North Charleston, SC – Berkeley County resident twenty-four-year-old Edwin Daws was on his way to work when he experienced what he called the most intense pain he’s ever felt in his back. “I didn't know what it was, but I knew I couldn’t drive any longer,” explained Daws. “I pulled over, still in a lot of pain, and threw up.” A short time later at Trident Medical Center Daws learned what caused the pain. “The doctor told me I had a kidney stone.”

Kidney stones are one of the most common and painful kidney disorders. About 10% of people will develop a kidney stone at some point in their lives. For many, stones become a chronic problem. People who get one stone are more likely to develop others. For Daws, kidney stones run in his family including his mother and grandfather.

Urologist Nelson Ploch, MD with Palmetto Adult and Children’s Urology and a medical staff member at Trident Medical Center says it’s hard to predict when a kidney stone will develop, but some simple steps can help reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. “There are three easy first steps to take to help reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. If you drink plenty of water, watch your diet, and talk to your doctor about medications for preventing kidney stones you’ll have taken big steps to prevent kidney stones,” explained Dr. Ploch.

Kidney stones are formed when minerals and other substances accumulate in the kidneys. They become so concentrated that they crystallize into solid particles. Under normal circumstances, urine contains chemicals that keep this from happening. This action can fail under certain conditions. If the resulting crystallized particles remain small, they can pass through the urinary system without problems. Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the kidney or further down the urinary tract.

For some, the pain of a kidney stone is so intense they go to the emergency room. There, the patient undergoes a series of tests to determine the cause and location of the pain. Blood tests and imaging such as an x-ray are often conducted. When the diagnosis reveals a kidney stone the physician will determine if the stone is likely to pass on its own or if other options are necessary.

“For stones that are too large to pass we’ll often use the lithotripter,” said Dr. Ploch. “It’s a machine that uses Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL) to break up stones into smaller pieces to make it easier for them to pass. It’s an effective method for kidney stones that do not pass after a reasonable period of time and cause constant pain; are too large to pass on their own; cause ongoing urinary tract infection; or damages kidney tissue or causes constant bleeding.”

For patients who need quick access to a lithotripter Trident Medical Center’s Kidney Stone Clinic offers 24/7 scheduling. Callers will speak to a real person, not a recording or a call center located off the hospital’s campus.

The Trident Medical Center Kidney Stone Clinic phone number is (843) 847-4818. Read the article posted in the Goose Creek Gazette ».