Stone Disease


Stone disease occurs when chemicals in your urine become concentrated and form crystals in your urinary tract. It most often affects your kidneys, though it can also affect your bladder, the tubes that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder (ureters), or the tube that connects your bladder to the outside of your body (urethra). 

When these crystals – or stones – get stuck in any part of your urinary tract, they can cause severe pain, blockage and infection. Men are more likely to develop them than women, though lots of other factors can increase your risk, including dehydration, obesity and a family history of stone disease.


If you have stone disease, your symptoms will likely include: 

  • Blood in your urine (also known as hematuria)
  • Feeling the need to urinate frequently
  • Inability to urinate
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sharp pain on one side of your back or in your lower abdomen

Services & Treatment 

At Aurora, you’ll have access to urologists and endourologists, experts in surgery to treat stone disease. To get started, your doctor will ask about your symptoms. Then, he or she will work with you to create a treatment plan to meet your needs. 

Treatment options for stone disease include:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): Your doctor uses sound waves to break your stones into tiny pieces that you can pass easily when you urinate.
  • Percutaneous stone treatment/percutaneous nephrolithotomy: Your doctor makes a small cut in your back and uses tiny telescopes and surgical instruments to take out your stones.
  • Tubeless removal of large stones: This is similar to percutaneous stone treatment, but your doctor will give you an internal stent for draining urine instead of an external tube, which reduces your pain, the length of time you’ll have to spend in the hospital and post-operative wound care.
  • Ureteroscopy with laser stone fragmentation: Your doctor will use lasers to break the stones into small pieces and then insert a flexible device called a ureteroscope through your urethra to remove your stones.
You’ll have anesthesia or sedation for these procedures, so you won’t feel any pain.

Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes to help prevent stones in the future, such as eating lots of fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of fluids.

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