David Rudnick, M.D.  
Petaluma, CA

Marin Specialty Care - Urology
Petaluma, CA
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Kidney stone doc

Sep 02, 2012 - 14 comments

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.

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by Cindy, Sep 05, 2012
We are delighted to welcome you to MedHelp, Dr. Rudnick!   We are so sorry that you suffered the horrible pain of a kidney stone.  However, as you reach out to answer questions and offer support to MedHelp members, you will be doing so from both a doctor and patient perspective.  We are all looking forward to this new forum!

Cindy Thompson

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by ChitChatNine, Sep 05, 2012
Dr. Rudnick -- Welcome to MedHelp!

Having had many kidney stones, I'm so glad you're here!!!   I know our members will have lots of questions for you, too!  Unless a person has experienced the pain and/or complications associated with a kidney stone, it is almost impossible to understand the symptoms/questions that one tiny (or big) stone can create!

Community Leader:  MSK (Medullary Sponge Kidney Disease)

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by MHcloud, Sep 05, 2012
Dr. Rudnick,

We are extremely fortunate to have you participating on MedHelp and addressing a condition which impacts so many Americans and others around the world! We look forward to collaborating with you and learning from you.

Rebecca Chiu

Avatar universal
by alita13, Oct 20, 2012
I am a 58 year old, female. In July, I felt pain on my right side waist and contacted my doctor.  After an x-ray, sonogram and CT Scan,I was dignosed with multiple (cluster) kidney stones on my right side. The larger measures 15 mm.  I was schedule for an operation in Sept. but canceled.  I started to take Stone Breaker and crossing my fingers hopping that nothing will happen before next month that I have another appointment with my general doctor.  I am planning to ask for a sonogram to see if I still need the operation or not. Can anyone tell me if this is a mistake?  PS.  I had to run to the ER in 1994,  2008, and what I think was an small one about a year ago.

Avatar universal
by alita13, Oct 20, 2012
One more thing,  I never had the chance to see the kidney stones in person

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by Bres69, Jan 22, 2013
My son has (per his Uro) thousands of stones in both Kidneys. They sent a blood sample somewhere to be tested for cancer, thereby scaring the life out of him and us, and then told him 3 weeks for results. I have dealt with cancer in my family, from ex-wife to both parents and know it does not take that long. However, he is being followed after the 3 weeks and I was curious why they mentioned Lymphoma to him. I am aware that is a common form of cancer, and I have experience with Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in an adult female at age 39, and I know that type is usually fatal and children normally present with it, not adults. My son does not smoke, drinks socially, works physically demanding jobs and now has this problem. The last trip he had to go to hospital to pass a few while they advised he had thousands in both. My question is, how do I handle this-would I be better off taking him to John Graham Cancer (we are in Louisville, KY) or leave him in the care of the uro, who just happens to be the same guy that totally screwed up my wife's sling but refuses to admit it? I guess I just don't trust that group. he also has blood in urine constantly and back pain. But he was involved in a car wreck which damaged his spine, and I was also curious if that could contrtibute to the stones problem. Sorry for rambling, but I am really worried. Thanks in advance for any help/information/resources.

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by citief, Feb 12, 2013
If a person with MSK starts on  potassium citrate, is it possible it might cause stones already in the kidney to loosen up and begin moving down the ureter.  I stated on Kcitrate and have been passing a lot of stones since then. Have had litho 3 time in 3 months. Are low oxalate diets helpful?  I have also been on this diet for 5 months.  Any info would be helpful.  thank you

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by doctora42, Mar 17, 2013
Dear Dr. Rudnick,
I am a 70 years old female waiting (impatiently) for the resolution of a kidney stone episode:
10 days ago, sudden onset of an episode of excruciating pain on right side of abdomen, accompanied by nausea and vomiting and bloody urine.  2 days later:  An episode of painless gross hematuria.
CAT Scan reveals 3 mm. distal right ureteral calculus just proximal to the UVJ causing minimal fullness of the right ureter. Ever since:  constant pressure in the lower abdomen (pelvis and groin), and a constant urge to urinate that makes me practically home bound.  On Flomax 0.4 mg. and hydration.   I use a strainer, and thus far – no stone.
1.  Is a 3 mm stone likely to pass on its own, if it has not passed already?
2.  How long can it take for a stone to pass?
3.  Anything I can do to expedite the process?
4.  How much fluids should I consume?
Please, guide...  

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by spoilher101, Jun 30, 2013
Dear Dr.
I thought i might had vasculitis, because my ankles really swell up, plus i have tons of liquid coming out of 1 eye, & other eye is puffy, & swollen. My ankles are so sore in morning, it is becoming difficult to walk. I went to foot doctor, & he told me it was excess fluid in my ankle.(i have cad) I went to the eye doctor cas i had double vision, & then all that liquid started coming out of my eyes. Eye doctor said it was my eye glasses, so i got a second opinion, & she told me i had cateracts, & a good candidate for glacoma. So, i called the first optomologist to re-scedual appointment, but i had to canel it, because i caught pneumonia. Finally got rid of pneumonia after 3 months!  Now, my eye vision is getting bad(only in 1 eye), so i called the doctor back up, but he "moved on?" OH, I also got my first UTI.(had no idea what was going on, till it was to late) SO, my ankles swell up so bad, if i sit, or stand for only a few hours. If i do not wear socks, i can go almost 6-7 hours before swelling shows up, but my eye is getting really bad, & still dripping, after he put eye blocks in. I decided to look up swollen ankles, & eyes, & a few sites mention kidney problems. I do have a good urolist, but i am so confused now, dont know if i need to see a kidney doctor, or a urolist? I told my PC, &even showed him photos, & swelling, cas he dint beleive me? This has been goin on over 5 months at least. My eye wont stop leaking, & i am worried my ankles might explode. My cardiolist just laughed at me, & said he would see me in a year an a half! I then made another appointment, & his nurse said she would also be there during my exam. Well, HE DID NOT SHOW UP?!! His nurse told me it was not a cardiac problem, but a vascular problem, but my PC, WOULD NOT MAKE A REFERRAL? I have 100 percent insurance that i pay for. My PC, says i am dislutional! This is a true story! I am not making it up. I do not know what to do, or what type of doctor i need to see? My PC, scedualed a back MRI.  OH, 12 years ago, i was told i had a pelvic kidney. I think that is where my back pain is? I was hoping, maybe you could tell me if i should worry about kidney disease. I do not care about my back. I am concerned about my ankles, & now my kidneys! I hope, & pray, u can help me with my concerns. Thank you. Steve

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by Brooklyn86, Oct 15, 2013
What does "droplet" mean on an IVP report?

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by daviesdds, Oct 26, 2013
I am 63 and have had 4 kidney stone episodes over since 40 yo.  The last was 4 years ago. A scan then showed more stones in my kidney.  I drink more water and don't eat beets much or rhubarb.  First episode may have been from eating Beet tops.  Now trying to pass medical for the FAA for becoming a pilot, they are holding up for more kidney stone information.  Would using Flomax and/or natural preparations such as Vesipur, Stone CLR or Kidney Complete help me eliminate.  My stones are Calcium oxalate. Thanks for any information.  

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by tonya_brooklet_ga, Sep 14, 2014
I'm a w f/m 46 and have suffered from kidney stones since I was 13 , I've been in and out of our local Hospital several times a year with stones , my Dr. Timothy Thaller in Statesboro Ga . has seen me on several occasions in the ER either with an infection or sever pain only to medicate me and send me home since I'm without helath insc until Dec 1 2014 . Story of my life .
I now find that and have for 3 mths when I wake up ( every single ) morning I'm having this cramping type severe pain radiating pain from my upper quadrant under the R rib area around to my R kidney then sometimes raiting to my lower pelvic area / I have Oxycone M365 to M134 Ketorolac to 314 Ketorlac to IP203        and even these do not relieve the pain I'm having / without helath inscurance the only thing I can hope for is relief until I have helth insc.             from that I understand , Dr. Thaller went in to get a 16mm last year and he couldn't find it ):         I hate taking pain med's yes but at this ppoint it is my only savior until Dec 1 . Any suggestions as to what medicne I could ask him to put me on for the pain and or anything I can take OTC myself to help . I am severly in desperate need of some type of releif until I can so somehting more .
Thank you
Tonya D. Bragg
Brooklet , Ga.

Avatar universal
by sid1237, Sep 09, 2016

I have 4mm upper ureteric stone stuck at left side. The first surgery was unsuccessful as stone stuck in the cell. The Surgeon put the stent in. The next surgery in a week.
What are the chances that stone would come out second time.


Avatar universal
by Lewielew, Dec 11, 2016
Hi i have recently had pains in my kidneys and went to the doctors.i had an x ray a ct scan and an ultrasound.no kidney stomes were found but i was told i have a build up of calcium.the docs put me on some antibotics for an infection and it did ease after the course but has now returned again.the pains are excrutiating at times but mostly are jist constant digging or sharp pains.this pain has also now moved to my pelvic region and my abdomen.the doctors advice now is to come back in a month and have more blood tests.could anyone shed aome light on what i should do next as i dont fancy putting uo with this over christmas.im also getting alot of trapped wind which relieves it for a moment.feel nausia and sick sometimes also.common symptons of kidney stones but none found on the scans.thankyou in advance.lewis☺

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