Sep 02, 2012
When I was a fifth year resident in urology, I woke up one night with a pain in my side. I thought it might be a gas pain, so I went to the bathroom, but on my way down the hall, the pain shot through the roof. I began sweating and felt like I was going to vomit. I squirmed around trying to find any relief, but nothing I did made a difference. I had treated hundreds of patients with kidney stones, but now, I realized, I was the one who was about to wind up in the emergency room.
My wife drove me to the hospital where I worked, and I greeted the ER director miserably letting him know that I thought I had a kidney stone. A fellow resident started an IV and I went to the CT scanner for films that confirmed a small stone blocking my right ureter and kidney. I was pumped full of morphine and Toradol, and about five hours later, I saw a little round black pebble hit the back of the urinal. The word “relief” does not begin to describe the sight of that stone.
After a full residency in urology at Massachusetts General, a fellowship in urinary stone disease at University of California San Francisco, and an American Foundation for Urologic Disease research fellowship in stone metabolism, I am now in private practice in Marin and Sonoma counties in northern California, where I practice general urology and sub-specialize in management of routine and complex stone problems and stone prevention.
Kidney stones are an incredibly common problem, with a lifetime risk in the US of between 10% and 15%. They are more common in men, and can be made of many different substances, although the most common is called calcium oxalate. There are many different causes for the formation of stones including, most commonly: heredity, diet, medications, or infection.
In the new MedHelp kidney stone forum I look forward to answering your questions about the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of stones.