It’s estimated that about one million people are treated for kidney stones each year. Ones that are small enough will pass through the urinary tract without being noticed. But patients may experience extreme pain when a larger stone tries to move through the ureter, bladder, or urethra.
“You feel like somebody is stabbing you in the back, you feel nauseated, it’s incredible. The pain is normally when the stone is moving around you have pain. When the stone is in the kidney itself and not blocking the system normally you don’t have too much pain,” says Dr. Meir Daller, urologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Treatment to remove of a kidney stone can range from surgery to the use of shock waves. But many people are opting out of those methods, looking for a non-invasive way to clear their system.
“Absolutely, I mean in the last 10 years or so, we moved to more and more medical therapy of kidney stones,” says Daller.
The use of drugs is helping many people treat their condition. Once a person develops more than one kidney stone, they are more likely to develop additional stones throughout their life. So a non-invasive approach may be a better way to manage frequent occurrences.
“We use a drug, its called alpha-blocker. Alpha-blocker is normally used for men with a large prostate, but for men and women it will open up the ureter. The ureter is the tube that drains the kidney to the bladder and as a result of that, it will aid in the passage of the stone,” says Daller.
The size, shape and location of the stone will determine the most appropriate treatment. For a small stone that recently began its decent to the bladder, medical management may the best route.
“We give medication to dissolve the stones, we increase fluid intake, and we give painkillers. Most stones will pass without any medical intervention,” says Daller.
Providing a relatively painless procedure for a painful condition.