A SOUTHAMPTON surgeon says hundreds of patients could be suffering unnecessarily from recurrent infections as a result of untreated kidney stones.

Bhaskar Somani, pictured inset, a consultant urological surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said the condition was a common “underlying but overlooked” cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

He said this resulted in a “vicious cycle” of exacerbating stone disease symptoms coupled with persistent UTIs – despite both problems being “resolved easily” through a simple procedure.

“UTIs are unpleasant, uncomfortable and greatly impact people’s lives – almost half of all women will experience a UTI in their lifetime,” explained Mr Somani, who is based at Southampton General Hospital.

“More often than not recurrent UTIs are linked with bacteria and bladder problems and, in men, are often related to enlarged prostate. If patients are suffering regularly despite medication, that could indicate kidney stone disease as, until they are removed completely, infections are likely to return.”

Mr Somani spoke out following his team’s study of 103 consecutive patients who underwent minimally invasive procedures to remove stones associated with UTIs over four years at Southampton General Hospital.

The results showed that after successful stone treatment, 88% were infection-free after three months and three-quarters of patients (71%) remained free of UTI for a year.

“The message to people who have recurrent UTIs is that they could be suffering unnecessarily due to underlying kidney stones,” said Mr Somani.