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 or nephrologist).
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment:
- 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.
- Keep track of how much you drink and urinate during a 24-hour period.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or other supplements that you take.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember what you discuss with your doctor.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For kidney stones, some basic questions include:
- Do I have a kidney stone?
- What size is the kidney stone?
- Where is the kidney stone located?
- What type of kidney stone do I have?
- Will I need medication to treat my condition?
- Will I need surgery or another procedure?
- What's the chance that I'll develop another kidney stone?
- How can I prevent kidney stones in the future?
- I have 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?
- Do you have any educational material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- Do I need a follow-up visit?
Besides the questions you prepare in advance, don't hesitate to ask any other questions during your appointment as they occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Has anyone else in your family had kidney stones?
May 18, 2017
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- McKean SC, et al. Kidney stones. In: Principles and Practice of Hospital Medicine. New York, N.Y: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 21, 2017.
- What are kidney stones? American Urological Association. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/kidney-stones. Accessed Jan. 21, 2017.
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