Kidney Stones

Diet and lifestyle changes most likely triggered dramatic increases in kidney stone disease in the past two decades. With an 85-percent jump in emergency room visits due to kidney stones, the Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute Kidney Stone Center is here to help.

Kidney Stones Conditions Banner

Kidney stones can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Sharp, stabbing pain on one side of the back, under the ribs. The pain may occur every few minutes and last up to an hour.
  • Pain in the lower stomach, groin or genital area
  • Burning pain when you urinate
  • Blood in your urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abnormal color or smell to your urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate

Kidney stones might not produce any pain or symptoms, or can cause intense pain that sends you to the emergency department. At Hartford HealthCare, our emergency room providers work closely with the Kidney Stone Center team to help treat patients with kidney stones quickly to relieve their pain and avoid any permanent damage to the kidneys.


What Causes Kidney Stones?

There are different types of kidney stones and varied reasons why they form. Most are created by high levels of minerals and salts in the urine that collect and form stones.

Causes include:

  • Age
  • Medication
  • A diet that is high in sodium or animal protein
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Previous surgeries like gastric bypass
  • Medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and gout
  • Obesity or metabolic syndrome
  • Use of calcium supplements
  • Excessive use of antacids
  • Family and personal history of kidney stones

Low fluid intake, especially in warmer weather, which can lead to dehydration. 


Diagnosing Kidney Stones

To diagnose a kidney stone, the experts with the Kidney Stone Center use the following:

  • Physical exam and your health history
  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Diagnostic imaging such as low-dose CT scans and ultrasound

Treatment Options

At the Kidney Stone Center, treatment for kidney stones is tailored to each patient’s specific situation. Treatment depends on the location, size and density of a kidney stone. Not all will need to be treated. Many will pass on their own, or we can give you medication to help the body dissolve or pass the stone.

Some stones are too large or get trapped in the ureter, the tube connecting your kidney and bladder. If this is the case, treatment must be quick to prevent kidney damage. We may need one of these procedures to remove or break up the stone:

  • Laser fragmentation to break up the stones
  • Lithotripsy, which uses shockwave therapy to break up the stones. The tiny pieces of stone can then be passed in your urine, avoiding surgery. The outpatient procedure takes an hour or less, and you can return to normal activities within a few days.
  • Ureteroscopy, a procedure in which the urologist inserts a small, flexible tube through the urethra into the bladder and ureter and grabbing the stone. Larger stones can be broken up with a laser attachment and then removed. A stent is left in temporarily to make sure the kidney is draining properly.
  • Percutaneous and laparoscopic stone removal, procedures by which the urologist inserts a catheter through your side and into the kidney to drain urine and any stones. This takes about 30 minutes and is an outpatient procedure.
  • Our team specializes in treating large, more complicated kidney stones that cannot be effectively treated elsewhere. Our specialists partner closely with interventional radiologists and use percutaneous nephrostomy techniques to precisely place the tube and remove the entire stone.

Once you have had kidney stones, you are at increased risk of developing more. Our team of specialists at the Kidney Stone Center can work with you to prevent that from happening with changes to your diet and medication.


Find Out More

You can find more information about kidney stones and kidney disease on any of these websites.

Kidney Stone Center at The Tallwood Institute

The Tallwood Institute’s Kidney Stone Center draws on the expertise of urologists, nephrologists, dietitians and interventional radiologists to address your kidney stones and help you feel better.

Visit the Kidney Stone Center

Kidney Stone Center Team

Meet our World-Class, Interdisciplinary Team of Specialists and Nurse Navigators to help you and your family on your journey.

Meet Our Kidney Stone Team