A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. “Nephrolithiasis” is the medical term for kidney stones. One in every 20 people develop kidney stones at some point in their life. With the right foods, plenty of water, and proper medication, you can lower your chances of kidney stones.
What causes them?
- Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine.
- Dehydration is a major risk factor for kidney stone formation.
Some major symptoms include:
- Pain in the back, belly or side which is extremely sever. Some people who’ve experienced kidney stones compare the pain to childbirth or getting stabbed with a knife.
- Symptoms of a kidney stone include flank pain (the pain can be quite severe) and blood in the urine.
- It’s common for people with a kidney stone to have nausea and vomiting.
- Pain or burning sensation during urination.
- Fever and chills are signs that you have an infection in your kidney or another part of your urinary tract.
Make these small diet changes, avoid kidney stones:
- Drinking enough liquid, mainly water, is the most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones.
- Keep your weight in control. Studies have shown that being overweight increases your risk of kidney stones.
- Limit your intake of sodium. It is a part of many canned, packaged, and fast foods.
- Stay away from Colas. These beverages are high in fructose and phosphates, which may lead to kidney stones.
- Limit your intake of oxalates, the organic compounds found in a number of foods, including spinach and sweet potatoes. As oxalates bind easily to certain minerals, including calcium, which then help form kidney stones.
- Eating animal protein may increase your chances of developing kidney stones.
- Get enough calcium from foods. The right amount of calcium can block other substances in the digestive tract that may cause stones. However too much of it may increase your chances of getting calcium oxalate stones.
Know the risk factors, avoid them:
- Genetic factor increases your risk of getting kidney stones, forty percent of the people who get kidney stones have relatives who have them, too.
- Excess amount of certain minerals in your system may increase your risk.
- When you’re overweight, you tend to get kidney stones more often. The same is true if you have diabetes.
- Gout, the painful condition when uric acid builds up in your blood increases your risk of kidney stones.
- If you’ve had certain types of gastric bypass surgery or other intestinal surgery, your risk may go up.
- Certain kidney diseases may make you more prone to getting kidney stones. One example is polycystic kidney disease, in which clusters of cysts grow in your kidneys. Another is medullary sponge kidney, a birth defect that causes cysts to form in the organ’s tubes.
How to deal with kidney stones:
- Take charge of your diet and take any medications as prescribed to you.
- Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated, especially when you exercise.
- Check food labels. Read the ingredients. Avoid or eat less of foods with high amounts of ingredients like sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sodium nitrate.
- Choose foods wisely. Usually it’s good to get more spinach and nuts in your diet. But if you have calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common type, your doctor may tell you to avoid limit foods high in oxalates.
- Avoid excess dairy foods and animal protein as they can up your chances of less common types of kidney stones.
- Eat citrus fruits like lemons and limes that are high in citrate, which helps prevent kidney stones.
- Diagnosis of kidney stones is best accomplished using an ultrasound, intravenous pyleography (IVP), or a CT scan. Most kidney stones will pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own with time.
- Treatment includes pain-control medications and, in some cases, medications to facilitate the passage of urine.
- If needed, lithotripsy or surgical techniques may be used for stones which do not pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own.
- Do follow the above tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid kidney stones. However if you are suffering from kidney stones do consult our Urology team for further guidance. Please find below link for further details: