Have you ever passed a kidney stone? Have you experienced the intense pain, the frequent need to go to the bathroom and maybe even vomiting? Have you also had the dreaded blood in the urine? Kidney stone symptoms are not pleasant. It’s said that once you pass one kidney stone your odds greatly increase that you will pass a second stone and maybe more.
A kidney stone is a common disorder of the urinary tract that affects 10% of the population at one point or another. A slightly smaller percentage of men than women are affected.
The pain can be quite severe, depending on the size of the stone and the number of stones that are involved. Many people discover that they have a kidney stone from blood in their urine.
Kidney stones is also clinically known as renal stone disease. There is a small genetic predisposition to developing this disease. It most often occurs in those who are middle aged, but it can occur at any time.
These are several reasons why Kidney Stones develop. Stones form because of a chemical imbalance in your kidney. This imbalance is caused by too few or too much of a certain mineral(s). This is why a balanced diet can help prevent future occurrences.
What causes Kidney Stones?
While there is a small genetic predisposition to suffering from this disease, the most important factors are diet and water intake. Kidney stones are often caused by too much or too little build up of a certain mineral. This is why a balanced diet is important. There’s struvite (or infection) stones which are bacterial urinary infections.
There’s uric acid stones which are caused when the body breaks down certain foods, especially meat (which is why a balanced diet with only a small portion consisting of meat is important) there’s cystine stones which is produced by the breakdown of protein. These are relatively rare.
If someone consistently consumes plenty of water, they are less likely to have a buildup of these minerals. Constant dehydration is the leading cause of this buildup. If you sweat a lot, work outdoors in the heat, or live in a generally warm climate, then you should consume more water as your body dehydrates faster.
The general rule is to consume plenty of water, especially if you are hot and sweating, and to attempt to eat a balanced diet.
If you have passed your kidney stone, and saved it, your Doctor will send the stone to the lab for kidney stone analysis. Once your Doctor has determined what the stone is made of he can provide the correct treatment. The lab results will also assist your Doctor in finding causes for kidney stones.
Treatment for kidney stones can include prescribed pain relievers for small stones that may cause only a little pain and discomfort. Drinking 2 to 3 quarts of water a day will also help small stones more easily pass through your system. For larger kidney stones more invasive treatment may be needed. Your Doctor may have to use laser treatment for kidney stones. Laser treatment uses focused laser energy to break larger stones into smaller pieces which are easier to pass.
Shock wave therapy, or kidney stone lithotripsy, is another treatment for kidney stones that basically pulverizes the stone and dissolves it away. If passing the kidney stone is not an option due to its size or its location, surgery may be required to remove the stone through an incision in your back. To prevent future stones your Doctor may prescribe medication and suggest lifestyle changes. A small price to pay for a lot less pain!