Passing kidney stones can be excruciating. The good news though is that kidney stones usually don't cause any permanent damage if they're discovered in a timely fashion.
In some cases, you can pass a kidney stone by taking pain medication and drinking lots of water.
Urologist Dr. Michael Byrne with Retreat Doctors' Hospital describes the risk factors and scenarios that may require surgery if you have kidney stones.
"One would be a fever," said Dr. Byrne. "Those certainly change the ballgame and become a lot more serious. Agonizing pain. If the stone is simply too big. Anything bigger than five millimeters or about an eighth of an inch or sixth of an inch. Family history is high on the list of risk factors and not drinking enough water or keeping up with water if you work outside. Other issues would be some chronic diseases like diabetes. There are medications that cause it also and too much vitamin C."
Dr. Byrne says on days when the temperature is 10 degrees hotter than usual, emergency rooms and doctors' offices are packed with people in pain from kidney stones.
Retreat Doctors' Hospital also has a hotline to call - 804-560-STON or 560-7866 - to get information or find out in real time whether you need to seek medical help.
Kidney stones are diagnosed through cat scan, X-rays, and ultra sounds.