, 2023 at 5:20 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - In some circumstances, a hard rock-like object can form within a urinary tract from minerals and salts.

Most kidney stones are made of calcium with calcium oxalate stones being the most common, but sometimes they can be made through uric acid, or infections. Even metabolic abnormalities prevent people from metabolizing certain minerals which can lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Symptoms from kidney stones can be described as pain in the lower back and can be likened to pain experienced from going through labor. That pain can travel to the front of the abdomen and can be associated with vomiting, fever, or nausea.

Dr. Abbey Gaske says if the pain cannot be relieved by over-the-counter medications or rest, it is something that would likely warrant a trip to the emergency room.

Preventing that whole process can be as simple as practicing good hydration habits. “Increasing the fluids, and decreasing the amount of salt in their diet. That salt is often hidden in the foods we eat, especially in the foods eaten outside the home,” Dr. Gaske said.

Kidney stones are quite common, and many people do pass stones spontaneously or through medication and aggressive hydration. There are some serious consequences if left untreated such as infection, which can be life-threatening.