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The Doctor And The Kidney Stone

Wed, 01/05/2011 - 6:10am
by Barron H. Lerner, M.D.

Must doctors follow their own advice?

The issue often comes up when the obese doctor or the doctor who smokes advises a patient to lose weight or stop smoking. But I recently got to ponder the issue more personally when the severe pain of a kidney stone hit. Despite the extreme discomfort, I continued to work. But would I advise my patients to do the same?

The pain of kidney stones is distinctive because it is excruciating yet intermittent. A mixture of salts and minerals, stones form in the kidneys of susceptible individuals and often stay put, causing no symptoms. But they can cause severe pain — as severe as that associated with childbirth — when the body decides to send them out of the kidney and into the long, thin ureters that connect with the bladder.

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