To evaluate a patient who may have kidney stone symptoms your doctor may order imaging studies, such as and xray or ultrasound study to check the size and location of the stone.
Your doctor may order a urinalysis to check for blood in your urine and signs of infection such as bacteria or white blood cells. He may also order studies of your blood to check for abnormally high levels of substances that can cause kidney stones such as calcium or uric acid.
"a large stone is broken into smaller pieces"
After your doctor has evaluated you, you and he will have to decide what to do. If the stone is small, and your symptoms are not severe, he may give you pain medication and encourage you to drink fluids.
In some cases sound waves can be used to break up a large stone using a process called lithotripsy.
When a large stone is broken into smaller pieces you are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids and the smaller pieces are flushed from your system.
More severe cases may require surgery when lithotripsy is not feasible, or when the stones are too large, or too many.
"increase the amount of water or lower the mineral content"
The most important point to understand about your kidney stones is that they are caused by too little water relative to the minerals in your urine.
To avoid kidney stones you can either increase the amount of water or lower the mineral content of your urine.
Kidney Stone Fragments
Image thanks to rjhall via Wikimedia Commons
There are certain diseases and conditions that can cause your body to produce abnormally large amounts of certain minerals such as calcium or uric acid in your urine. Your doctor can order the appropriate tests to evaluate you for these. When necessary he can start you on treatments to limit the amount of these minerals in your urine.
"Drinking large amounts of water, juice, and other fluids..."
To increase the amount of water in your urine you can increase the amount of fluid in your diet. Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of fluid.
Drinking large amounts of water, juice, and other fluids will accomplish two things:
1) Dilute the mineral content of your urine making it more difficult for stones to precipitate
2) Create large amounts of urine to flush small stones before they cause problems
In many cases the pain of kidney stones can be avoided by drinking enough water.