Your first diagnosis of kidney stones often occurs when you see your doctor or go to an emergency room because you are in great pain. Your doctor or an emergency medicine specialist will ask you questions and examine you. After you pass a stone, your doctor may give you another exam to find out whether you are likely to get kidney stones again.
Tests to diagnose kidney stones
Your doctor may do one or more of the following tests to help diagnose kidney stones, see where they are located, and find out if they are causing or may cause damage to the urinary tract .
- A noncontrast spiral computed tomography (CT) scan is a special type of CT scan that moves in a circle.
- An ultrasound exam (ultrasonogram) uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of your urinary tract.
- An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an X-ray test that shows pictures of the urinary tract , including any kidney stones.
- A retrograde pyelogram uses a dye to find out whether a kidney stone or something else is blocking your urinary tract.
- Urinalysis and urine cultures test your urine.
- An abdominal X-ray (KUB) gives a picture of the kidneys, the bladder, and the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder (ureters).
Tests to find out the type of stone
Finding out the type of your kidney stone will help with treatment decisions and measures to prevent stones from forming again. Tests you may have include:
- A medical history and physical exam.
- Stone analysis. Your doctor may ask you to collect stones by straining your urine through a fine-mesh strainer or fine gauze. He or she will then determine what type of stone it is.
- Blood chemistry screen, to measure kidney function, levels of calcium, uric acid, phosphorus, electrolytes, and other substances that may have caused the stone to form.
- Urine collection for 24 hours, to measure volume, pH, calcium, oxalate, uric acid, and other substances that may have caused the stone to form. This is a test you may do at home.