Is Your Kidney Health at Risk this 4th of July?

kidney health on july 4th

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. Celebrations on the 4th of July can put your kidney health at risk because of unhealthy eating habits, excessive alcohol consumption, and dehydration.
  2. Protect your kidney health by limiting your alcohol consumption, making healthier food choices, staying hydrated, and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun.
  3. Early detection and treatment of kidney-related conditions is important, so seek medical help if you suspect there is a problem.

kidney health on july 4thAs the 4th of July approaches, you might be planning a grand celebration with fireworks, barbecues, and a few rounds of beer. But amidst the excitement of Independence Day, have you considered the potential risk to your kidney health? 

Understanding Kidney Health

Kidneys, often underscored, are critical to our well-being. These bean-shaped organs, located on either side of the spine, are responsible for filtering waste products, balancing body fluids, and maintaining electrolyte levels in the body. However, kidney health can be compromised by conditions such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and chronic kidney disease, particularly when risk factors such as unhealthy eating habits, excessive alcohol consumption, and dehydration enter the mix.

Kidney Health and 4th of July Celebrations

And here’s the connection to the 4th of July. Celebrations are typically marked by an increase in these risk factors. The allure of barbecued meats, excessive desserts, and an array of alcoholic beverages can take a toll on our kidneys. The consumption of alcohol, while acceptable in moderation, can cause dehydration—a condition that burdens the kidneys.

There’s another culprit as well: the unhealthy food typically served at Independence Day gatherings. Foods high in sodium and sugar can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes, two leading causes of kidney disease. Moreover, exposure to the summer heat without adequate hydration can also impact kidney function.

Tips to Protect Kidney Health during the 4th of July

But fear not, for there are ways to protect your kidney health amidst the merriment. Limiting your alcohol consumption, making healthier food choices, staying hydrated, and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun are all active measures you can take.

Consider incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables in your barbecue spread to balance out the usual processed foods, and remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, don’t shy away from the shade; heatstroke can exacerbate kidney problems.

However, taking preventative measures does not replace the importance of seeking medical help when necessary. Symptoms such as persistent urinary problems, swelling in the ankles, feet or hands, blood in urine, or a marked decrease in the amount of urine should not be ignored. Early detection and treatment play a crucial role in managing kidney-related conditions.

Importance of Seeking Medical Help

If you’re wondering when exactly to seek medical help, the answer is simple: the moment you suspect there might be a problem. A urologist, a doctor specializing in diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system, can provide accurate diagnoses and treatment options.

As we wrap up, let’s remember the vital role kidney health plays in our overall well-being. This 4th of July, as you celebrate our nation’s independence, declare your own independence from harmful lifestyle habits. Prioritize your health above any fleeting moments of unchecked indulgences.

Located in the heart of Florida, the Advanced Urology Institute stands ready to assist you. As the largest urology practice in the state, they offer a comprehensive range of services related to kidney health. Their experienced team of urologists is equipped with the latest technology to provide effective treatment options suitable for each individual patient. This Independence Day, give yourself the gift of health by seeking out their unparalleled expertise in managing kidney health. Your kidneys will thank you for it.


Can kidney stones go away on their own?

Kidney stones that range from 0.5 to 4.0 millimeters in diameter can and often do go away on their own. Such stones pass easily in urine without causing pain as long as there is adequate water intake to increase urine flow and aid their passage. These stones pass on their own within a few days, though most will do so within 2-3 weeks.

Problematic kidney stones

On the other hand, kidney stones that are 5 millimeters or bigger in diameter don’t go away easily on their own. As they move down the urinary tract, they may get stuck and cause severe pain that may require narcotics for initial pain relief. 

Then as the stone continues to move down the urinary tract, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication) can be used to manage the pain. Drinking a lot of water may help to pass such stones.

With guidance and supervision of your urologist, you can stay at home and wait for kidney stones to pass on their own. But when in too much pain, you may need hospitalization for pain control and intravenous (IV) fluids to boost hydration and further help the stones to pass.

Medication to help bothersome stones pass

Kidney stones that are 5-10 millimeters in diameter may be problematic, but they still have a reasonable chance of going away on their own. To aid their passage, your urologist may prescribe the drug tamsulosin (Flomax), an alpha-blocker medication that relaxes the muscles of the distal ureter—the portion of the ureter right above your bladder. 

Relaxing the ureter helps kidney stones to pass on their own in urine over a period of 2-4 weeks. It also relieves discomfort associated with the stones. But tamsulosin is equally a well tolerated drug that increases the probability of passing a stone from home and without further medical intervention.

Of course, giving the drug does not guarantee that the stone will pass in urine. However, as long as there is no severe pain that needs hospital admission for a surgical procedure, the drug is great option for passing kidney stones from home. 

When is surgery the best option?

If kidney stones fail to go away on their own for up to 6 weeks, surgery is the best option. In fact, a timely surgical removal of the stones helps to avoid possible blockage of the ureter.

Ureter blockage can cause pain, problems with urination, blood in urine, and changes in the amount of urine produced. Also, if left untreated, a stone that is blocking urine flow can cause complications, such as recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI), hydronephrosis, and permanent kidney damage.

Equally, when kidney stones occur alongside a urinary tract infection, sepsis may develop. Since sepsis is a life-threatening condition, it may be necessary to have a tube (catheter) placed in the ureter or kidney to drain the infected urine.

Surgical interventions include:

  1. Shock wave lithotripsy

It is the least invasive outpatient procedure for removing kidney stones that fail to pass on their own. A urologist uses a machine to generate waves that are then targeted at the kidney stone with the help of imaging guidance. No incisions are made.

A stone is hit several times with the waves in a procedure that takes roughly 2 hours and with the patient under general anesthesia. In the process, the stone breaks into smaller pieces, which go away on their own in urine without much discomfort.

Shock wave lithotripsy is advisable for smaller kidney stones, 2 centimeters or less in diameter, but that are located high up in the kidney.

  1. Ureteroscopy

For kidney stones 1.0 to 1.5 centimeters in diameter, ureteroscopy is an effective option. The minimally invasive outpatient procedure involves placing a small, lighted tube with a camera at its tip—ureteroscope—into the urethra, then into the bladder, and further up the ureter.

A smaller laser device is then passed through the scope to help break down the stone. The resulting stone fragments are removed via a basket, a stent, or rubber tube passed through the scope. 

  1. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy and nephrolithotripsy

When kidney stones are bigger than 2 centimeters in diameter, percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy is the preferred surgical intervention. In both procedures, the urologist makes an incision in the back to create a pathway to the kidney. 

A nephroscope—a tube with surgical tools and a camera on its tip—is inserted through the incision. If the surgical tools are used to remove the stone, the procedure is called nephrolithotomy. But when the tools are only used to break up the stone, the procedure is called nephrolithotripsy. 

Through the nephroscope, the doctor administers a laser or ultrasonic device that vibrates at high frequency to fragment the stone. Then suction is passed via the tube to remove the fragments. The doctor may also insert a stent in the ureter to help with swelling and enable the patient to urinate.

  1. Robotic assisted laparoscopic nephrolithotomy

For patients with bigger, more problematic stones, robotic assisted surgery is a great option. During the procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen through which a laparoscope (a lighted tube with tiny surgical tools and a camera at its tip) is inserted. 

Using the surgical tools controlled by a computer console in the operating room, the doctor accesses and opens up the kidney to remove the stone.

Are you suspecting that you have kidney stones? At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer a range of surgical and non-surgical interventions to deal with kidney stones. 

For more information on prevention and treatment of kidney stones and other urological problems, visit the site “Advanced Urology Institute.”

7 Signs You Might Have Kidney Stones

An elevated amount of salts and minerals in urine can cause kidney stones. Also called renal calculi, kidney stones are hard deposits made of crystal-forming substances such as calcium, uric acid and oxalate, found in urine.  The stones vary in size, with some being too small, some a few inches across, and others large enough to take up an entire kidney. 

For smaller renal stones, there are usually no associated signs. The stones can travel from the kidneys through ureters, bladder and urethra without causing any problems.  And drinking plenty of water really helps in passing these stones. 

But for larger kidney stones, signs appear as the stones move from one part of the urinary tract to another.  An example is when a moderate or large stone moves from the kidney to the ureter. It immediately causes obstruction and produces agonizing pain. Such stones require a procedure, such as shock wave lithotripsy, to break up and remove them. 

So what are the signs that you might have kidney stones?

  1. Pain in your lower back, side, or belly

Kidney stones produce one of the most severe types of pain—comparable only to getting stabbed by a knife or pain during childbirth. The pain tends to begin when the stone moves into the ureter, causing a blockage and pressure buildup in the kidney. This pressure activates nerve fibers to send pain signals to the brain.

The pain starts suddenly and changes location and intensity as the stone moves. It also comes and goes in waves, with each wave lasting a few minutes, disappearing, and then coming back. The pain usually occurs along the side and back, below the ribs, but can radiate to the belly and groin area as the stone moves down the urinary tract.

  1. Tossing and turning

The sudden episodes of kidney stone pain last 20-60 minutes. But they are so severe that they don’t allow you to sit still. So you’re forced to move around, toss and turn, in order to find a more comfortable position.

  1. Burning sensation during urination

When a kidney stone reaches the junction between the ureter and bladder, it causes sharp or burning pain during urination. It is quite easy to mistake the stone for a urinary tract infection (UTI).  Of course, it is also common to have an infection alongside a kidney stone.

Apart from pain during urination, kidney stones can cause urinary frequency and urgency as they pass to the lower part of the urinary tract. That’s because a stone irritates the walls of the bladder and causes contraction, resulting in the urge to pass urine. You may find yourself running to the bathroom frequently or feeling the urge to go throughout the day and night.

  1. Nausea and vomiting

Kidney stones can cause obstruction of urine flow. This makes urine to back up, stretching or swelling the kidneys.  Eventually, this may lead to nausea and vomiting. 

Also, due to the excruciating pain associated with kidney stones, you may experience nausea and vomiting as one of the responses.

Equally, due to the sharing of nerve connections between the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract, the presence of stones in the urinary tract disrupts nerves in the intestinal tract, resulting in stomach upset. 

  1. Blood in urine

Kidney stones irritate the delicate tissues that line the urinary tract, including inside the ureter. As a result, there may be significant, microscopic, or moderate bleeding, which results in blood in urine (hematuria). 

So as a sign of kidney stones, your urine may look grossly red, pink, or brown. You may also have blood in urine, but in quantities that are too small to notice with the naked eye. In that case, a urine test may be necessary to detect the urine.

  1. Fever and chills

Though fever is not a common sign of kidney stones, it may occur when the stones block urine flow or if the stones cause conditions that allow for an infection.  Like fever, chills tend to occur due to an infection that arises as a complication of kidney stones.

When they occur, fever and chills are usually a medical emergency. And so, the obstruction should immediately be dealt with through a procedure such as shock wave lithotripsy to enable antibiotics to pass through the obstructed area.

  1. Smelly or cloudy urine

Urine that is healthy tends to be clear and without a strong odor, but turbid, smelly urine might indicate an infection. So, while foul-smelling or cloudy urine does not directly indicate kidney stones, it may point towards an infection that arises as a complication of renal stones.

Generally, more than 16-percent of people with acute kidney stones tend to have UTIs. And whether it occurs with or without fever, the combined presence of a UTI and kidney stones is a surgical emergency.

When should you see a doctor?

You should see your doctor when you have agonizing pain, nausea, vomiting, bloody, turbid or smelly urine, fever or chills. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention when you have pain that is so severe that you can’t get comfortable. For more information on kidney stone treatment, visit the site “Advanced Urology Institute.”

Can Dr. Samuel Lawindy provide treatment for large kidney stones?


  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy (PCNL) is a specialized procedure designed to remove larger kidney stones (2 cm or bigger) or complex stones, where minimally invasive procedures such as ureteroscopy and shock wave lithotripsy are not effective.
  • PCNL is performed under general anesthesia with a tiny incision made in the back of the kidney, using ultrasound or fluoroscopy guidance, and involves breaking the stone into smaller fragments with a laser or ultrasound, which are then safely flushed out of the kidney.
  • While PCNL carries some risks, such as injury to nearby organs, infection, and bleeding, it is generally a safe and effective minimally invasive procedure that provides immediate relief from symptoms and fast recovery times.

 A kidney stone that is 2 cm or larger in size causes more severe symptoms. Unfortunately, for such a large stone, the usual minimally invasive procedures such as ureteroscopy and shock wave lithotripsy do not work.

So you’ll need a more specialized procedure called percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy (PNCL).

PCNL is a surgical technique designed to remove kidney stones located in the kidney or upper ureter, where shock wave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy are not effective. Also, it is the ideal procedure for stones that are too large.

How is PCNL performed?

With percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy, a tiny incision is made through the back of the kidney directly to where the stone is.  To gain access to the exact location of the stone in the kidney or upper ureter, the surgeon relies on the guidance of ultrasound or fluoroscopy.

Once the stone is reached, the surgeon uses a power source, such as laser or ultrasound, to break the stone into smaller fragments. The resulting smaller pieces are safely flushed out of the kidney through an external tube or an internal stent.

Typically, your surgeon passes a nephroscope—a miniature fiber-optic camera—together with other small instruments through the incision and into the kidney area where the stone is located. These instruments allow the surgeon to see the stone and to then use high frequency sound waves to break it.

If the resulting pieces of the stone are removed via the tube, the procedure is called percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). But if the stone is broken up and removed by other means, the procedure is called percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL).

Depending on the position of the stone in the kidney, the surgeon will take 20 to 45 minutes to complete the procedure. The goal of the procedure is to remove all of the stone, so that no pieces are left to pass through your urinary tract.

When is PCNL recommended?

Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy or nephrolithotomy is used for:

  1. Larger stones, 2 cm in diameter or bigger
  2. Complex stones
  3. Lower pole renal stones, larger than 1 cm
  4. Irregularly shaped stones
  5. Removing kidney stones in people with infections
  6. Stones that have not broken up enough by SWL (extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy)
  7. Kidney stones in individuals who are not candidates for ureteroscopy

Is the procedure safe?

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy does have risks but is generally a safe, effective minimally invasive procedure. Most often, it successfully removes larger kidney stones and results in immediate relief of symptoms.

During PCNL, a hole is created in the kidney that should eventually heal without other forms of treatment. However, since the procedure is done around the back or abdomen, it comes with a small risk of injury to other nearby organs, like the ureter, bladder, liver, or bowel. 

Also, like other surgical operations, PCNL comes with some risk of infection and bleeding. And because all surgeries on the kidney have a relatively rare long-term risk of high blood pressure or reduced kidney function later in life, the procedure carries these risks and should be conducted by an experienced, specially trained urologist.

What is the recovery like after PCNL?

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is done under general anesthesia. So after the procedure, you will need a short stay in hospital to be monitored before you can go home. 

Often, an overnight stay in the hospital after the surgery is enough and you can go home the very next day. Recovery is fast and generally smooth. You should be off work for just a week. 

Safe, successful PCNL

At Advanced Urology Institute, we consider percutaneous nephrolithotomy one of the most effective techniques for stones larger than 2 cm in diameter. From our experience, patients leave the hospital stone-free after the procedure and are usually completely freed from any stone-related symptoms.

At Advanced Urologist Institute, we have a talented and skilled pool of urologists that perform the procedure frequently. For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones, visit the site “Advanced Urology Institute.”


So my name is Samuel Lawindy, I’m a board certified urologist at Advanced Urology Institute.

So if you have a large stone in the kidney, usually two centimeters or larger, minimally invasive procedures such as a ureteroscopy or shockwave will not work.

So a PCNL or long term is percutaneous nephrolithotripsy would work very well for that.

That is where the procedure goes through the back of the kidney, directly to where the stone is and we can break it up and pull those pieces out safely and it’s a one night overnight stay at the hospital and you go home the very next day and usually patients tolerate it very well.

It’s a good option for patients who have that stone, it’s important to recognize that it is done here and does not require a tertiary care center, we do take care of it here at this facility.


What are the Conditions We Treat at Advanced Urology Institute?

Are you looking for comprehensive, effective, and safe urology services in Florida?

Advanced Urology Institute is here for you. 

With a healthcare institure designed to provide excellent, compassionate, patient-centered urologic care, Advanced Urology Institute offers top-notch, life-changing, and life-saving urology services. 

Through our experienced board-certified physicians, we’ve become a one-stop center for evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and care for all types of urological conditions

We have well-equipped, thoroughly-resourced urology centers throughout the state of Florida, ensuring you can enjoy and access the highest level of care from a facility near you.

What conditions do we treat?

At Advanced Urology Institute, we use a multidisciplinary approach to help our patients diagnose, treat manage and recover from all urologic conditions. 

This includes prostate enlargement, urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, painful urination, kidney and bladder stones, erectile dysfunction, and cancers of the bladder and kidney, ureter, and testicles.

For the men, we offer diagnosis and treatment of:

  1. Enlarged prostate (BPH)
  2. Bladder problems
  3. Erectile dysfunction and male infertility
  4. Penis and testicle problems
  5. Low testosterone (low T)
  6. Peyronie’s disease
  7. Urinary incontinence
  8. Overactive bladder
  9. Vasectomy and vasectomy reversal
  10. Urinary tract infection
  11. Prostatitis
  12. Kidney stone removal

For the women, we diagnose and treat:

  1. Chronic pelvic pain
  2. Vaginal dryness
  3. Vaginal pain
  4. Pelvic organ prolapse
  5. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  6. Urinary incontinence
  7. Overactive bladder
  8. Interstitial cystitis
  9. Pyuria
  10. Kidney and bladder stone removal

Life-saving cancer care

We offer safe and effective state-of-the-art treatments, minimally-invasive surgical procedures, and palliative care for cancer patients who desire the highest level of cancer care. 

Our medical and surgical teams take a collaborative approach to treatment. Integrating expert knowledge from recent research and various innovations and specialties, we can ensure every patient receives the utmost care for the best possible outcomes.

We diagnose and treat:

  1. Prostate cancer
  2. Testicular cancer
  3. Bladder cancer
  4. Kidney cancer
  5. Urethra cancer
  6. Retroperitoneal tumors
  7. Soft tissue tumors

Wide range of revolutionary technology

Advanced Urology Institute boasts a friendly and supportive environment where providers offer urology services that integrate the latest technology in diagnosing and treating various conditions. 

As a result, AUI has an exceptional track record in diagnosing and treating urological problems and a reputation for outstanding outcomes for patients.

Some of the techniques we use include:

  1. Minimally-invasive incontinence procedures
  2. Da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery for prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer, female pelvic prolapse, and pediatric and adult urologic conditions
  3. Minimally-invasive prostate surgery
  4. Reconstructive bladder and kidney surgery
  5. Partial and total nephrectomy
  6. Endoscopic stone surgery, including percutaneous techniques
  7. Minimally-invasive endoscopic, percutaneous, and shockwave nephrolithotomy for renal calculi
  8. Urodynamics
  9. Penile implant surgery
  10. Testosterone replacement therapy
  11. Vasectomy and vasectomy reversal
  12. Sacral nerve stimulator (interstim)
  13. Botox injections
  14. Pediatric surgery, including circumcisions, hypospadias, and orchidopexy
  15. Cryoablation and cryotherapy for prostate cancer
  16. MRI fusion biopsies of the prostate
  17. Radiotherapy including brachytherapy, oncology services, and clinical trials

Safe, reliable, and effective urology care

At Advanced Urology Institute, we are committed to treating others as we would like to be treated. We value and prioritize the wellbeing of our patients and want to see them overcome their condition and live fulfilling lives. 

We offer urology services tailored to our patient’s needs and give safe, effective therapies that will deliver the best outcomes.

When you visit AUI, you will feel at ease and encouraged by the support you will receive.

We are committed to answering all your questions and providing you with the best information to help you make the best decisions about your health.

Call us today to schedule your consultation and find relief from your urological problem.

Kidney Stones Symptoms with Dr. Brian Hale

My name is Brian Hale. I’m a board certified urologist working with Advanced Urology Institute.

So patients who have kidney stones usually complain of flank pain, which is where the pain would be behind the lower ribs and sometimes it wraps around towards the front [and] down towards the groin area. Those are the most common symptoms, [sometimes] they’ll also have blood in the urine on our testing in the office.

Usually we’ll get an ultrasound or CT scan that diagnoses the stone, it’ll tell us the size and location. If the stones are smaller [about] less than 4 millimeters in size, ninety (90) percent of those times it will pass on their own. So on those patients, I give them a chance to try to pass the stone before we operate on them. When they’re bigger, they’ll be more than 6 millimeters in size, the less of a change of passing [the stone], less than ten (10) percent. For those patients, we look at the scheduling surgery for.

Kidney Stones: Risk Factors and Preventions

The prevalence of kidney stones in the United States has increased over the last decade. As many as 1 in 10 Americans have a kidney stone at some point in their lives, and every year more than half a million Americans go to emergency rooms for kidney stone related complications.

What are kidney stones?

A kidney stone is a small, hard deposit that forms in the kidneys. Stones occur when the urine concentration of crystal-forming substances—such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid—is more than the fluid in the urine can dilute.

They begin as small crystals and grow into larger masses (stones), which then make their way through the urinary tract. Unfortunately, a stone can get stuck on its way out of the urinary system, resulting in an unbearable pain that comes in waves until the stone eventually passes.

What causes kidney stones?

Genetics is one of the risk factors. If you have family members who had kidney stones, you are at a higher risk of having them yourself. Your risk is also higher if you have had kidney stones in the past.

Dehydration is another major cause of kidney stones, which is why more kidney stones occur in the summer. In fact, kidney stone frequency is known to vary by geographic location, with warmer climates having the highest rates of stone formation.

What you eat and drink makes a huge difference. Drinking enough fluids to make over two liters of urine a day reduces the risk of stone formation. Actually, as a rule, you should always check your urine for signs of dehydration. If your urine is dark or yellow, then you are not drinking enough fluid and run the risk of having stones.

Factors that increase dehydration will contribute to kidney stone formation. For instance, excess salt or sodium in food, such as in processed or fast foods, increase dehydration as the excess salt requires a lot of fluid to excrete. So reducing the sodium in your diet will minimize your risk of stone formation.

Matthew Truesdale, MD of Largo Bardmoor, FL

How do you know that you have kidney stones?

Kidney stones cause pain by getting stuck in the urinary system. Since the kidneys continue to make urine, which in turn can’t get out due to the blockage, the urine builds up, stretches the kidneys and leads to severe pain.

You will know you have kidney stones when you have severe, excruciating pain that comes in waves. The pain typically occurs in the back and does not get better with a change in position. Patients who have had kidney stones and also delivered children report that the stones are more painful than giving birth. In addition to pain, you may have fever, nausea, and even vomiting.

Kidney stones may require a trip to the emergency room if you have severe pain, nausea, vomiting, and a fever greater than 100.3 degrees. These symptoms constitute a urological emergency because they signal both a blockage and an infection. With the blockage preventing antibiotics from getting out via urine, you can get very sick, very quickly; hence the need for emergency care.

Emergency treatment with IV fluids at a hospital may be necessary if you are having nausea and vomiting to the point of dehydration. Emergency care is also appropriate when you have pain that cannot be alleviated by over-the-counter pain medicine.

What is the treatment for kidney stones?

The treatment for kidney stones depends on the size and location of the stone, and on the clinical stability of the patient. The most common approach is medical expulsion therapy—a conservative approach for healthy patients with stones that are small enough to pass on their own and with no fever or other signs of infection.
With medical expulsion, you are encouraged to drink a lot of fluid to help the stone pass on its own. You are also given medications to control the pain and to accelerate passage. If the stone is 5 millimeters or smaller (about half of your thumbnail), there is a 50% chance it will pass on its own and you will avoid surgery.

If you have severe pain, fever, chills and an inability to drink fluids, you may not qualify for medical expulsion therapy. In that case, a surgical procedure may be needed. There are two common surgical options: (1) ureteroscopy or laser lithotripsy, and (2) extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy.

Ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy are fancy ways of saying you go to sleep, a camera is inserted through your urethra to the stone, and a laser is used to break the stone into smaller fragments for removal. Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy means you go to sleep and sound waves are sent through your skin to fracture the stone into small pieces that can pass on their own in urine.

The advantage of shockwave lithotripsy is that nothing goes into your body, making it less invasive. However, the disadvantage is that the stone fragments still have to pass on their own, a process which can be painful and uncomfortable.

How do you prevent kidney stones?

1. Increase calcium intake

There is a misconception that increasing dietary calcium increases the risk of calcium oxalate stones. This is not true. In fact, eating more calcium rich foods, such as milk or cheese, ensures the oxalate in the diet binds to calcium. When oxalate binds to calcium in the intestines, it is not absorbed in the bloodstream and ends up in stool.

2. Reduce oxalate rich foods

Foods high in oxalate, such as beets, chocolate, tea, coffee, spinach, kale, rhubarb, nuts and beer contribute to stone formation. You may have to eat smaller portions of these foods alongside calcium-rich foods or avoid them altogether.

3. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water will ensure that substances in your urine are diluted and cannot form crystals. As a rule, strive to drink enough water to pass two liters of urine every day—which is drinking roughly eight standard 8-ounce cups per day. It also helps to include some citrus beverages, such as orange juice and lemonade, as the citrate in these beverages helps to block stone formation.

4. Reduce sodium intake

A high salt or sodium diet increases the amount of calcium in your urine and triggers stone formation. Excess salt also wastes the fluid you take as a lot more fluid is necessary for salt-water balance. Make sure to limit your daily sodium intake to 2300mg or less to reduce your risk of kidney stones.

5. Minimize intake of animal protein

Animal protein, such as red meat, eggs, poultry, or seafood, increases the level of uric acid in the body and may cause kidney stones. A high protein diet will also reduce your urinary citrate—the chemical in urine that prevents stones from forming. You can limit animal proteins or replace them with plant-based proteins.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer a range of treatments for kidney stones depending on the severity of symptoms and the type, size and location of the stones. We also run tests to find out why they form and give you advice on how to prevent them.

If you or a relative has had kidney stones, consider meeting with one of our urologists for specific ways to reduce your risk. For more information on kidney stone causes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and prevention, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Listen to the Podcast to learn more about Kidney Stones, Click here