17
April
2014

All about kidney stones

Kidney stones are a very common ailment.  They affect millions of people around the world. Do you know all you need to know about kidney stones to avoid them and cure them if you get them?  Read here to learn all the necessary and vital information about kidney stones.

Kidney stones are a very common ailment.  They affect millions of people around the world. Do you know all you need to know about kidney stones to avoid them and cure them if you get them?  Read here to learn all the necessary and vital information about kidney stones.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are small stones that form in the kidneys.  They are generally made of minerals and can end up affecting any part of your urinary tract.  They tend to form when urine gets too concentrated.  If you get a kidney stone, you will normally just have to pass it in your urine.  They can be quite painful, but usually don’t cause any damage to your urinary tract.  In more severe cases, surgery can be necessary.

Kidney stone symptoms

Some symptoms from kidney stones are

  • Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
  • Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin
  • Pain on urination
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Fever and chills

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs and symptoms that worry you. You’re more likely to get kidney stones if they run in your family, if you are an adult, if you are a man, if you don’t drink enough water, if you have too much sodium in your diet, or if you are overweight.

To relieve your symptoms, the following methods might help:

  • Drinking water. Drink as much as 3 quarts of water a day.  Your urine should be clear.
  • Pain relievers. To relieve mild pain, you could take over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium.
  • Medical therapy. Your doctor may give you an alpha blocker, which will relax your urinary muscles, helping you to pass the kidney stone with less pain.

Seeing a urologist

If you have a large kidney stone, your primary doctor will probably refer you to a urologist for further treatment and analysis.

Make sure to ask the urologist any questions you have about your condition and cover everything well, since the appointment may be short.  It can also be a good idea to take a family member or friend with you so that you have someone else to remember the questions you should ask.

If your doctor suspects you have a kidney stone, you may have diagnostic tests and procedures, such as blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests, or analysis of stones that you pass.

Prevention

The best way to prevent kidney stones is to make lifestyle changes.  The following lifestyle changes are the best ones you can make to reduce your chance of developing kidney stones:

  • Drink lots of water.  It’s a good idea to drink nearly 3 quarts of water a day.  Carrying a water bottle or cup around with you is a good way to remind yourself to drink more water.
  • Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate and soy products.  Also eat a diet low in salt and animal protein.
  • Stop taking calcium supplements and eat more calcium-rich foods.
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Categories: Health

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