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How Does Flomax Work for Kidney Stones?

By Paul Bright ; Updated July 27, 2017

Flomax

Flomax is the brand name for the drug tamsulosin. Tamsulosin is used to treat a non-cancerous prostate condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Flomax is an alpha blocker, which means it relaxes specific muscles and assists in increasing the blood flow in small blood vessels. In the case of Flomax, the target area is the smooth muscle in a channel that runs through the prostate gland, allowing for better urine flow.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are formations of crystals that have separated from the urine. The separation occurs within the urinary tract if the patient’s urine is lacking in the chemicals that normally prevent their formation. Most will pass through the tract without notice. Crystals that do not separate form into larger stones that may be difficult to pass.

Although doctors don’t confirm a singular cause for kidney stone formation, they may advise patients to avoid certain foods containing high levels of oxalates. Rhubarb, spinach and beets all contain oxalate.

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Flomax and Passing Stones

Passing kidney stones can often be very painful because the stones usually contain hard calcium deposits and can be larger than the width of the urinary tract itself. Kidney stones can also be irregularly shaped, also increasing the pain factor.

Kidney stones also restrict the flow of fluid in the urinary tract. However, taking Flomax can assist in passing stones because when it relaxes the smooth muscle, water can pass through more easily. This may reduce the pain of passing kidney stones and speed up their exit from the body.

You must have a prescription to take Flomax. Consult your health care provider.

Flomax Side Effects

There are certain side effects associated with Flomax. Because it is an alpha blocker that relaxes muscles, there is a risk of dizziness and fainting. Among the most common side effects are abnormal ejaculation and a runny nose. Rare side effects include sinus infections, vertigo and a decreased sex drive.

Other Kidney Stone Treatments

Other ways to treat kidney stones include increased fluid intake in order to keep urine clear and flowing. Pain medication is also recommended. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe a calcium blocker in order to reduce the size and formation of future stones. There are also surgical treatment methods that can be discussed with your health care provider.

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