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Question
QUESTION: I was wondering would you please explain to me: wot is a kidney stone?

(P.S would you please try to give your answer in a easy way that I can understand)
Thanks

ANSWER: Cameron:

A kidney stone is a hard stone made of various chemicals that normally are present in the urine.  For various reasons, there may be a little too much of this or that and the chemicals in the urine start to crystallize. These crystals can then bind together making a larger crystal that becomes a stone when it is large enough.  The problem with stones is that they can try to pass through the urinary system but will get stuck if they are too big. When this happens, it causes obstruction of the urinary stream and intense pain.

You can find other descriptions and definitions online if this isn't clear enough.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I was wondering would you please explain to me: how do we get kidney stones?

(P.S would you please try to give your answer in a easy way that I can understand)
Thanks

ANSWER: Cameron:

Patients develop kidney stones when there is too much "stuff" or chemicals to pass into the urine than can easily dissolve.  This can be caused by not drinking enough fluids or by having an excess of some kind of urinary chemical.  It's not just one chemical so it gets a little complicated.

About 11% of the population will form stones; more men than women by about 2:1 ratio.  To avoid forming stones, we recommend drinking some extra water and trying to get the 24 hour urine total to about 1600-1800 mL.  (the average for most people is around 1300 so this is equivalent to 1-2 extra glasses of water a day).  

For people who are already forming stones, we recommend a 24 hour urine collection and specific kidney stone prevention testing and treatment.  The problem with this is that interpretation of the results is complex and treatment needs to be continued indefinitely even if patients don't feel any better or different.

I will be happy to send you some background information on kidney stones and the Kidney Stone Prevention Program we use here at Creighton University Medical Center.  Just send us letter with your name and address and ask for our patient kidney stone information packet and we'll be happy to send this out to you or anyone who asks free of charge.  Send your request to:

Stephen W. Leslie, MD
Director, Kidney Stone Prevention Program
Creigton University Medical Center
601 North 30th Street, Suite 3700
Omaha, NE 68131

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I was wondering would you please tell me: how can we prevent getting kidney stones?

(P.S would you please try to give your answer in a easy way that I can understand)
Thanks

Answer
Cameron:

The simple answer is to drink more water; enough so that your 24 hour urine volume is at least 2000 mL or 2 liters.  Next, try to minimize unnecessary salt and meat intake.  Finally, avoid the higher oxalate foods like nuts and green, leafy vegetables like spinach.

To be more precise, we would need a 24 hour urine collection and have it analyzed specifically for kidney stone prevention chemistries.  We can then recommend a specific treatment plan based on your particular chemical results.  Try to find a good urologist or family physician to help you with this.

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Stephen W. Leslie, MD

Expertise

Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.

Experience

Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

Organizations
American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Publications
Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Education/Credentials
Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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