If you think you might have kidney stones, there are several tests you may need to undergo to have them diagnosed. It is important to seek a professional diagnosis as you need to know what type of stones you have and how large they are.
If stones are particularly large, they can cause a range of problems. This means they may need to be removed, rather than waiting for them to pass on their own. So, how are kidney stones diagnosed? Read on to find out more about the diagnostic process.
Discussing Your Symptoms and Medical History
The first thing your doctor will want to know before they can make a diagnosis, is your symptoms and medical history. This will help them establish whether kidney stones could be the main culprit or whether your symptoms point to something else.
Your medical history will help them to determine your risk factors for the condition.
For example, if you have a personal or family history of kidney stones, it will increase your risk of developing them.
Blood and Urine Testing
If the doctor suspects you may have kidney stones after your initial assessment, various tests may be required. Blood and urine testing are the most common types carried out.
A blood test can help to determine how much calcium or uric acid is contained within the blood. It also helps to see the condition of the kidneys and whether they are functioning correctly.
A urine test can reveal whether you are passing too few or too many stone-forming and preventing substances. You may need to provide two urine samples within two consecutive days. They are 24-hour tests so you may need to wait for results.
If blood and urine tests point towards kidney stones, imaging tests may then be required. A CT scan may be provided to detect even the smallest of kidney stones. This type of test has largely replaced the abdominal x-ray tests. This is because x-rays don’t always detect smaller stones.
Sometimes, ultrasound scans may also be used to detect the presence of kidney stones. However, CT scans tend to be the most popular option.
Analyzing the Stones You Have Passed
If kidney stones are detected, the doctor may want to analyze stones that have been passed. This is done by urinating over a strainer. The strainer will catch small stones and they can then be sent for lab analysis to determine the type of stones you are dealing with.
By determining the type and size of the stones you have, the doctor can use it to determine the cause. You can then use the cause to prevent future stones from developing.
The tests your doctor carries out may vary, but they typically include the ones mentioned above. Diagnosing kidney stones isn’t an invasive process. You should also get the results back quite quickly. In most cases, they won’t require treatment. However, your doctor will discuss this with you, particularly if you are experiencing severe pain.