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Kidney stones are small, hard pieces of crystallized material that take shape in the kidney. Your doctor may also call this condition renal lithiasis. Usually, kidney stones leave the body in the urine without problems. Sometimes, they can get stuck in the tube connecting the kidney and the bladder (ureter). If this happens, potentially serious and life-threatening complications, such as kidney damage and kidney infection, can occur.
Dignity Health’s emergency rooms in the Bay Area are equipped to treat all types of emergencies and are staffed by trained doctors and nurses who provide a full range of care. If you need to go to the ER for kidney stones in the Bay Area, use our Online Waiting Room to select your estimated arrival time at one of our Bay Area hospitals.
Kidney stones can occur in one or both kidneys. They begin as tiny specks and may gradually increase in size. Kidney stones are usually made of calcium, but can also contain amino acids or uric acid.
Risk factors for developing kidney stones include:
If a kidney stone is small or remains in the kidney, it may not cause symptoms. When a large kidney stone moves out of the kidney, it may cause stabbing, sharp, or severe pain in the lower back. The pain may spread to the groin or abdomen. Other symptoms can include difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, vomiting, nausea, and profuse sweating.
Small stones may pass out of the body without any treatment. To treat larger stones, doctors recommend drinking fluids to dilute the urine, which helps flush the stone. Medications to relax the ureters can also help the stone pass. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to keep you comfortable.
If the stone is stuck, you may need a catheter procedure, shockwave therapy to break up the stone, or surgery to remove it.
Trust your kidney stone treatment to the experts at Dignity Health’s four Bay Area hospitals — visit our ER in an emergency or Find a Doctor to make an appointment.
Dignity Health provides treatment and procedures to help pass kidney stones in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.