Kidney Stone Program

For more information, please call 304-526-4565

You may not realize you have kidney stones until you experience the most common warning sign ―the sudden onset of excruciating, cramping pain in the low back and/or side, groin or abdomen. The pain may come and go, and it may be so severe that it causes nausea and vomiting, along with other symptoms. When you are experiencing this level of discomfort, it's important to get the right kind of care and treatment.

The Kidney Stone Program

Medical Director C. Stephen Woolums, MD

The Kidney Stone Program at Cabell Huntington Hospital was established to provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones. Medical Director C. Stephen Woolums, MD, leads a multidisciplinary and multispecialty team of urologists and nephrologists working together with the Kidney Stone Program coordinator to provide individualized care of each patient. Our comprehensive approach to planning your care includes:

  • Timely appointments
  • A comprehensive metabolic evaluation
  • Analysis of the evaluation data
  • An individual treatment plan based on the metabolic evaluation, including a referral for appropriate pain management of kidney stones, fluid intake recommendations, diet modification as needed and medicine as indicated
  • Follow-up care to determine the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment plan

Who should get a kidney stone evaluation?

It can be very difficult to diagnose how your body makes kidney stones, but for some people, especially those with recurring kidney stones, it can be an important tool for planning treatment. You should be considered for a metabolic evaluation if:

  • you have a history of multiple kidney stones
  • you have a family history of kidney stones
  • you have concurrent medical conditions associated with kidney stones, such as primary hyperparathyroidism, gout or renal tubular acidosis
  • you have kidney stones that are formed from uric acid, calcium phosphate, cystine, etc.
  • you have large (staghorn) kidney stones or struvite stones

How can I get a metabolic evaluation?

Patients may be referred to the Kidney Stone Program at Cabell Huntington Hospital by their primary care physician. If you fit the profile and want relief from kidney stones, ask your doctor if you might be a candidate.

What are my treatment options?

Stones that do not pass on their own can be removed by one of the program’s board-certified urologists using one of the following methods:

  • Shock-wave lithotripsy: A machine uses sound waves to break stones into smaller pieces, it does not involve surgery but can still be painful passing the stone fragments.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: This special kind of surgery makes very small holes in your skin. The doctor passes tiny tools through the holes into the kidney and removes the stone.
  • Ureteroscopy: A thin tube goes into your body the same way urine comes out. The doctor uses tools at the end of the tube to break up or remove stones.

Learn more about kidney stones through this interview with Dr. Woolums. For more information about our services, please download this brochure.

About Kidney Stones

What is a kidney stone?

diet affects kidney stonesA kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in a kidney out of substances in the urine. It may break loose and travel down the urinary tract. Small stones may pass all the way out of the body without causing too much pain, while larger stones may get stuck in the ureter, the bladder, or the urethra. A problem stone can block the flow of urine and cause great pain.

How common are kidney stones?

In the US, about 10% of men and 5% of women will form a kidney stone. About half of them will get kidney stones more than once.

What are the symptoms?

Please call a doctor if you have:

  • extreme pain in your back or side that will not go away
  • blood in your urine
  • fever and chills
  • vomiting
  • urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
  • a burning feeling when you urinate

These may be signs of a kidney stone that needs a doctor’s care.

Can kidney stones be prevented?

Drinking lots of water helps flush away substances that form stones. Limiting coffee, tea or cola may also help. Your doctor will make specific recommendations based on your diet and fluid intake. Medicine may be recommended. With therapy, stones can be completely eliminated in many patients and decreased in most patients.

For more information or to refer a patient, please call the Kidney Stone Program at 304-526-4565.

  • Last updated: 08/01/2014
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