Kidney Stones


What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are stone-like lumps that can develop in one or both of the kidneys. They are formed by waste products in the blood forming crystals inside the kidneys. The crystals build up to form the kidney stones which the body will then attempt to pass through the urine, sending them through the kidneys to the bladder through a tube called the ureter.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

When the kidney stone gets stuck in the kidney or starts to pass down the ureter it can cause pain:

  • A constant ache in the lower back and groin
  • A constant ache in the testicles and scrotum for men
  • Intense pain in the side of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Pain when you urinate
  • Needing to urinate more often than normal
  • Blood in the urine

Kidney Stone Treatment

Our Consultant Urologists are based in clinics throughout Bristol and will be able to offer expert advice on treatment for your kidney stones. If the kidney stones are small then the best course of action may be to wait for the kidney stones to pass. We can advise you on methods of self-care so that you will be able to be at home and pass the kidney stones easily.

If kidney stones are too big to pass naturally it may be necessary to break them into smaller pieces so they can pass more easily. We offer state-of-the-art treatments to do this including extra-corporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) and laser treatment:

Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL)

ESWL is treatment we usually recommend. X Rays or ultrasound are used to pinpoint where the kidney stone is.  Shockwaves target the stone, breaking it into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces of the kidney stone can be passed through the urine more easily. This procedure sometimes needs to be done more than once  for it to pass. Recovery is fast and you will be home a few hours following your kidney stone treatment.

Laser Treatment

A kidney stone stuck in the ureter may require a ureterorenoscopy. A tiny laser on the end of a thin tube is inserted through the urethra (the tube urine passes through) and into the bladder. It is then guided up into the ureter and the stone is broken down gently by the laser beam. For the largest kidney stones keyhole surgery may be required to insert the laser directly into the kidney to break down the stone.