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Talking to Your Doctor About Kidney Stones

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Resource Guide

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with kidney stones . By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Kidney Stones

  • What caused my kidney stone to form?
    • Do I have a medical condition that makes me prone to kidney stones?
    • Do things in my daily life—diet, exercise, stress—make me prone to kidney stones?

About Your Risk of Developing Kidney Stones

  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, how likely am I to develop another kidney stone?
  • Am I currently taking any medicines that might increase my risk of kidney stones?
    • I occasionally take antacids. What kind should I use?
    • I currently take a calcium/vitamin D supplement. Should I stop taking it?
    • I currently take a vitamin C supplement. Should I stop taking it?

About Treatment Options

  • What medicines are available to help me?
  • What are the benefits/side effects of these medicines?
  • Will these medicines interact with other medicines, over-the-counter products, or dietary supplements that I am already taking for other conditions?
  • Should these medicines be taken with food or on an empty stomach?
  • What foods should I avoid while taking these medicines?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that can help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • How much fluid should I drink each day?
  • How much coffee or tea can I drink to help meet my fluid quota?
  • I usually try to avoid drinking too much water because I sometimes have trouble getting to the bathroom on time. What should I do?
  • What changes should I make to my diet?
  • I had a calcium-containing stone. Can I still eat dairy foods? How about calcium supplements?
  • I usually eat either beef or chicken for dinner. How much of these foods can I eat?
  • Can I use salt in cooking and at the table? What about a salt substitute?
  • What foods should I eat—or not eat—to make my urine less acidic?

About Outlook

  • How will I know that my prevention or treatment program is effective?
  • Can I tell that a stone is forming before it causes pain?
  • Can recurring kidney stones cause permanent damage to my kidneys?

References:

Kidney stones and ureteral stones. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=148. Accessed April 16, 2013.

Kidney stones in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults. Updated January 28, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2013.



Last reviewed March 2014 by Adrienne Carmack, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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