The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

November 17, 2013

Treatment for kidney stones depends on type and cause of stones


For uric acid stones, cutting back on the amount of protein you eat -- especially protein from animal sources -- may help prevent new stones.

Ask your doctor to recommend a dietitian you can talk with about a diet that’s right for you. He or she can review food choices that may lower your risk of new kidney stones and help you plan some sample menus to get started.

In some cases, medication also can treat kidney stones and prevent new ones from forming. Again, the specific medicine you need depends on the type of stone you have. Doctors often prescribe a thiazide diuretic -- a water pill -- for people with calcium stones. In addition, a citrate supplement may be appropriate for people with very low levels of citrate in their bodies.

Medications can help lower the amount of uric acid in the blood and urine for people who tend to form those types of stones. Struvite stones are associated with infections. In some cases, long-term use of antibiotics in small doses may help keep urine free of bacteria that can cause infection. Medicines can sometimes be used to lower the amount of cystine in the urine for people who have cystine stones.

If you develop larger kidney stones, you may need more invasive treatment. Procedures are available to break up large kidney stones into small pieces that can pass through your urinary tract. For very large stones, surgery is sometimes necessary to remove them.

Right now, the best step is to talk with your doctor about tests that can show what type of kidney stones you have. Once you know that, you can make a plan to help prevent and treat new stones. -- Vincent Canzanello, M.D., Nephrology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic is an educational resource and doesn’t replace regular medical care. E-mail a question to For more information, visit

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