What Happens if You Leave a Kidney Stone Untreated?
Kidney stones are common and can affect virtually anyone, though some people are at a higher risk of developing stones at some point in their lifetime. While most stones are able to pass or be treated before they cause serious problems, some untreated kidney stones can lead to permanent damage and life-threatening complications. At Kasraeian Urology in Jacksonville, FL, board-certified urologists Drs. Ahmad and Ali Kasraeian have advanced expertise in the management of acute and chronic kidney stones and are proud to offer the most cutting-edge and effective kidney stone treatments available today. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what to do if you suspect that you have kidney stones, as well as what may happen if you leave your kidney stone untreated.
How do I know if I have a kidney stone?
Because kidney stone symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other conditions, it can be challenging to know whether or not you have a stone on your own. With professional imaging studies and other diagnostic tools, kidney stones can be identified, measured, and evaluated to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of kidney stones that may mean you need to be seen by a urologist include:
- Flank pain
- Back pain
- Flank/back pain radiating to the abdomen
- Burning on urination
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
Do all kidney stones need treatment?
In many cases, kidney stones can pass on their own. This is most likely when stones are 4mm or less in size. However, some stones will require treatment, including those that are:
- Greater than 6mm in size
- Do not pass on their own after 30 – 60 days
- Causing intense pain and other symptoms
What options do I have for kidney stone removal?
Depending on the size, location, and other characteristics of your kidney stone, Dr. Kasraeian may recommend one of the following nonsurgical or minimally invasive kidney stone treatment techniques:
- Ureteroscopy with basket extraction
- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
What happens if I don’t get a kidney stone removed?
Some kidney stones can stay in the body for years or even decades without issue, though most stones usually pass on their own or cause pain that is significant enough that treatment is undertaken before this time. In some instances, however, untreated kidney stones can block the ureters, causing a build-up of urine. This can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney damage, and even kidney failure in more serious cases. To minimize your risk of long-term complications, having your kidney stones evaluated and treated (if necessary) is one of the best courses of action.
How can I prevent future kidney stones?
Throughout your course of treatment, Dr. Kasraeian will help to identify the likeliest causes of your stones and recommend behavioral modifications and other measures that may help discourage the formation of subsequent kidney stones. These may include:
- Dietary adjustments
- Increased fluid intake
- Adjusting current medications
- New medications or supplements
With these tactics, as well as routine follow-ups and monitoring by an experienced urologist, you can increase your chances of remaining stone-free for as long as possible.
Keep your kidneys healthy with advanced kidney stone management in Jacksonville, FL
Kidney stones are considered one of the most painful experiences a person can go through – right up there with childbirth and heart attacks. Don’t let kidney stones keep you down any longer. Call Kasraeian Urology to schedule your private consultation with top Jacksonville, FL board-certified urologists Drs. Ahmad and Ali Kasraeian today, and take the first step toward a life without kidney stones.