What Are Kidney Stones?

Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses What Are Kidney Stones.

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Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses What Are Kidney Stones.
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Featuring Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist What Are Kidney Stones? Duration: 2 minutes, 35 seconds

Kidney stones are referred to medically as nephrolithiasis, the condition of having stones in the kidney. How they form is they’re actually the crystallization of minerals, and there are a number of different types of kidney stones, depending on what minerals came together to crystallize in the kidneys.

Sometimes, the predisposition to kidney stones is genetic. Your parents have them, and there are certain types of disorders that are passed on genetically.

There are certain conditions, for example hyperparathyroidism, that present with kidney stones in patients. Gastrointestinal illnesses can sometimes have it, and there’s a lot of different causes. And part of what we do medically is to try and find out what kind of a kidney stone it is, what caused it, because you want to try and prevent another one forming.

Once you’ve developed a kidney stone, in addition to trying to prevent new ones, you have to deal with the stone that’s there. How that is dealt with depends on where the kidney stone is and how big it is. And also how healthy you are, what other medical problems you have.

Small kidney stones will often pass on their own. The larger they get though, the more difficult they are to pass, and the more likely you’re going to need therapy to either remove the stones or break the stones into smaller fragments with lithotripsy, so that you then may be able to pass the stones on your own with less difficulty.

The surgical removal of stones can include going in through the urethra, surgically, and using baskets or other devices to pull them out. Occasionally stones have to be removed by an open surgical procedure if they’re very large, that requires the services of a urologist.

Fortunately in today’s world we are better at treating stones earlier, before they get very big, and extracting them and removing them from the body without having to have a major surgical procedure.

If you have symptoms of flank pain, blood in your urine or you think you have a kidney stone, discuss it with your family practitioner.

Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb