Our team of urologists is here to provide treatment for all male urologic conditions, such as bladder infections, erectile dysfunction, cancer, and many others.

Kidney Stones in Men

Kidney stones, also known as “nephrolithiasis” or “urolithiasis,” are mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys. They often occur when there is a reduction of urine, or material within the urine that can cause stones. Men are twice as likely to experience kidney stones than women.

Kidney stones can sometimes be the size of a grain of sand, which makes it easy to pass through urine painlessly and without the care of a urologist. When the deposits are bigger, such as the size of a pea or marble, it becomes difficult to flush out of the body. Kidney stones of this size can become stuck in the ureter, which is the tube between the kidney and the bladder, and can be quite painful.

There are four different types of kidney stones:

  • Calcium oxalate stones – This is the most common type of kidney stone. Calcium oxalate stones form when there is a high accumulation of calcium and/or oxalate in the urine, low urine volume, or a low citrate in the urine.
  • Struvite stones – These stones, made of ammonia and magnesium, are linked to urinary tract infections. Struvite stones often form in patients with long-term bladder catheters.
  • Uric acid stones – This type of kidney stone develop due to a high uric acid in the urine. Patients with gout often experience this type of kidney stone.
  • Cystine stones – This stone is caused by a hereditary defect, and are rarely seen. Cystine stones form by an amino acid that is the basic unit of proteins.

Kidney Stone Symptoms & Diagnosis

Some kidney stones, known as “silent” stones, are small enough to be flushed out of the body with no symptoms, or stay within the kidney. If the stone travels through the urinary tract, the patient may experience few or no kidney stone symptoms. When the stone is larger and unable to pass painlessly through the ureter, significant symptoms can result, including:

  • Extreme pain in the side, back, groin, abdomen, or genitals. The pain can get worse in waves.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Blood in urine, which is also known as “hematuria.”
  • Painful and frequent urination.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Penile or testicular pain.

The diagnosis of kidney stones is highly dependent on the symptoms the patient is experiencing. Further imaging tests such as non-contrast CT scans, ultrasounds, or X-rays are performed to confirm a kidney stone’s presence.

Treatments for Kidney Stones

Kidney stone treatments are used for stones that do not pass as painlessly as a “silent” stone. With the intake of fluids, the majority of kidney stones will pass within 48 hours. Injectable anti-inflammatory drugs and narcotics may be used to minimize the pain.

There are a few kidney stone removal procedures that can be performed when the kidney stone is stuck in the ureter:

  • Ureteroscopy – The urologist will insert a ureteroscope into the urethra and locate the kidney stone. The kidney stone is then removed using forceps. Larger stones may need to be broken up with a laser before removal. If the kidney stone is stuck in the ureter, the ureteroscope can be used to push the kidney stone back into the kidney, and then broken up using lithotripsy. Although most patients can go home after a ureteroscopy, some stay in the hospital for 24-48 hours.
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) – Shock waves are used to break the kidney stone into pieces. This procedure allows the kidney stone to pass from the body with no trouble. Sedatives or local anesthesia may be used for this hour-long, out-patient procedure. If the kidney stone is larger, the urologist may use a stent to hold the ureter open during the passing process.

Urologists at Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona

In men’s urology, it is important to seek out care from medical professionals who understand this complex field. The urology specialists at AUUA provide the care and treatment a patient needs for kidney stones and other men’s urologic conditions. Call us today to schedule your appointment at one of our seven locations in and around Phoenix.