Should I see a doctor for my stones?
August 23, 2007 8:38 AM   Subscribe

I seem to have had kidney stones continuously since January. Should I be going to my doctor? And how do you manage to collect them for analysis?

I had kidney stones in January. They passed, but since then I've had continual aches and dull, stabbing pains in the same general area, and have passed two or three stones since then. The pain isn't not the hospitalization-level excruciating as it was with the first kidney stone, and generally some ibuprofen or acetometaphin will take care of it if it's bad. But it's pretty annoying. However, my impression is there isn't much one can do to deal with kidney stones besides drinking tons of water or trying to collect them, so I haven't been to a doctor for the issue since.

Is this OK? I know that one can try to collect the stones for analysis, but how am I supposed to do that when I don't know when they'll come out? The first time I was on my period so it was impossible to tell. Other times I've been away from home or depositing the number two, which makes me less than excited about digging around in the toilet and then trying to find something to put the stone in. The first time around the nurse gave me a strainer, but am I supposed to carry a strainer around and pee into it for the next month or so in the hopes I'll catch something?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
See a doctor. My uncle had recurring kidney stones until he was prescribed something that stopped them from forming. I also understand that the stones could be a symptom of some other condition. Better safe than sorry.
posted by Bromius at 8:51 AM on August 23, 2007

I am a male so you collection method may vary, but I was given a strainer type thingy to pee through to collect the stones. What pissed me off (pun intended) was that when i brought the little stones in to the Dr. he was unconcerned about looking at them. I am not even sure he sent them out for analysis or what they were used for.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:21 AM on August 23, 2007

I've had a few kidney stones and each time the doctor has been pretty interested in looking to see what the stones were composed of, in order to figure out why I was getting them. However, I passed both of mine in the hospital since I was in debilitating amounts of pain.

Go to the doctor, if nothing else they will probably let you know why you're getting them (after a 48 hour pee test where you have to pee in a jug the entire time, everytime) and if it's something as simple as diet, you could possibly eradicate them from your life without having to dig around in a toilet bowl.
posted by banannafish at 9:33 AM on August 23, 2007

I'm male and prone to kidney stones, although for me that's meant about one every 5 years or so.

Definitely go to a urologist. They can help you figure out the kind of stone (catching one will help, so start using a strainer) and knowing that will help them treat you. I take a pill with meals that changes my urine ph and helps prevent the kind of stones I have from crystallizing. I've also made changes to my diet to reduce the accumulation of the particular substance that forms the kind of stones I get.

If you're having so many at once, that's alarming too. You'll probably also be referred to get an ultrasound to check out your kidneys so you'll know if more are on their way or if there are other problems.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:34 AM on August 23, 2007

And yes, I did the pee collection test too, like banannafish mentions.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:35 AM on August 23, 2007

Definitely go to a doctor. Kidney stones can cause all manner of kidney damage and there are any number of treatments out there as well as preventive therapies. A physician can also prescribe some pain meds; if what I have heard is true, kidney stones can be roughly equivalent to childbirth in the degree of pain they cause and there is no reason to suffer through either if you don't have to.
posted by TedW at 11:30 AM on August 23, 2007

there really isn't anything to add to what folks have already said. See a doctor...

Motrin was about the best pain killer for my eposodes...!
posted by HuronBob at 6:27 PM on August 23, 2007

Get a plastic strainer. Don't use the paper ones, they disengrate. There are four types of kidney stones, each of them caused by different foodstuffs and/or other factors. You really want to stop this from ever happening again, so yes, keep straining, every time. If you get a doctor like JonnyGun had, give 'em the boot and get a doctor that cares, that's what you're paying 'em for.
posted by user92371 at 10:01 PM on August 23, 2007

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