The ureters are the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder. A ureteral stone is a hard, solid collection of minerals and salts that occurs in a ureter. This mass may or may not have originated in the kidney. When a ureteral stone is small, it will likely pass through the urinary tract without any complications. However, when it is larger, it can obstruct the flow of urine and cause problems.
There are certain situations and conditions that can put you at an increased risk for developing ureteral stones, including:
- Chronic bowel inflammation
- Cystic kidney disease
- Family history of ureteral stones
- Having undergone an intestinal bypass operation (surgical weight loss procedure in which a portion of the digestive system is rerouted)
- Having undergone an ostomy surgery (surgical procedure in which a portion of the colon or rectum is removed and the remaining colon is attached directly to the abdominal wall for emptying)
- Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Signs and symptoms of ureteral stones include:
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Cramping in the lower abdomen and groin
- Extreme pain during urination
- Increased urinary frequency
- Unable to urinate (due to blocked urine flow)
- Urine that is pink in color, due to the presence of blood
Increasing Fluid Intake
Your doctor may recommend you drink two to three quarts of water daily to try to help the stone pass on its own.
Your urologist may prescribe pain or antibiotic medication while the stone is passing, as well as medicine to control acid in the urine to decrease the likelihood of recurrent stones.
If your stone has not passed on its own and it is causing you pain and blocking your urine flow, your specialist will likely recommend a surgical procedure to remove the stone.
Your doctor may take a sample of your urine to look for high concentrations of minerals that may be related to ureteral stones.
Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
Your urologist may order a CT scan of your urinary tract, which can help them visually check for stones.
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