Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, or urolithiasis, are solid particles formed from minerals and salts in the kidneys.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones crystallize from molecules normally found in urine, when there is too much of a given substance to stay dissolved in liquid. Most kidney stones are made of calcium compounds. The most common is called calcium oxalate, followed by calcium phosphate. The list of other materials includes magnesium, ammonium, phosphate, calcium carbonate, uric acid, and cystine, an amino acid.
One cause of kidney stones is drinking too little fluid on a regular basis. We need to drink enough water to produce about two quarts of urine per day. A diet too high in protein can also increase the risk of stones. When protein is broken down, uric acid is formed and removed from the blood by the kidneys. Too much uric acid can precipitate minerals and form stones. Too much sodium in the diet can cause increased calcium in the urine, raising the probability of calcium stones.
What are the signs and symptoms of kidney stones?
- Severe pain on one side of the lower abdomen or the flanks
- Red, pink, or brownish urine
- Nausea and vomiting
How are kidney stones treated?
Small stones generally pass on their own. Medications such as Aleve (naproxen) or Advil (ibuprofen) can be taken for pain. Alpha blockers such as Flomax (tamsulosin) and Jalyn (dutasteride and tamsulosin) can help stones exit the ureters into the bladder. Ureters are the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
Larger stones may be broken up with lithotripsy, a technique that uses ultrasound shock waves, or physicians can remove or break up stones directly under camera guidance, a process called ureteroscopy. In extreme cases surgery may be necessary.
Can I be treated for kidney stones via telemedicine?
Yes. QuickMD can treat simple recurrent kidney stones remotely by telemedicine and prescribe Flomax (tamsulosin) online to help you pass a kidney stone. Contact QuickMD today to get in touch with a doctor.
How much does Flomax cost?
The cost of Flomax ranges from $5 to $36 for a bottle of 30 capsules, strength 0.4 mg. To find the least expensive pharmacy near you, and to get a coupon, visit the GoodRX Tamsulosin page.