What are the most important discussion points to have with your doctor when you are newly diagnosed with a kidney stone? Let’s get right to it!
- Give your doctor a complete history of your kidney stone(s).
- Alert your doc if there is a family history of kidney stones or bone disease.
- If you have imaging from the ER, make sure your doctor pulls it up, or you bring a copy to share during your first appointment.
- Offer the doctor your medical, surgical, and medication history; this may help explain why you are forming stones.
- Inform your doctor if you take antacids or calcium supplements regularly.
- If you have your kidney stone(s), bring it to your appointment and ask for the doctor to send it off to be analyzed so you know what type you formed.
The most important question to ask your doctor.
During this first appointment, ask for a 24-hour urine collection. I cannot tell you how many patients come to me and have had stones for many years but have never been offered this test. The 24-hour urine collection should be done after the first stone incident. Why wait for a second occurrence to see WHY you are forming stones. If your doctor does not offer this test to you, please ask for it. Explain to your doctor that you’re determined to understand why you’re forming stones and that you will do everything in your power to make the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid new ones.
The urine collection results may also indicate a reason for more testing to rule out other medical conditions that could be causing your stones. The 24-hour urine collection is essential.
Once you complete the first test, go over the results with your doctor to start on a preventative treatment plan. This treatment plan should involve dietary changes, including more fluids. After you’ve been on that treatment plan for a couple of months, ask for a follow-up urine collection. Doctors don’t always order the follow-up test, so you must ask for it. How else are you going to know if your treatment plan is working?
The results from this second urine collection will tell the doctor if your treatment plan is lowering your stone risk. If your urine results are within range, excellent. If not, keep tweaking your lifestyle changes (or a med might be introduced at this time) and then do one more collection.
Make sure you also get an annual urine collection done to ensure your treatment plan is working year over year.
That’s it for now—the most important things to discuss during your first office visit after having a kidney stone. My job is to guide you to make sure it is your last!
If you’d like to understand your urine collection results better, schedule a call with me. Together we can go over your results so you can have more productive conversations with your doctor and develop the treatment plan that works specifically for you.