Small kidney stones that don't block your kidney or cause other problems can be treated by your family doctor. But if you have a large kidney stone and experience severe pain or kidney problems, your doctor may refer you to a doctor who treats problems in the urinary tract (urologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared.
What you can do
- Ask if there's anything you need to do before your appointment, such as limit your diet.
- Write down your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to kidney stones.
- Make a list of all your medications, as well as any vitamins or other supplements that you take.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be hard to remember all the information, and a relative or friend may hear something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For kidney stones, some basic questions include:
- Do I have a kidney stone?
- What size is my kidney stone?
- Where is my kidney stone located?
- What type of kidney stone do I have?
- Will I need medication to treat my kidney stone?
- Will I need surgery or another procedure to treat my kidney stone?
- What's the chance that I'll develop another kidney stone?
- How can I prevent kidney stones in the future?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do I need to follow any restrictions?
- Should I see a specialist? If so, does insurance typically cover the services of a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Do you have any educational material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Do I need a follow-up visit?
Don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment when you don't understand something.
Mar. 17, 2012
- Worcester EM, et al. Nephrolithiasis. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2008;35:369.
- Kidney stones in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults/index.htm. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Diet for kidney stone prevention. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/kidneystonediet/index.htm. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/177428112-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
- Curhan GC, et al. Diagnosis and acute management of suspected nephrolithiasis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 26, 2012.
- Preminger GM, et al. The first kidney stone and asymptomatic nephrolithiasis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 27, 2012.
- Humphreys MR (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Ariz. Feb. 20, 2012.
- Anderson CF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 8, 2012.