Author Archives: Dr. Mike Nguyen

About Dr. Mike Nguyen

Mike M Nguyen, MD, MPH, is a urologist and an Associate Professor of Clinical Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, CA. He specializes in the treatment of kidney stones with both surgery and dietary prevention and the in the treatment of kidney and prostate cancer using the latest robotic surgical approaches. He sees patients at clinics located in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and La Canada, CA. He is the founder of the www.KidneyStoners.org website.

Everything you need to know as a new stone former in 8 minutes from Yahoo’s David Pogue

David Pogue's Kidney Stone Video

Being a new kidney stone former can be a frightening and confusing experience. Even if you manage to get medical care promptly, you may be left with a number of unanswered questions: What are your options for treatment? What should you expect during and … Continue reading

Posted in Information, Patient's perspective | 9 Comments

Need more advice on stone prevention? Visit this great site.

Kidney stone prevention website

We know that finding good advice on kidney stone prevention can be a challenge. Some information you’ll find on the internet is not based on good science and other information may be too hard to understand or apply in real … Continue reading

Posted in Prevention | 10 Comments

Medications to help pass kidney stones may not be effective

Kidney stones

If you’ve recently experienced a kidney stone episode, there is a good chance that a medication such as tamsulosin or nifedipine may have been prescribed to help you pass your stone. These medications, originally designed for other purposes including treating high … Continue reading

Posted in Treatment | 17 Comments

Seeking Patient Input for a European Association of Urology Stone Guideline

European Association of Urology Guidelines

Do you live in Europe and have kidney or ureteral stones? The European Association of Urology, the pre-eminent organization for the field of urology in Europe, is developing a new guideline for kidney and ureteral stones. In addition to a rigorous scientific … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A brief history of ureteral stents

looped stent closeup

For most patients who have ever experienced a ureteral stent, the faster the stent is removed and becomes a part of their past history, the better. A look at our ongoing stent (dis)comfort poll makes this clear. With a total … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 15 Comments

Do vegetarians get kidney stones?

broccoli

Earlier this year, a poll found that 7% of Americans identified themselves as vegetarians while an additional 6% were vegans.[1] Vegans, as you may know, in addition to not eating meat do not eat dairy products. Worldwide, the country with … Continue reading

Posted in Information, Prevention | 15 Comments

What have you tried for stone prevention? A KidneyStoners study.

question

One of the first questions that we often get asked by new kidney stoners is, “How can I prevent this from happening again?” If you saw a doctor for your stone, there are a number of options that he or … Continue reading

Posted in Polls and surveys, Prevention | 24 Comments

What should I expect when I have my stent removed? – Updated results from a KidneyStoners survey.

Ureteral stent

We know that the prospect of needing to have a stent removed is a big source of anxiety for patients. While almost everyone can’t wait to have his or her stent out, not knowing what to expect during the removal … Continue reading

Posted in Polls and surveys | 345 Comments

Survey Results: Were you happy with your stone treatment?

stone treatment satisfaction

In our most recent survey, we focused on the different options for treating a kidney stone. This includes both the non-surgical options (letting the stone pass on its own, taking a home remedy to pass/dissolve a stone, taking a medication from … Continue reading

Posted in Polls and surveys | 8 Comments

Introducing KidneyStoners.org polls and surveys

Image from Office.com

Today we are introducing a poll on stent pain and a survey on stent removal to the website. We hope that it will help our readers easily see what other “kidneystoners” are experiencing. Being able to share experiences with other … Continue reading

Posted in Polls and surveys | 5 Comments

Does drinking a lot of water help a stone pass faster?

(Image from Office.com)

If you’re in the unfortunate position of trying to pass a kidney stone, you’d probably want to speed up the process along as much as possible. One common strategy used by patients and occasionally suggested by physicians is to drink … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 16 Comments

Severe pain after stent removal: How often does it happen and can anything prevent it?

Image from Office.com

Many patients complain of some pain after having a ureteral stent is removed. This pain is usually mild and self-limited. However, the pain can sometimes be severe. Because patients may not have been warned about the possibility of significant pain … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 346 Comments

Did drinking iced tea really cause my kidney stones?

Iced tea in a mason jar

KidneyStoners.org Recently, you may have heard patients, newspapers, and websites all tell you, “Iced tea caused your kidney stones!” With so many sources telling you the same thing, it must be true, right? Wouldn’t it be great if iced tea were … Continue reading

Posted in Information, Prevention | 29 Comments

What are my chances of successfully passing my stone?- A KidneyStoners.org Infographic

Infographic of chances of passing a kidney stone

We frequently receive questions from patients trying to pass a stone who want to know whether they will be able to pass it successfully.  There are three main factors that your doctor uses to predict your chances of successful stone … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 84 Comments

Ask KidneyStoners.org: Does shockwave lithotripsy cause diabetes or hypertension?

ask

April 29, 2012 “I have a 5mm caclculi stone in my left kidney (non-obtrusive). Unfortunately, I have not been able to pass this naturally by drinking large amounts of water each day. I am considering having shockwave treatment for this … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 1 Comment

The Healthcare Costs of Kidney Stones

costs-of kidney stone disease

With the increased attention on the rapidly increasing cost of healthcare, we decided to take a closer look at how much kidney stone disease costs in the United States. United States healthcare expenditures for kidney stone disease for the year … Continue reading

Posted in Information, Trends | 1 Comment

Ask KidneyStoners.org: How do I prevent infection related kidney stones?

ask

March 27, 2012 “I’m a 50 year old woman who was just diagnosed with a 16mm stone in my left kidney.  Ten years ago I had 2 massive (one the size of a grapefruit and the other the size of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ask KidneyStoners.org: Do I really need that repeat x-ray?

ask

March 17, 2012 “In mid-November I began to have episodes of blood in my urine. I went to a urologist who did a CT (with and without contrast), a cystoscopy, and a urine cytology as well as cultures. All the … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 1 Comment

13 Famous Kidney Stoners

kidney-stone-star

It turns out that kidney stones do not discriminate. Famous historical figures, celebrities, and other notable persons have also suffered from stones. Here, in no particular order, is an unlucky list of 13 of your fellow “kidney stoners”.     … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 7 Comments

Ask KidneyStoners.org: Is it common to need a stent for a tight ureter?

ask

February 25, 2012 “I have had two ureteroscopies in the last 5 years. In 2008 the procedure was a piece of cake with a 6mm stone lodged in the upper portion of the left ureter. In 2011 I had an … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 2 Comments

Ask KidneyStoners.org: Do I have to have a stent?

Ask

February 25, 2012 “I have been diagnosed with an 8mm stone in my left kidney and told I would be going for lithotripsy to have is broken up and will need a stent inserted for about a month or so. … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 31 Comments

Kidney stones in children

Pediatric kidney

Studies have found that kidney stones are occurring more frequently  in children. Researchers looking at emergency room admissions in South Carolina found an increased occurrence of stones between 1996 and 2007 from 7.7 and 8.0 per 100,000 female and males … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 1 Comment

Ask KidneyStoners.org: Is instant tea as bad as real tea?

Ask KidneyStoners.org

February 22, 2012 “i was just in the hospital for the 2nd time with kidney stones. My question is, is instant tea as bad for you as real tea? Also what are some main foods and drinks i should avoid … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | Leave a comment

Can dogs and cats get kidney stones?

Kidney dog

It turns out that kidney stones don’t just afflict humans, they also occur in many animals, including your pet dog or cat. Between 0.2 to 3% of dogs and cats are believed to form stones and the number of pets … Continue reading

Posted in Information | Leave a comment

Ask Kidneystoners.org: Should I stop my calcium carbonate vitamin pills?

question mark

In our “Ask KidneyStoners.org” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. See previous questions and answers here.   February 4, 2012 Question about calcium supplements “i recently had another small stone that passed easily (thank you, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Can kidney stones cause kidney failure?

dead kidney cartoon

In addition to causing pain, can kidney stones actually cause permanent damage to your kidney? The unfortunate answer is yes, kidney stones in some cases can actually result in a “dead” kidney or kidney failure. The good news though is … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 171 Comments

How do I choose which surgery to have for my kidney stones?

shock-square

Understanding what is the best option for treating your kidney stone can be difficult. In our new chart, we summarize the benefits and drawbacks of each surgical option. While it still won’t make the decision for you, it can help … Continue reading

Posted in Information, Surgery | 69 Comments

Ask us: My boyfriend needs to have his stents removed in the operating room

Ask

In our “Ask a kidney stone doctor” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. See other questions and answers or ask your own question here.   December 16, 2011 Question about removal ureteral stents: “(M)y boyfriend … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 1 Comment

Does soda drinking cause kidney stones?

Cola

Kidney stone formers often ask us whether their soda drinking caused their kidney stones. Many have already taken the initiative to cut out all their soda, thinking it will help prevent future stones. So, what’s the real deal with soda … Continue reading

Posted in Information | 28 Comments

Kidney Stones During Pregnancy

Prenatal-ultrasound

Along with the other challenges faced by women while they are pregnant, you can add the risk of developing a kidney stone. The risk of stone formation during pregnancy. A woman’s physiology changes dramatically during pregnancy, which can influence her … Continue reading

Posted in evaluation, Information, Surgery | 77 Comments

Ask us: Suffering from stones in Ontario, Canada

Ask

In our “Ask a kidney stone doctor” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. Today’s post is from a recurrent stone patient in Ontario, Canada who is sharing his story. See other questions and answers or … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | Leave a comment

Ask us: Does chronic use of potassium citrate have any long-term drawbacks?

Ask logo

In our “Ask a kidney stone doctor” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. Today’s question is about long-term use of potassium citrate. See other questions and answers or ask your own question here.   October … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | Leave a comment

Ask us: How common is it for homozygous cystinurics to not form a stone?

ask square

In our “Ask a kidney stone doctor” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. Today’s question is about cystinuria. See other questions and answers or ask your own question here.   October 11, 2011 Question from … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 4 Comments

Salt Intake and Kidney Stones

Less salt icon

Most individuals think that their calcium and oxalate intake are the main culprits to the formation of their kidney stones.  Because the most common kidney stone type is composed of calcium oxalate, this would seem to suggest that restricting calcium … Continue reading

Posted in Information, Prevention | 7 Comments

Ask us: How will I know when a stone has dropped into the bladder?

ask square

In our “Ask a kidney stone doctor” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. Today’s question is about knowing when a stone has passed successfully. See other questions and answers or ask your own question here. … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 151 Comments

Ask us: Do I need to treat my 3mm stone?

ask square

In our “Ask a kidney stone doctor” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. Today’s question is about small non-symptomatic kidney stones. See other questions and answers or ask your own question here.   July 22, … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | 87 Comments

Ask us: How to treat cystine kidney stones in a five year old boy.

Ask a kidney stone doctor a question

In our “Ask a kidney stone doctor” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. Today’s question is about cystine stones in a 5 year old boy. See other questions and answers or ask your own question … Continue reading

Posted in Ask | Tagged | Leave a comment

How is a ureteral stent removed?

Diagram of stent with string attached

We previously went over how to place a ureteral stent. In today’s post, we go over the steps of removing a stent. Ureteral stents are removed using two basic methods: 1) By pulling on a stent string, if the string … Continue reading

Posted in Information | Tagged , | 613 Comments

Can bacteria be causing my kidney stones?

bacteria

You may already be aware that some kidney stones can result from urinary tract infections. These are the so-called “struvite” stones, which can form large staghorn type stones. What you may not know is that researchers have suggested that bacteria … Continue reading

Posted in Kidney stone causes | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

How do I know if I am drinking enough?

Urine volume and hydration curve

Graph showing urine output volume by hydration level. At 100% hydration, average urine output is 50 cc/hr or 1200 cc/day. Kidney stone patients should aim for 100 cc/hr or 2400 cc/day. Most kidney stone patients are used to being told … Continue reading

Posted in Prevention | Tagged , | 3 Comments

How much radiation am I getting from x-rays for my stones?

Radiation exposure from medical imaging

Computerized tomography scanning (CT scans or “cat scans”) have revolutionized the ability of physicians to diagnose kidney stones and has resulted in the vast majority of kidney stones nowadays being correctly diagnosed-the important first step in planning the best treatment … Continue reading

Posted in evaluation | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Can you use Google to track kidney stones?

Google searches for "kidney stones" and monthly temperature

Internet search data can now reveal where and when kidney stones are presenting in almost real time. In the past, gathering information on how often medical conditions (like kidney stones) occur required the meticulous gathering of information from medical records, … Continue reading

Posted in Trends | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Kidney stones and urinary infections

urease bacteria

Urinary infections and kidney stones can be related in two important ways. Infections can be the direct cause of stones or can develop in a patient with a non-infection related kidney stone. Infections cause kidney stones in about 15% of … Continue reading

Posted in Kidney stone causes | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

How is a ureteral stent placed?

Diagram of a ureteral stent in position.

If you ever wondered how ureteral stents are placed, we’ll explain the process to you here step by step. Ureteral stents are typically used in two situations: 1) When a stone is causing blockage of the ureter and drainage needs … Continue reading

Posted in Surgery | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

Kidney stones becoming more common worldwide

how-common-are-kidney-stones-thumbnail

The bad news: Kidney stone disease appears to be increasing worldwide. In 2008, 1 out of every 11 Americans will experience a kidney stone at some point in their lives. This is up from 1 out of every 20 Americans … Continue reading

Posted in Trends | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kidney stones in women

kidney-stones-by-gender

Women appear to be at greater risk of forming kidney stones nowadays than ever before in the past. Previously, doctors observed that stones were 3 times more common in men than women (75% versus 25% of stone formers being men … Continue reading

Posted in Trends | Tagged , | 1 Comment