Kidney Stones 101: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Anyone who has suffered from kidney stones in Des Moines, IA, and West Des Moines, IA will tell you that they have never suffered from anything more painful. The professional team of kidney specialists at Iowa Kidney Physicians have the experience and expertise to provide the care that you require.

Your kidneys are the filter of your body. They remove waste products from your blood and produce urine. It is not a good thing when they are not working correctly and bad things can happen, including the formation of kidney stones.

Causes of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are the result of too much waste and not enough urine. Crystals form in your kidneys. About 80% of kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate mixed with calcium phosphate. They can be as small as a grain of salt or as large as a walnut. The larger ones will not be able to transition out of the kidneys, but smaller ones often make their way out in the urine. You are more likely to develop kidney stones if you don't drink enough water, have a family history of kidney stones, or are overweight.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

If you have a small kidney stone, it may pass out of your kidney without you ever knowing that you have it. The problem arises when it is a larger one. You may notice blood in your urine, pain when you urinate, pain in your lower back, urine that smells bad or looks cloudy, and fever and chills. 

Treatment of Kidney Stones

The first thing most people do to treat kidney stones is to drink more water and take OTC pain medication for any discomfort they may have. This is effective for small kidney stones. If you have larger kidney stones, there are other treatments available. 


Lithotripsy is a treatment that uses sound waves to blast kidney stones into smaller pieces that are then able to pass out of the body through urine. This procedure may be done under general anesthesia, which means that you will not be awake during the procedure. 


During this procedure, a tube-like tool is inserted through the ureter to remove the stone or to use a laser to break the stone up. 


Rarely, surgery will be required to remove a stone from the kidney. This will require a hospital stay after the procedure. 

Contact Iowa Kidney Physicians if you are suffering from kidney stones in Des Moines, IA, and West Des Moines, IA. Don't wait, give our office a call at (515) 336-6557 or (515) 243-3161 to make an appointment at either office.